Half term already, can you believe it?!?! But that means one thing, small people wanting constant entertainment for a whole week! Fear not, we have a few ideas for you to help keep your little ones busy.
RHS WISLEY GARDENS
For a nice little day trip out of nappy valley, why not head down to beautiful RHS Wisley gardens where you can take part in their brilliant half term programme of activities including craft workshops, storytelling and planting workshops! Don’t forget they also have their ‘Back to Nature Garden’, which was inspired by the Chelsea Flower Show Garden co-designed by The Duchess of Cambridge in last year. This is an amazing area for little one to explore and burn off some energy. If it’s too wet (or windy) to be outdoors the Glasshouse is another great area to explore.
All activities are included in a normal Wisley admission fee but some activities will need be booked in advance.
WWT LONDON WETLAND CENTRE
Alternatively, why not unleash your inner Peppa Pig & head to London Wetlands annual Puddle Jumping Championships, which runs daily from Saturday 15th - Sunday 23rd February.
Come rain or shine, get your Wellies on & get out into nature. If you don’t fancy the puddle jumping, there are plenty of other ways to keep the family entertained, why not try out the mud kitchens or explore the wild walk?
BATTERSEA POWER STATION
A bit closer to home, Battersea power station also has some wonderful and exciting things on for the whole family - the best bit is it's all free!
Design Your Own Kaleidoscope
15th - 16th February, 11am - 4pm
Bug mask colouring
20th - 23rd February, 11am - 4pm
Soft play and giant games
15th, 16th, 20th - 23rd February, 11am - 4pm
Be sure to check it out
But if all that just sounds too exhausting and you need a day, or an afternoon, indoors check out these simple but great activities to do with the little ones...brilliant for building concentration, encouraging language development and imagination...
LARGE BOX ACTIVITY
Save those delivery boxes, whatever the size. Grab some felt tips (or paints & scissors if you're feeling adventurous) and let the kids get creative.... it's a great activity for a rainy day and something that can be played with over and over again.... simple but so much fun!
LOO ROLL CREATURES
All you need is some loo or kitchen towel rolls and a few craft supplies – like coloured card, googly eyes, pom poms, coloured pens & glue. Then let their imaginations go wild. This is a great activity to encourage colour recognition, fine motor skills & even scissor skills when supervised. This will keep them busy & they can create a game with their creatures when they’re finished.
PRACTICAL LIFE ACTIVITIES
Montessori educates children to develop using practical life activities rather than formal teaching. Here, we develop motor control and coordination, as well as independence, concentration, and a sense of responsibility using every day objects found in the home. From threading pasta tubes to transferring from one bowl to another using a spoon or child friendly tweezers. These are activities that will keep children busy whilst encouraging patience, concentration and hone their fine motor skills.
Happy contented children mean a happy mummy & a few minutes of peace!
Enjoy the holidays and see you in a week.
So often I hear parents saying “I’d love to do more painting & messy play at home, but I just don’t want the mess” This is part of the magic of Little Starlings, you can leave the mess with us! But it doesn’t mean that you can’t create fun activities to support your children’s on going development & skill consolidation at home – MESS FREE!
Here are our top 5 mess-free activities to do at home that carry on our theme this term of colour & shape recognition…
1. Pom Pom Sorting
This can be as quick & simple to setup, as you like. One of our favourites ways to play this game, is to cut circles of coloured card, place them in a muffin tray. Then set up a bowl of mixed pom poms & some easy grip tweezers (which are also great for improving hand strength ready for learning to write, as well as honing fine motor skills) and off they go!
This can be a great self directed activity, which can help children build their independence & confidence in their own problem solving skills.
If you wanted to take this activity to the next level, paint some old cardboard tubes in your chosen colours. Once dry, tape the tubes to a wall or side of a box. Then give your child a bowl of mixed pom poms & some easy grip tweezers. All they need to do is post the Pom Poms down the correct coloured tube into a tray or bowl below.
(Image credit: www.learning4kids.net)
Easy grip tweezers: https://amzn.to/2UvweY0
Mixed Pompoms: https://amzn.to/375zT10
Eco Pompoms: https://amzn.to/36WEPW8
2. Coloured Beans
(Image credit: www.theimaginationtree.com)
Admittedly creating your coloured beans does take a while initially but once they are done they last for several months (usually about 3mths) if stored in an airtight container & out of direct sunlight.
To make your beans, add one cup of dry, light coloured beans to a zip lock plastic bag with 15 drops of food colouring. Seal the bag and shake them like crazy for about 10-20 seconds - until you see that they are completely coated.
Empty them out onto a tray lined with paper towels and spread them out evenly so they don’t stick together. Allow a few hours for them to air dry.
Once your beans are ready, the options are endless. We like to sort beans into matching coloured pots (Ikea mugs are great for this!) or count them out onto matching colour circles of card.
3. Painting in a bag.
We had great fun doing this at Little Starlings this week but you can take it to the next level at home.
Cut a piece of card to fit your bag. Load the card up with blobs of paint, perhaps add a sprinkle of glitter (here’s a link for some biodegradable glitter: https://amzn.to/2S1lrTI). Seal the bag & tape it down to a flat surface and let them go wild! When they are done you’ll have a lovely original master piece to pop on the fridge or in a frame. Children really love to see their work on display!
4. Water mats
These mats are brilliant & VERY portable! You can either draw alongside your child – modelling good pen grip techniques for your child to copy – or let them work self directed, letting their imagination run wild & exploring different ways to reveal the hidden colour.
(Our mat is from Tomy https://amzn.to/2UAfb6W but you can get cheaper ones)
5. Colour & shape matching with Duplo
Gather up some plain Duplo blocks. Arrange them into some basic shapes made up of the same colour blocks. Then trace around the shape. Do this with several shapes so you have at least once shape per colour.
Put all of the blocks in a basket alongside a stack of the shape cards you’ve created. Ask your child to turn over a shape card & find the matching colour pieces to build the shape.
To expand on this game you can create more complicated shapes (duck, flowers, ice lolly, etc) made up of difference coloured blocks, Photograph & print out your new complex shape cards.
To play your child then needs to select a card, then match the individual colours and shapes in the picture to create the shape shown on the picture card.
These are just a few of our favourite mess free colour games, but a bucket full of different coloured toys or household objects will do the job just as well.
We hope you enjoy your colour fun at home!