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Creative Play in General

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    26 Reviews
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      07.07.2009 23:29
      Very helpful



      let the kids be kids,make a mess have some fun and learn at the same time.

      When money is tight you have to make the most of what you have and this is where creative play really comes into its own.
      In the last few weeks me and my little girl have had some great fun making and doing things that if we had a bit of extra cash we wouldnt really have been doing as we would have been out.

      making bread- stick all your dry ingrediants on a bowl give your little one the cup of water and let her get on with it. i mean how much damage can a child really do with flour and water anyway.they learn textures of the flour and water in different cirumstances to the normal playing in water in the bath or pool.
      The sticky and dryness of the mixture at different stages, how come the dough is warm ? why do you leave it prove? so much to learn from something so simple.
      plus when its ready they can make any shapes and sizes they want and when cooked enjoy eating it for lunch too which is always an added bonus and adds so much fun.

      sand/water table- we went to a friends daughter party at the weekend and this was the first thing my daughter went for as we dont have one at home.
      as soon as she saw the sand one side and the water the other side yo could see what was coming. yep the sand was instantly put into the water to see what it felt like, the face my little one pulled didnt look impressed to start with i must say but she soon got use to it and loved it. her and her little friend were soon playing icecream shops.scooping up the sand and putting it into bowls and giving it to the mummys and daddys for the snack time.

      mega blocks- all diffent colors and sizes.perfect for making a bed for dolly, a shed forthe toy cows or a chair for my daughter to park her bum on for 5 minuets before the whole thing falls apart.

      tin foil/cereal boxes and yoghurt pots and some celotape(blue peter style fun)-
      build a house for mummy, a car for daddy, a little person for granny and granddad.A child with some junk is amazing to watch as there little minds tick away with which bit shall i stick where and do i color that in/paint it or stick this paper on there instead ??

      look in the cupboards, the cupboard under the stairs, the bottom of the wardrobe for that old top you were going to throw in the bin and give it to the kids with some felt tips and let them make you someting nice and something to treasure.


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        10.04.2009 21:44
        Very helpful




        There really is so much you can do with your child without needing to spend loads of money on toys and games, the simplest of things can bring out so much fun and imagination.

        These are just some of the things I like to do with my 16month old twin boys and what I can do with them as they grow older. The following ideas are things you can do and use from when your little ones are babies and as they grow.

        Stacking Cups - Now you don't even need 'proper' stacking cups you can just buy plastic cups if you like, which are safe for your little one to play with. There is so much my boys Cordell and Jayden love to do with these, they use them in the bath and pour water out of them, sometimes I use them to wash their hair as they are comfortable around the cups and not so comfortable around a jug of water. I don't want them to be scared of having their hair washed and the cups work brilliantly as they actually laugh and think it's part of a game we are playing. They both like to bang them together, and fill them all with smaller toys and small balls. In the summer I'm going to show them how to play with them in sand and how to pour sand and make 'cup' castles, and of course they just love to stack the cups and pull them back apart again.

        Paints! Finger paints, and plenty of newspaper, any newspapers my neighbours and family buy I ask them to keep if they have no use for them and give them to me. Then when the boys are becoming a little bored I lay the newspaper out, put a few sheets of plain paper on top, I leave them in an old vest and let them explore the paints. I ask them to paint or drawer animals (as I have got them giant crayons to draw with) and I will draw them too and whilst drawing them I say the sound that they make. I find this brilliant and they do actually take notice and now after a few weeks they actually know the sound a cow makes (lol) it does come out more Doo than Moo though and they recognise what a dog is too.

        Blocks! I have so many blocks for the boys I don't think they know where to start half the time but they really do love them. They stack them, bang them, lay them down in lines or some sort of track, build them. You can buy mega bloks which come in all different colours - this can also be a fun way of introducing colours to your children.

        Making Cakes, I usually buy a box of ready made cake mix and I let the boys join in with me. I take photos of them helping me, or shall I say making the kitchen a right mess and I then take photos of their final cakes when they are cooked just for me to put in their keepsake boxes. They are slowly mastering the stir movement but they are not grasping that it has to stay in the bowl - but then I'm 22 and still havn't grasped this lol!

        Swimming - for all babies, toddlers young children .. it's a good way to get them out, keep them entertained, introduce them to something new. Although if you are going on your own you can't usually swim with 2 children under the age of 5 I think, for obvious reasons really in case any accidents may happen. It can help children gain confidence in different surroundings too.

        Balls - whether they be bigger plastic balls for toddlers to kick about and learn to throw, hold and bounce or the small colourful plastic balls which you can put into a ball pit or swimming pool. During the summer months you can usually purchase a small paddling pool in poundland for of course just £1 .. babies and children seem to be fascinated by the array of colours in a ball pit I find at soft play centres so bring one to your own home for about £5 at the most including a bag of balls which you can buy in places such as ELC or sometimes Mothercare.

        Crayons - A brilliant way to encourage your toddlers and children to draw - on paper of course otherwise things will get messy lol. Even though a simple task it can aid with hand eye skills.

        Memory Cards - or even draw your own if you are any good at drawing things, it's a clever way of having fun, playing and bonding with your child and getting their brains working at the same time.

        Playdough - but just make sure you are keeping your eye on them naughty toddlers who seem to think everything you place in front of them belongs in their mouths.

        Hide and Seek - As children get older they like to be challenged, they enjoy a bit of work so long as it seems fun. Either you play hide and seek with them or hide something they may want such as toys, or fruit snacks and whatever they find they can have a treat such as a star on a chart so not only are they having fun and enjoying themselves they are being resulted for doing so well.

        Sing Songs and Do the actions - Such as row your boat and humpty dumpty - you get the drift don't you. Interaction with your children can work magic and help little ones understand words a bit more with actions.

        Cleaning Up - All of us as parents love to clean up but it's hard when your children are constantly making a mess, encourage them to clean up with you. Hoover up with them, put things away in boxes, show them how to wash dishes - even if they have their own bowl of water out the garden with a few plastic bowls and cups. By doing this they will think they are helping out, you can again reward them with stickers, cwtches, kisses whatever you feel they may appreciate more.

        Role Play - Pretending you are doctors, policemen, firemen, are you working in a shop, a post office. Allow them to conduct the story, really let their imaginations run wild.

        Dressing Up - For when your children get older, keep old shoes, hats etc these can go along way with role playing activities too - I used to love it I'd stick a hat on and an old waistcoat of my Grandpas and I'd be the post office boss. My favourite game with my Nan when I was younger! Don't laugh! I even had my own till!

        Gluing and sticking - Even just a prit stick and a few shreds of paper, bit of glitter maybe. Pound shops usually sell art and craft things these days. Do collages with your older children.

        Reading - Allow your children to get involved with the book. Even though my boys don't understand what I'm saying properly they relax whilst I'm reading a book to them and you can see they want to know what I'm saying. They point too pictures and "Oooh" and "Aaah" in amazement at the pictures.

        Jigsaw Puzzles - Allows a child to concentrate and strengthens their hand eye coordination. I usually buy loads of these in charity shops in pretty good condition.

        Eye Spy - To help them learn colours, numbers and shapes. Maybe ask them to look for something Red - or something in a triangle shape.

        Childrens mind's and imaginations overflow with ideas and games which they can't always get across without becoming frustrated. Simple things like I've just listed can help them ideas burst into real life and exercise their brains and imaginations .. ready for the next burst. It can sometimes relieve a bit of stress for a parent to, it can be just as fun and enjoyable for us as parents to really bond, play and have some genuine childish fun. All of this results in happy parents and happy parents results in happy children.

        I hope some of my ideas really help you out! x


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        • More +
          05.04.2009 00:08
          Very helpful
          1 Comment



          Enjoy your child's creativity!

          Creative play is highly beneficial to young children. Not only does it encourage imagination but it is also offers a great opportunity for one to one interaction between parent and child.

          Before my son arrived I often daydreamed of his first picture taking pride of place on the notice board. I would watch arts and crafts television programmes and make a mental note of the ideas given, longing for the day when I could partake in such activities with my own child.

          As a child myself I was very creative. I loved to draw and paint, I would create cards with pop up characters inside, robots from random household objects and many other wonderful inventions. I learned how to make pom-pom's, how to stitch and to sew and would create my own soft toys. I even made items to sell at school to in order to raise money for charity.

          Creativity has therefore always been important to me in the role of parenting. Though my son is just 16 months old, he is already quite creative and this is due to him being introduced to a number of things from a relatively early stage.

          A little before his first birthday I bought him his first set of pencil crayons. Initially he was understandably confused and would find many other imaginative uses for them. However by around 13 months he had discovered the wonders of doodling! He soon realised that these crayons made colourful patterns on the paper and would shriek with excitement upon glance of his art work. He would change pencils after each scribble and enjoy the wonderful colours on the page before him.

          It is therefore possible to encourage and partake in creative activities from around 12 months of age and I will give some ideas for a little inspiration.

          As aforementioned drawing was the starting block with my son. Many pencils and crayons are suitable from 12 months upwards. I purchased Crayola Beginnings Jumbo Decorated Pencils as my son's first set. To begin with I would hold the pad of paper in the general direction of where he was waving the pencils around. Some of the pencils soon made their way to the page and he quickly spotted the results. I would also often take a pencil myself and pretend to swipe it across the page. My son loves to copy and began imitating me and making patterns on the page.

          If you find that your child is holding the pencil upside down, consider sharpening both ends or switching to wax crayons.

          Hand and foot painting are excellent ideas for creating cards for special occasions. Just before Mother's Day the playgroup which my son attends held a hand painting session in order to create Mother's Day cards. They applied washable paint to my little boy's hands using a sponge and then quickly stuck them down on a pre-made card. Other details were added afterwards and the end result was a very personal card which was also a fantastic keepsake to look back upon in years to come.

          We have since painted at home and created more cards and plenty of pictures. I prepared the room by laying down a large plastic dust sheet and had plenty of baby wipes within easy reach. Again I used sponges to apply the paint and I painted his hands and his feet. He rather enjoyed the foot painting as it tickled as I applied it!

          We have also experimented with dinosaur shaped sponges, though not much made its way to the page without guidance.

          Gluing and sticking are also a great way to experiment. All of those textures and materials will encourage sensory awareness. However do be very cautious with any small pieces that they may put in their mouths.

          Just before Valentine's Day my son's playgroup came up with a rather basic idea. They presented each child with a simple piece of paper with a heart drawn on it. They were then given a pot with PVA glue, some glitter and pink and red sweet wrappers. As my son was relatively young I applied the glue for him and then guided his hand as he picked up the first sweet wrapper. He soon discovered that they stuck and added more wrappers. Finally we sprinkled on the glitter and the result was a lovely Valentine's picture.

          Another seasonal idea were our Easter chicks. I cut out two basic chick shapes from thin yellow card. To give an idea they were rather like snowman shapes, only yellow of course. I then filled a number of bowls (I recommend plastic bowls for safety) with sequins and cut up pieces of yellow and orange paper. I placed out a number of glitter shakers which are just like salt and pepper pots only filled with glitter.

          I presented all of the materials to my son and coated the chick shapes with a light coating of glue. He picked up the sequins and paper pieces and stuck them down onto the chicks. He tipped out some of the contents of the bowls and had a great time making a mess at the same time but it was all very enjoyable. He then shook the glitter over the chicks and indeed over himself and most of the living room. The end results were two chicks covered in various materials and looking great.

          I then took the chick shapes off to dry and later added a beak and two eyes. What made this such a wonderful idea was that apart from the eyes and beak, everything on the chick had been added by my son, making them very personal indeed. Then came the moment of truth, I presented the completed chicks to my son. His response was "quack quack!" What a fantastic result!

          We currently have a craft box at home which we are gradually filling up with various arts materials. In it are paints, glue, sequins, pipe cleaners, modelling clay and various other materials as well as plenty of household objects such as egg boxes, juice cartons, kitchen foil roll etc. We hope to have a large collection built up by the time he is old enough to make things under his own esteem and we will encourage him, and even join in with him, every step of the way.


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          • More +
            25.01.2009 14:05



            my views on creative play for children

            I think that creative play for children is so vitally important. It helps to develop a childs skills in lots of ways. I have two step children aged 9 and 12 and I have always encouraged them to be creative in their play over the years. I always keep the craft equipment stocked up, and they love making things from old cardboard boxes and kitchen towel rolls. They make all their own christmas cards , and birthday cards and they feel that they get alot of pleasure out of doing it. I have a 14 month old son who loves to get involved in craft activities at his local nursery. Quite often he brings home paintings and glueing that he has done - how cute !! But also great for developing creativeness. Other forms of creative play in this household consist of playing with Lego, and toy cars, and wendy house play. Playdo is also a favorite. Creative play should be encouraged at all times.


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            11.11.2008 20:38
            Very helpful



            This will help your children gain interests and hobbies and gives them an outlet in which to express

            There are so many things parents and children can gain from creative play, now do not get me wrong you have to plan these things and it does cause some mess dependant on the activity you have chosen, but if you are anything like me...at the weekend, I just wait till they go to bed to clean up, it's the easiest way!!!

            I try and do lots of activities, one because I want my children to have some great memories of their childhood and plus my husband thinks I was a blue peter presenter in a former life!!!!

            Here are some of the things we have done recently, we try and do some things with my Daughter and Son separately and then together dependant on what we are doing at the weekend as a family, for e.g., if my little lad goes to footie with his dad then ill try and make the activity a bit more girly and vice versa if daddy is having some daddies girl time!!! She has him wrapped round her little finger!!! Then ill try and do some boys type activities, and it's the same with my husband, he always tries to do some girly things as well, as he tends to do many things with our little boy as they have many common interests mainly Football!!!! But he always said he wanted to have a close bond with our daughter like he has with our son, so it's quite funny watching him having dolly's tea parties, and a few weeks ago he actually let her paint his nails!!! Was hilarious!!!

            Anyway here are some of the things we have done recently

            Girly activities

            ***Catwalk madness ***

            You get loads of old clothes, hats, belts, shoes, beads etc and dress each other up, do each others hair and make up and then put the music on and do little catwalk shows...... sounds silly I know, but we loved it.
            My little girl had my hat from a wedding I attended on..... My pink body top with a diamante belt wrapped round her so looked like a dress...my high heels..... Loads of necklaces etc.... it was just one of those classic picture opportunities!!! We put the music on virgin on demand, and played all the high school musical tracks that she loved....so imagine this walking up and down our living room singing "fabulous" at the top of her voice!!! I could not stop laughing!!!
            When it come to my turn....well lets just say I looked more like a drag queen than a catwalk queen.... She put pegs in my hair!!! I had green eye shadow on, and the lipstick was smudged all over my face.....and I was wearing wellies with a dressing gown!!!! Attractive hey!!!!

            *** Jewellery Boxes and jewellery***

            We decorated a shoe box, with paint and glitter and stickers etc and made all different kinds of jewellery out of pasta, and we made friendship type bracelets out of wool, we made some brooches out of pipe cleaners and I had a few birthday badges that had been left from her cards so we just recycled the backs of them to make the brooches.
            Again was really good fun and she loved showing the boys when they got back from the footie.

            Boy's activities

            ***Spy stuff***

            My son has just got into spy related things, so my husband had taken our little girl to his mums for the afternoon and I had some quality time with my son.
            We did some secret messages to each other; one way was to use a candle and then paint over what the other had wrote, and another was a cryptic code...when a 1 stands for a and 2 stands for b and 3 stand for c and so on and on.... Was good fun.
            We made spy equipment from cardboard boxes and old tubes etc we had, so we made some spy goggles, and secret id cards, and maps and secret documents etc etc....was brilliant fun and my son loved it.

            And that night we watched spy kids, and had pizza and popcorn was really good day.

            ***Treasure boxes***

            This activity is the same as the jewellery box one really but we made the shoe box into a treasure box and we put in chocolate coins and he put in some of his footie cards etc, he then hid the box and made me a treasure map and then myself, my husband and daughter went to find it according to the map!!! It did not quite work the way I wanted, as he had cheated slightly, but was still really good fun x

            Things we all love to get involved in

            Xfactor - we all sing and dance and dress up !!!! It's so much fun ...although my hubby always tends to volunteer to be Simon Cowell so he does not have to perform...!!! It's great laugh, and my children love to sing and dance.

            Cooking - We all love to cook in our family, so we often will make cakes and biscuits etc, and the kids like helping with Sunday dinner as well

            Cleaning up!!! - I know this sounds silly...who likes cleaning up!!! Well my two kids love doing cleaning, my son loves to help hoover his room and my daughter well, she is a domestic goddess, she will help with anything, she especially likes to put the shopping away when it gets delivered, or cleaning the bath!!! I'm defiantly just enjoying this while I can because I'm almost certain that this will change!!!!!

            Drawing ...... we recently had some rolls of lining paper we had not used, so we used it one Sunday afternoon and drew round each others body and made life size pictures of all of us, was a laugh and made use of something that would of either been thrown away or put in garage for forever and a day.

            Creative play is a brilliant way to get your children involved and interested, I think that although I feel academically I want my children to do well, I also want them to be able to have different activities that have helped then express themselves and also find hobbies and passions in life through this kind of play.


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              10.11.2008 10:58
              Very helpful



              all you need is a little imagination

              It's amazing what you can achieve with a little bit of imagination and creativity, when trying to entertain children. I suspect many parents have brought their children the latest toy on the market to find that they'd rather play with the box it came in. Or at least play with it for a couple of hours and decide it's not there thing and it gets discarded to the bottom of the toy box never to see light for months.

              Children need entertaining all the time, as their minds can get bored very easily, and there are various ways of occupying them and not just by buying them expensive toy's. I have to admit 90% of the toys my two daughters own where brought by family and friends, because sounding the cruel mother i am i do not believe in shelling out on lots of toy's just to keep their minds active.

              This year as a country have had more than our fair share of bad weather, so my mind has been working overtime to make sure each day my children are learning something new in the way of creativity, lying dormant around our houses are hundreds of idea's in which to teach our children the meaning of 'creative play', and here are some of the things we've tried and tested.

              Children of all ages love cooking, as it encourages role play, I'm not talking about cooking three course meals, but simple fun things that your child can get involved in, making things like rice krispe cakes is always a big hit, and there cheap and easy to do, my daughters love adding the chocolate to the krispies and having the big job of mixing them together, to save on arguments i normally divide the mixture into two smaller bowls which makes it easier for them to stir, and give them each 6 cake cases and help them add the mixture, their favourite task after is adding the little smarties on top.
              We also make biscuits as well, again they are simple to do, normally i make the mixture beforehand, and we roll it out and use cutters to shape them together. We then wait for the 'magic cooker 'to bake them, during this time we all help to tidy up and put things away. When there cooked and cooled we ice them together and make faces, and of course sample our delights.

              Child learn so much through music, different rhythms, tempo's, pitch's, of course they won't be able understand fully what they mean, but it certainly gives them a head start in the future, my kids love to make sounds with different musical instruments, and all of them we have made from bits around the house.

              *Cardboard box guitar* Find a old box, a shoe box would be ideal take one side out leaving the rest, find four different sized rubber bands and attach over the box, thinner and tighter bands make a higher pitch sound and thicker more loser bands make a lower pitch sound, your child can then decorate his/her box, by painting, colouring, or sticking ribbons on to them.

              *Shakers* These are so simple to make, take a old plastic bottle and make sure it is thoroughly dry before use, add a couple of handfuls of rice, places the top on and seal with tape, This make a quicker and simple toy, which believe it or not can keep children occupied for hours, they love to sake it up and down, or you could use it as a rain maker and watch the rice tip from one end to the other.

              *Bottled music* I bet most of us, in our life's have blown across the lip of a half-empty pop bottle and marvelled at the richness of the tone, children will love doing this, grab around 5 glass bottles if you can and fill them with different amounts of water, your child will love blowing each bottle and making tunes- though i would recommend this for slightly older children.
              * Singing songs* We all know how much children love to express themselves through singing, sitting with them and singing simple nursery rhymes can be so much fun, especially if mum or dad do impressions of the different animals you sing about, also take a little time after each rhyme to talk about the different things you sang about.

              ~Outdoor play~
              All children need fresh air in their lungs once in a while, and even if it's a cold autumn day, there are so many things you can do that doesn't involve sticking them in a paddling pool whilst you catch up on some sunbathing, me and the girls love wrapping up warm in our hats, coats and gloves, and going to explore the wonders of outside, normally it's in our garden, we do things like nature trails finding different coloured leaves, stones, and wild flowers, we wander around the garden and i encourage the children to tell me what they see and we talk about it.
              We have a bird table in the garden and they love to put little bits of bread and seed out for the birds, we then go inside and watch out the window at the different species that land and happily eat the food.

              We go for walks to the park, it doesn't cost anything and they love running around, getting exercise, and being pushed on the swings, splashing in puddles is another big hit, put on there wellies and old trousers and see how many puddles you can find between your house and the park??

              Trips to local petting farms are also a big hit, children love interacting with animals, and finding about different kinds, they don't have to be tigers or elephants, as sometimes it's best to start with the basics with younger children, most farms will let children feed and stroke them, and seeing the smiles on their faces is priceless, they will feel so proud knowing they've got up and close with horses or pig's and it helps them to become more confident to. Most farms also don't charge the world, under two's are normally free and children over that age is only a couple of pounds, so take a picnic and make a day of it, don't forget your camera to capture them special moments.

              ~Role play~
              Children love role play as it helps there learning abilities for later in life, and there are lots of ways to encourage this, which includes

              *Dressing up* girls love to be princess's/queens and angels, and boy's love to be kings, policemen, and action hero's, route through your wardrobe, airing cupboard, and charity shops, and make your own props, a piece of wire wrapped in silver foil can make a excellent wand, try also making their hats together, with card- measure the diameter of their head, cut out a piece of card and either glue or staple together, then get your children to decorate with glitter, shiny materials and ribbon. Or masks are very easy to make also using thin card/paper, find a picture of the superhero your child wants to be and copy, use covered elastic to fasten.

              *Bubbles* Everybody loves bubbles, and you don't have to buy shop brought ones, why not make your own, take 1 tsp of washing up liquid, and add 3 tbsp's of water, mix and pour onto a plate, take a large paper clip or something to that effect and bend into a triangle, and you're ready to start blowing bubbles, you blow the bubbles and give your children the task of seeing how many they can catch before they get to the ground.

              *Cardboards box's and den's* Ask your local appliance store if they have any large spare box's , use these to make castles or houses for your child, paint or colour to look appropriate ,cutting out windows if needed, you don't need to create a masterpiece, just make it look a little life like, these will keep imaginative children entertained for hours, also try making dens using large old sheets or blankets and tieing them to two chairs, or drape over your sofa, be sure to be ready to do a lot of 'pretend' door knocking and ask your child if you can come in for tea! Having your camera handy is a plus ready to take photo's to add to the photo album.

              *Sand and water play*
              A dish tub filled with sand or water can provide entertainment as well as a great learning experience. Ideas to add to water play: a drop of food colouring, turkey basters, funnels, cups, dish soap, boats, plastic toys, brushes and sponges, ice, cold or warm water, baby dolls or play dishes to wash, toddler safe balls, items that will sink or float. Best to be done outside but if you have no choice, use aprons on children, and cover the floor before use, with a old plastic sheet/mats.

              *Face painting*
              Get creative, and paint your children's faces, set's can be brought very cheaply from pound shops, craft shops etc, even if you're not the world's best designer, you can still have fun in the process.

              *Home treasure hunts*
              Can prove to be more fun, than hide and seek, write out a list of clues for your children to find, things like a pink/blue sock, a drawing of a tree( which they'll have to do themselves) a stuffed animal, etc, make sure you write things that they can find, and always give them boundaries i.e.- don't go into mummy and daddy's room or the bathroom, and tell them they don't get a prize if they leave a mess behind them- reward them with a pack of sweets, lollypop, or a pack of raisins.

              *doctors and nurses*
              Encourage them to play doctors and nurses, using their dolls/ stuffed animals as patients, try teaching them a little bit about why teddy is poorly- maybe he's fallen of the chair and needs to have an x-ray, and a bandage on his foot, or maybe dolly needs to have some medicine, get a old medicine spoon and let your child pretend to give it to her. By sitting with your children and talking to them as you play it will help them to understand that sometimes we all get poorly and might need to go to the hospital/ doctors at some point, by approaching the situation lightly, if your children does have to go to any of these places for any reason, it will help them understand a bit better, and perhaps they won't be that scared or frightened.

              All children love to pretend to shop, so why not make your own shop, using box's made into till's, and why not use old plastic plates cups, hunt places like charity shops, eBay for plastic fruit/food/money, doesn't matter if their second hand, you can easily wash them, try teaching them about different foods, where they come from, how to you keep them or cook them etc, all take it in turns to be the shop keeper and customers, upturn toy box's and lay out things they can buy, i.e. books, toys and games, and make your own signs to put up, and make your own money by using paper for notes, and card cut into circles for coins and colour them in.

              ~ Colouring, painting and sticking~

              Being so close to Christmas why not let your children make their own Christmas cards for close family and friends, collect together old Christmas cards and cut out the pictures of Christmas tree's, robins, winter scenes etc, use coloured card- red's, greens, gold's, and let them get sticky, hunt pound/craft shops for glue, glitter, special Christmas craft sets and let them give the cards their own personal touch, which the receivers will love. Envelops are cheap to buy to just make sure you get the right sized ones.
              Have fun making decorations, things like snowflakes are fun, all you need is white paper, scissors, glue and some glitter, use the scissors to cut out different patterned snowflakes, and use glue/glitter to decorate, you can either then stick them in their bedroom windows, or use a hole punch, add some ribbon and add to your Christmas tree. Or make stars using 6 lollypop sticks, use three to make 2 triangles, and stick making a star, paint in seasonal colours and add glitter/ ribbons etc.

              As a parent you will know what activities are best suited to your child regarding their age, always supervise them when using water/ scissors, etc. And try to get involved as much as you can as this can help you and your child bond with each other, not all creative play has to cost money, when chucking things like egg/ cereal boxes away, just think could they come in useful?? Be on the lookout when shopping for cheap art materials or things you think could come in useful when doing these tasks.
              If you have more than one child, try not to let any of them feel left out, and involve them all, also teach them about sharing things with one another.

              Anything can be achieved, all you need is a little imagination and creativity, go on you never know it might be fun


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                01.11.2008 23:47
                Very helpful



                Creative play

                ~*~Children learn through play~*~

                Children of all ages get bored quickly. Creative play allows them to use their imagination and express themselves freely. You don't need to fill your house with expensive toys to entertain your children. Especially since children's toys seem to be getting more expensive. When I go out shopping for toys for my son, I find a lot of toys to be expensive and a lot of these toys will be quickly outgrown. My daughter is now 12, when she was younger she had a lot of toys bought for her from family. I found that she didn't play with a lot of these expensive toys and she became bored with them after a short time. I encouraged and provided a lot of opportunities for creative play. My 12 month old has more fun with household items than his toys, children generally do! Creative play doesn't get boring, let yours and your child/children's imaginations go wild!

                Here are a few things that he likes to do:

                * Look in the mirror
                * Play boo
                * Play with cardboard tubes
                * Different textured materials
                * Drawing with wax crayons
                * Help fold the laundry, he will sit between the clean laundry and shake the clothes and 'sort them'
                * He will happily play with odd socks or empty containers
                * He finds a CD fascinating he will watch the light reflect from it
                * Copies expressions and sounds
                * Puppets - We love playing with puppets

                You don't need to spend a lot of money to have fun, collecting and keeping things from around the home can have many different uses for making and playing.

                Children grow up so quickly, so it's important to let them have fun and be children while they are young. Don't worry about mess and try not to restrict them from having fun. It won't take long to tidy up any mess at the end of playing, plus you can also encourage your children to help clean away.

                Here are some general ideas for activities and games

                ~*~Treasure Box~*~

                Children love to explore, by keeping a box and putting in different objects for them to pull out they can have fun finding different things, you can add different objects and change the contents from time to time.
                Fill a box with things like:

                * Different squares of fabric
                * Paper
                * Cardboard
                * Corrugated cardboard
                * Sponge
                * Sandpaper
                * Cotton wool
                * Net

                And any other interesting materials and objects

                ~*~ Collect leaves and make pictures~*~

                When the leaves have fallen in autumn children will have fun collecting different coloured and shaped leaves to take home, they can then arrange them and stick them onto paper to make a picture, and if you want they can even paint the leaves. As an alternative you can also use rice, pasta, and other dried foods to make collages.

                ~*~Playing with water~*~

                You can use all different things in the kitchen for your children to use in the water, a whisk, beakers to pour water, colander, food containers, things that will float or sink, older children will have fun guessing if the item will float or sink before they put it onto the water. Just remember this can be quite messy so be prepared.
                Take your child to playgroup

                Each session only cost a small amount and you don't need to go every week. There will be lots of different toys for your child to play with, and different activities. Also the main benefit is the fact they will get to interact with other children.

                ~*~Go Out On an Adventure~*~

                When out walking try turning it into an adventure. Ask your child/children what they can see, and what they can hear whilst they are walking. They may be able to hear the wind blowing if they listen carefully and the sound of their feet walking. You can also see how many animals you can see while out. Don't worry if you live in a city as there is still plenty of wildlife to be found. I live in the middle of a city but we still see things like birds, cats, dogs, and even squirrels.

                A similar game to this can be played on those long and boring car journeys, what can you see? Ask your child what they can see.

                Or, say who can see a tree first, or a dog, or a lady walking a dog, this will keep children entertained for a while.

                ~*~Make a Tent or Playhouse~*~

                Using the furniture you can make a tent just put two chairs back to back about 2-3 foot apart and lay a large blanket or sheet across them to make a small tent. The tent can then become anything your child's imagination allows it to be from a secret hideout to a spaceship.

                ~*Junk Modelling~*~

                Collect all of your packaging from food, tubes from tin foil and materials from around your home, to make models. You can make all different things, from robots to castles.

                With older children you can also make gifts for birthdays and Christmas, people love homemade gifts especially grandma and granddad.

                Keep old magazines; let your children cut out the pictures to make collages.
                You can have a theme for the collage such as a holiday scene, or underwater or just let them create whatever they want.

                Keep a spare button box, collect buttons cotton reels and beads, and use them to thread. Or make gifts or pictures using these.

                Keep left over wallpaper for drawing and painting. Also DIY shops sometimes have discontinued rolls of wall paper for a low price; this makes great paper for all kinds of art and painting.
                Hide and seek

                A classic game that doesn't require any prior preparation or tidying up afterwards.


                This is a cheap activity that children of all ages can enjoy. Once a baby is old enough you can start out by finger painting. You will need to find an area where you can set up the equipment needed, you want this to be fun, so you don't want to be worrying about them making a mess, if the weather is good then you can do this outside, on wet and cold days, find a large plastic cover, you can buy plastic covers for messy play and for using under a highchair, I find these are usually expensive, a cheap plain plastic shower curtain is perfect for this and will cost no more than £2. Buy the paints as the big ready mix bottles as these work out cheaper and you can then water them down for your children to use to make them last even longer. Buy the primary paint colours RED, BLUE and YELLOW so you can then mix the paints to make all different colours instead of buying all the different colours your children would want or need. If you run out of paper you can use any paper, packaging, boxes such as cereal boxes can be opened out flat, left over wallpaper.

                As your child gets older let them do hand and feet prints using paint. Children will also enjoy Sponge painting and Potato prints.


                Use Felt tip pens, wax crayons, pencil colours or charcoal and chalk. You can even use all these different mediums to create an even more interesting picture. For example get them to draw on a sheet of white paper with a white wax crayon and then paint over the top with a watered down solution of paint and see the surprise on their face as the invisible picture they just drew appears before their eyes as if by magic!

                ~*~Dressing up~*~

                As with all the activities I have so far talked about dressing up doesn't have to be expensive as a child will be just as happy to dress up in old clothes that would have belonged to Mum or Dad, as they would be in the expensive outfits you can buy from the shops. Plus this will give you the opportunity to take some cute pictures as your child is dressing themselves up in massively over sized clothing.

                ~*~Reading stories~*~

                This is a great activity to do with your child towards the end of the day as it will help to bring a much quieter and relaxed environment for bedtime. It also provides you and your child some quality time together.
                Singing songs and nursery rhymes

                Young children love nursery rhymes especially those with actions, they will soon pick up on the actions. Don't worry if you don't know the correct actions to a nursery rhyme as you can always make them up for your child to copy you.


                It's free to join and you can borrow all the books you want, children love to go the library and find a different books to take home with them. This can also teach your child how to act responsibly in regards to property that is not their own.

                ~*~Make up stories~*~

                If you don't have access to a local library or haven't had a chance to go there you and your children can always make up stories. Just get your children to tell you how they would like to see the story progress by asking them about what's happening and what could possibly happen next. With older children you can start the story and then get them to continue the story.

                ~*~Play Shop~*~

                Help to set up a shop for them to pretend play in. This activity can be separated over several days as you can make all the bits that you would need prior to be able to play.

                Here are some ideas of what they can make for the shop

                Play Money - You can make this using paper and writing the denomination on them.
                A till - You can make one of these using a box, children will love it no matter how simple it is.

                Some items for the shop - You can use any empty packets from food, milk bottles or juice bottles just wash them out. Empty cereal boxes, egg cartons.

                For the basket - either use a wicker basket or a bag or even just make one using a box.

                Now just set up your shop take it in turns to be the shop keeper

                For older children you can make the money have a value on each paper, and price the items in the shop, this way they can learn counting, adding and the value of money. You can then change the shop into a doctor's surgery, a school or any other place your child wishes to role play about. Pretend play stimulates creative thinking.

                ~*~Follow the leader~*~

                Take it in turns to let a person lead they can move about freely and you copy them, they can hop skip run crawl or even pretend to fly.

                ~*~Playing with sand~*~

                This is best kept to outdoors, dry sand indoors will vac up easily if you don't mind a bit of mess. Different containers sieves and colanders can be used in the sand.

                ~*~Using their senses~*~

                The Touch Game:

                Get your child to close their eyes, then place different objects into their hand and get them to guess what it is. Also you can get them to guess what sound they can hear, you can make noises using different things, like ripping paper, pouring water.

                As children get older involve them in everyday events/activities. Let them help in the kitchen bake cookies, and make lunch and help with other tasks around the kitchen. Let them help around the house and with shopping. Give them the shopping list and let them help you find what you need.

                Creative play is an open-ended activity that can be enjoyed from a young age under supervision.

                Have Fun!


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                  01.11.2008 12:09
                  Very helpful



                  Looking through album can be fascinating for a baby and also helps their vocabulary.

                  Books are an invaluable part of a baby's development, and here's a way to create a personalized book for your baby to look at.

                  I kind of did it by accident really. When my twin granddaughters were born, I took loads of photos, as you do, and saved them on my pc. I printed some out to show around, and then needed somewhere to keep them, so the obvious thing to do was to start putting them in a photo album. I put them in date order, building up a record of the first year of the girls lives. This is the kind of album with sticky pages and a clear cover that you press down.

                  One day when the girls were about eight months old, I picked it up and started showing them the photos of themselves and their family. They were mesmerized! I told them who everyone was: mummy, daddy, grandparents, themselves. I also talked to them about other things in the photos such as dummies, baby walkers, hats, shoes, cups, balloons, teddies, buckets and spades and so on.

                  After that it became a regular thing on every visit. As they started toddling around, I showed them where the album was kept on my bookshelf and told them that was their book. After that one or the other of them always went to it, tugged it off and spent ages looking at the photos. They also understood very well that they musn't touch the other books, and they were very good at not messing with them.

                  It got to where I could ask them where a person or an item was in the book and they would point to it. I think this really helps with vocabulary and also remembering family members or friends they might not see very often.

                  Over time, the album got filled up and the girls helped with sticking the photos in. Now they are three they can name everyone and everything in the book and we can talk about what's happening in the photos. They're not identical, so they can tell which one is which in the photos, even where they are very tiny. It's fascinating to finally hear their opinions about the photos as well!

                  This doesn't have to cost much. You can pick up a cheap album from Poundland and then it won't matter if it gets knocked around, or sticky.


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                    28.08.2008 09:03
                    Very helpful
                    1 Comment



                    lets your childrens creativity come alive

                    I am a great believer in encouraging my children to be creative or using their brains, but I am also a great believer in entertaining children shouldn't cost the earth either

                    So hear are my boredom tips for kids that are either free or cost very little.

                    In the home

                    So what can you do to keep your little ones from getting bored just by using things either from the kitchen cupboard and basic art materials. The worlds your potato.

                    I think I will start with my favourite kids activity that to be honest can be used by any age or stage of development. I have found even now that my kids are that little bit older they will still ask me to make this.

                    Gloop- is it a liquid is it a solid well it's actually a bit of both, I first learned about this amazing substance whilst at college doing my hnc early years education course. Basically it is a substance that you make up from mixing up corn flour and water till you get a smooth almost icing like feel to it.

                    Think the technical recipe is 2 parts cornflour to 1 part water.

                    You can be adventurous and add in a little food colouring to jazz it up. I personally prefer colouring it with powdered paint as its doesn't stain the hands. I use a mixing bowl then once I have achieved the desires consistency spread it out onto a large tray.

                    Now here comes the fun bit, when you touch it it feels solid but when you lift it up it becomes all runny and turns into a liquid and drips off the hands and again reforms into a solid. I particularly love it as it just feel all cold and sticky but so easy to clean up and can keep kids entertained for ages.

                    Try it you might like it.

                    Make your own play dough. All you need is flour salt and water.
                    Recipe is
                    1 part salt
                    1 part water
                    4 part flour

                    For me I just end up adding either more water or flour till I get the desired play dough consistency. I think doing it the uncooked way although the dough doesn't last long it is more child friendly for making as the get to do it all themselves with just a little adult supervision. I let my kids add in glitter or powdered paint to make it different. I also have a collection of old household object which the can use to experiment with to form shapes and patterns with. A favourite of my sons is old hair brushes and combs.

                    One thing to note though is cover the area well when actually making the play dough as it can get messy, I get the kids to put on my husbands old shirts as aprons and cover tables with old bedding sheets. Waste not want not.

                    Another thing I enjoy is just getting the kids to make up their own games out of household objects. A recent game that was made up was sock darts. This consisted of coasters and table mats arranged in a circles on the floor and a balled up sock which you had to throw, depending on where it landed you got certain points. I would like to say this was not my own personal invention but that of my children when they were bored at the caravan and had run out of ideas to keep themselves entertained. I shall hang my head in shame as I did get competitive trying to beat them but alas my throwing skills where too lame.

                    Another balled up sock game they like to play is bin basket ball. We gather up all the wicker basket bins, but you could use anything really. Cooking pots, plastic bowls, tubs. All you need to do is arrange them on the floor, give each child a few balled up socks and let them throw them into the baskets. I like this game as it is relatively easy for the kids to play and the fact your using socks means the can't break anything within the house or hurt each other. This is great for your children's hand to eye co ordination .

                    In the car.

                    There is a great selection of in car games you can play during any journey. Such as the alphabet game. Each child takes it in turn to think up words beginning with a letter of the alphabet according to a theme such as

                    Girls/boys names

                    The possibilities are really endless.

                    We also play count the buses/lorries/caravans or as my children are older now we tend to count particular models of car. This game tends to be a short one but can hold their interest for a while which is a bonus at keeping them happy.

                    Good old eye spy, a great guessing game, it usually brings us out with fits of laughter as my youngest child is the world champ at this, he tends to pick things at random that you could either not see or doesn't actually exist in nature. One time he swore blind he saw a spaceship. I think kids are just so out there sometimes you never know what they are going to say next.

                    For shopping trips. This idea has been a life saver of mine trying to keep my son entertained, especially before he could read. Takes some thought and creativity but well worth it. I make him up his own shopping list, we use normal card and either draw pictures of items or glue on food labels or pictures of items we need to buy. Sometimes if we need things like pasta or rice we glue that to the card too, think that's his favourite as he would sit in the trolley holding his card and skimming his hand over the rice or pasta. It gives your little ones a focal point to keep them busy and less chance of becoming bored. It is a fun activity to share with your kids that can keep them entertained before and during shopping trips.

                    I think I could end up going on all day as I have so many of these. But this is a section of my favourites, hope you enjoyed them and perhaps has given you some food for thought.

                    Thanks for reading.


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                      25.10.2007 13:02



                      Thank you - a useful recipe for a Nanna, as this will help to keep my grandson entertained during his stay with me this half term. We are going to go shopping for the ingredients this morning and will make the ply dough when we get home.


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                      11.11.2005 17:36
                      Very helpful



                      ALL these activiteis I use at parent and toddler group, they are fun and are great keepsakes.

                      As christmas is coming near I thought some of these ideas would be good for gifts/keepsakes and also keeping the children entertained.

                      Each one can be created with very little expense, and they help children with imagination, motor skills (fine and Maniplutive), and many aspects of learning.

                      We use these ideas at my mother and toddler group each year and they are always a big hit with parents and children alike.

                      Children grow up so quickly it is always nice to have something to remember the early years.


                      Firstly use a large piece of card, at the top half of the card add the child’s Handprint/footprint.

                      Underneath add this poem
                      BECAUSE I AM SO SMALL
                      ON FURNITURE AND WALLS.

                      BUT EVERY DAY I'M GROWING -
                      I'LL BE GROWN ONE DAY
                      AND ALL THOSE TINY HANDPRINTS
                      WILL SURELY FADE AWAY.

                      SO HERE'S A LITTLE HANDPRINT
                      JUST SO YOU CAN RECALL
                      EXACTLY HOW MY FINGERS LOOKED
                      WHEN I WAS VERY SMALL.

                      Then stick on the mini calendars (you can purchase these from stores such as Woolworth’s for about 40p each).

                      Ideas for decorations/gifts using play dough.
                      The cooked play dough is best for decorations as it dries hard like an ornament,

                      But be careful they can break quite easy too.

                      Plain Dough 1
                      3 cups plain flour
                      1 cup salt
                      1 tsp food colouring

                      Mix ingredients with water (slowly), until doughy.
                      Use different flours for interesting textures.
                      Plain Dough 2
                      2 cups plain flour
                      1 cup salt
                      2 tblsp cooking oil
                      approx 1 cup of water
                      Simple Dough
                      450g self raising flour
                      450g salt
                      water to mix
                      good modelling dough, can be baked in oven
                      Cooked Dough
                      225g plain flour
                      225g water
                      125g salt
                      1 tbsp oil
                      2 tsps cream Tatar
                      Mix together and cook in old saucepan until a ball is formed, knead when cool.
                      Store in airtight container.
                      Smooth Dough
                      3 cups plain flour
                      1 cup salt
                      1 dessert spoon of corn flour
                      1 tsp colour
                      water to mix
                      Stretchy Dough
                      1350g self raising flour
                      approx 1 pint of water
                      keep in airtight container in cool place

                      To colour dough use either
                      Powder paint
                      Food Colouring

                      Try adding smells, peppermint,almond,lavenderoils,unwanted perfume.


                      Old toilet/kitchen rolls.
                      Tissue paper
                      Stars/sequins ect.
                      ribbon/coloured string

                      Cover the toilet/kitchen roll in tissue paper and stick.
                      Twist each end and tie with ribbon or coloured string
                      Decorate the main section with anything you like stars/glitter ect.

                      You can add little gifts inside too.


                      A4 size card
                      Stencils/cut outs
                      Any materials.

                      Decorate the A4 sheet, try not to make it to raised.
                      Once dried laminate the card and then this can be used as a placemat at the dinner table.

                      Remember to add the name/date on it before laminating.

                      Thank you for reading. :0)


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                        09.11.2005 20:59
                        Very helpful



                        play dough for kids

                        During the time of being a nanny I was constantly thinking of creative ideas. Here is one creative activity that the children love.

                        1 cup flour
                        1 cup water
                        1 cup salt
                        1 tbsp. cooking oil
                        1 tsp. cream of tartar
                        Food coloring

                        Combine all ingredients into a pan. Cook approximately 5 minutes, stirring constantly until dough begins to stay together. Cool for a few minutes.knead dough, Store in covered container or plastic bag.

                        Make lots of different coloured dough the children love it.
                        Have plenty of shape cutters childrens rolling pins and a board would come in handy so you dont ruin your dining room table as the colouring can stain.

                        Add me to your circle of friends I will do the same and read your reviews
                        Thanx Hayley


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                          06.11.2005 00:25
                          Very helpful



                          Cheap, messy fun for a rainy day.

                          As winter is drawing in and we finding ourselves stuck indoors more and more often as the rain falls outside, my family finds itself partaking in more and more creative activities. And I thought I’d share a few of our favourite projects with you, some of the activities can be produced by the children on their own, others will need lots of adult help. Some of them take a little preparation, some a lot, most use common items you‘ll find in your kitchen cupboards, but what they all have in common is that they are fun, messy and you child may even be learning something.

                          Before you start any of these activities it’s a good idea to cover the table (and perhaps floor) with something that will protect it. Now this could be newspaper, but I personally have lots of plastic table clothes (that I buy very cheap a couple of weeks after Christmas). As well as the table, you might want to protect your child’s clothes, with either a purpose made apron or one of their Dad’s old shirts.

                          Now we’re ready to begin…..

                          ---Spaghetti Painting---

                          This is a very messy and tactile activity that can be enjoyed by almost any child, including those with sensory impairments. It’s best to start your preparations in the morning, as the first thing you will need to do is cook some spaghetti, not the tinned type, but the stuff that comes dry in packets. Follow the cooking instructions and then drain and let it cool and let the fun begin….

                          Simply put some paint in suitable shallow containers add some of the spaghetti, then let the child squidge it round until the spaghetti is coated and use it to create some masterpieces on paper. You may find that the child is reluctant to touch the squidgy squelchy spaghetti, at least to start with, but once they start to realise how easy it is to make brilliant pictures they’ll be swirling and flicking away.

                          I’ve personally used this method with a vast range of children of different ages and abilities and they’ve all loved it, including one little girl with no vision and severe learning difficulties who produced the most wonderful pictures for her Mum’s fridge.

                          ---Bubble Painting---

                          This is an activity for the slightly more able child, and a great way to help a child work on controlling their blowing. You’ll need some straws, watered down paint and a dash of washing-up liquid. Add a few of drops of washing-up liquid to each colour of the watered down paint and mix thoroughly.

                          All the child needs to do now is dip the end of their straw in the paint mix, then place it on the paper and blow through the other end. As they blow a bubble will form and then burst leaving a lovely pattern on the paper.

                          ---Salt dough---

                          This is one that you’ll need to give a lot of help will as it does involve cooking (but not until after the little monsters have had their fun).

                          You will need :

                          4 cups of plain flour
                          1 cup of salt
                          1 cup hot water (from the hot tap)

                          Put the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl, mix well (let the monsters join in here with a large wooden spoon) and then start adding the water until the dough is at a nice workable consistency (similar to play dough), then turn it onto a work surface and give it a good knead. Now at this stage you can add some food colouring, simply split the dough into separate parts and you could have yellow, red, blue and green dough to work with.

                          Now the dough’s been mixed it’s time for the children to make some wonderful sculptures and ornaments with it. They could make badges or fridge magnets (you can buy badge pins and magnets in craft shops), a name plate for their room, a photo frame, or simply a pretty ornament for their grandparents.

                          Once the artists have completed their work it’s time to let the works of art dry out, you could either do this by leaving them in the open air for several days, or you could bake them in a very low oven (I use the economy setting, which is about gas mark 1/2) for about 4 hours. When they’re dry they’ll be completely hard without actually turning brown, and you’ll then need to let them cool before the next stage. Once they’ve dried and cooled, the children can then paint them (if you hadn’t coloured the dough), then they need to dry again before YOU seal them with varnish.

                          ---Junk Models---

                          Think of all the boxes, plastic bottles and toilet rolls you throw away in a week. Now my question is why, when they can all be used to make the most marvellous models by your children. Collect all these bits for a week or so, get some glue (the PVA glue is the best and fairly cheap) then let your children’s imaginations run away with them. There are so many things they can build, robots, cars and castles, space rockets, really the sky’s the limit. Once the model’s been built, the finishing touch will be to paint it.

                          ---Papier Mache Masks---

                          Here’s another lovely messy activity for you to share with your little horrors and the first thing you will need is glue. Now you could take the easy options of using either watered down PVA or wallpaper paste (not really suitable for young children), but if any of your children are old enough to be safe at the cooker, then you can make your own.


                          To make your own glue….

                          Put 5 cups of water in a saucepan and put it onto to boil.
                          Meanwhile mix ¼ cup flour with 1 cup of cold water until smooth (like if you were making custard )
                          Once your mixture is smooth and completely lump free add it to the boiling water and cook until it thickens, allow to cool and you have glue.


                          Once you’ve chosen which glue you are going to use (and possibly made it), then it’s time to blow up some balloons, try to get them to about the size of your child’s head. That done it’s time for some serious paper tearing, remember I recommended saving boxes earlier, well do the same with your newspapers. The paper needs to be torn into pieces (how small depends on how neat you are), then dipped in the glue (so it’s completely coated) and then placed on the balloon, continue until one half of the balloon is completely covered (vertically as it’s going to be a mask). You can then start to build up the layers, allowing it to dry (in the airing cupboard) every couple of layers.

                          Once the mask is thick enough (and completely dry), it’s time to pop the balloon, neaten the edges, and cut eye and mouth holes, before the children can paint and decorate it. The final step is to punch two holes and then tie on some elastic so that the mask stays in place.

                          Now these are only a few of the creative activities that I do with my children, but each of them can be expanded and adapted depending on what you’ve got available and your child's ability. Not only this but they are cheap, the majority of ingredients can be found in any cupboard, and they are environmentally friendly, after all instead of throwing all the boxes and newspapers in the rubbish, you’re children will be making some wonderful models that they can present to those special relatives.

                          * Oh and don't let the monsters see this, but they will be learning something while they have fun. They will be discovering different textures and methods of expressing themselves.


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                            16.01.2002 22:53
                            Very helpful



                            I have a new toy, actually I bought it off E-bay around Halloween, actually I don't like to say that I bought Emmet Goodsite, I think of it more as adopting him, kind of like adopting a kid from Russia, where you sort of have to pay some money but it is still adoption. Emmet is my pal. We go everywhere together except my job, and only because he has a very foul mouth and would get me in trouble there. We go shopping and to movies and to pubs. We have become very close. I have been dealing with puppets since I was twelve. I went to this Church with a youth group that had a puppet team.(in America people don't go to Church out of Duty or obligation to their religious heritage instead the churches aside from the legitimate Holy one, the true church, the Orthodox Church, churches must compete in enertainment value and venue to get parishoners since churches are not state supported like in Germany. This leads to all sorts of activities being held in churches, in this case it was puppet team). My friend Satan Sanchez also belonged to puppet team and we would practice and had little competitions amongst the fellowship of churches we belonged to and the youth pastors wife ran our team since she had been on puppet ministry at some stupid unnaccredited college she attended. For some reason Mr Sanchez and me always got assigned the damaged puppets, ones missing eyes or noses or ones with bent sticks. The leaders cut us no slack despite the fact that they should have realized that our puppets that were disfigured would have low self esteem and would be more likely to engage in combat with other puppets. It was a vicious circle. Our puppets would get more and more worn with each practice. I think our puppets personalities were a big reason they said the hell with puppet team and closed down the program. I didn't like all that singing and this "Simone, gee you look sad, what is a matter" banter sung in a soprano whine.
                            (My puppet was a different kind of Soprano, the kind on HBO at 10pm) I got away from puppeteering for many long years until I needed an outlet from stress and the category guides at Dooyoo started cracking down on my hostile opinions. During football season Marlboro Max and me would get these old wheelchairs out of the garage that his aunt had used and we would take them to the bar and sit in them and we could say anything we wanted to people without getting our asses kicked. Not that we are pussies and are scared of anybody, but when you are mad about the Oakland Raider's losing and let of steam it ain't ever 1 on 1 skin to skin, you end up fighting the whole bar. Now Max is working and I needed an outlet and I moved to Philadelphia. SO I needed a new form of release and that is when Emmet came into my life. (I wish I had time to solicit pity for the ardous path of single fatherhood but not here) SO I take Emmet all over the place. Generally we get an audience at the mall. People gather around and watch us and let their kids hang out and watch us. Most people are stupid enough to believe that just because a bunch of kids are swarmed aeround that it must be wholesome entertainment. If the parents actually stand there and listen they quickly yank their kids away because Emmet has tourettes syndrom and is a compul;sive sexual deviant. He likes to make jokes about being fisted, which I suppose makes sense to other puppets. He also likes to bad mouth the muppets and stuff. My favorite thing to do is to put Emmets case on the floor and I put all my pocket change in it and then when other people put money in there we start in on them. We are like, well Emmet is like, "Hey Cammie you see that snaggle toothed jack off just threw some money in my box" and I am like , "Yeah Emmet, they must think we are poor or something" and Emmet goes, "Can't that stupid SOB see I am wearing Tommy and your outfit costs
                            about 5 times as much as his" we do stuff like that. The people will actually pick their money out of the box, Emmet and me call that a "win" when someone takes their money back. Some people like our style and invite us to parties at bars and stuff. I would do it for free but Emmet claims he is not some two bit freak and asks for $50 per hour. It ain't about money though. We do a magic show together for burnt kids at the hospital. They like it a lot and Emmet tones down the profanity for the kids that got burnt. The reason I am still on Dooyoo after I said I couldn't be anymore is I am out of work right now. Emmet got assaulted by a tire iron at the Washateria in Phoenixville. Puppets have notoriously bad periferal vision and he got blindsided by some guy who had been drinking. Somehow in the attack my ulna and fibia got busted and now there are pins in my arm. It really sucks. I can't work and I get docked all sorts of money. WHat is even worse is it was some poor guy that did it and it isn't worth suing him although I will get some money out of the Pennsylvania victims relief fund as it was classified as a felonious assault. I did get a super shot in on the guy as it was no holds barred when someone hits you with a tire iron and I don't think that guy needs contraceptives anymore. Just picture a 230 pound lumberjack with a puppet on his arm with the arms flailing about and the head cracked wide open standing in position 1 in the middle of a laundrymat before kicking a guy square in the jimmies. I think the laundrymat sold the security tape to real tv. Just be careful when you take your puppet out. Lots of people hate puppets and you really have to train your puppet to watch his mouth. Update: I just came back from the store called Target with Emmet. He wanted some Sponge Bob clotehs and is always whining about the stuff other kids parents buy for them. Yet in the store we are arguing a
                            nd he goes off and says "You ain't my real dad and I don't have to listen to you". And truthfully that is the worst kind of stuff a kid can say to his adoptive parent. It hurts, I have fed and clothed him for almost a year and that ungrateful punk has the audacity to say something like that, if I ain't his dad where the &^$& is his "real" dad when it comes time to buy some shoes or pay the rent? That just galls me, these kids nowadays, so I put a good bitch slap to him, right then and there and I called him a chain of pretty nasty names. So this 15 year old retarded girl says to me, "Meester Maybe you Poppit wouldent talk to you dat way if you were nicer to him" Like what gives her the right to judge me? I could be like my mom was and say crap like. "Wait to we get home" or "Its going to be a real long ride home after I get you out to the car". One time I left the mouthy little bastard out along the motorway because he was singing all messed up while I was listening to my favorite Nelly Furtado and Ludicrous songs. I left him out of the car so he could think about his actions and it didn't phase him at all, he was like , "You ain't got the guts to leave me here and I'll call Mannikin services on you" So I backed up and got him before the badgers started gnawling at him. It is like the state has totally eliminated my ability to discipline my puppet and the punk knows it. Emmet claims his real dad is Jeff Speakmannikin (you have to watch martial arts films to know who Jeff Speakman is) and he tries to use karate on me. I am just tired of him, he is such a dickhead.


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                              13.12.2001 20:15
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                              I think most parents would just love to leave their kids in Hamleys and get on with things while they amuse themselves. But kids being most non-cooperative at the best of times are quickly amused and twice as quickly bored no matter how much of Argos, ELC and Toys R Us you buy! Although all these mechanical toys are great for playing with and many do have educational properties your child will still need to be stimulated in other ways so why not make it as fun as possible. Time is usually something that feels so very short when it comes to spending it with your children so make the most of it and try out some activities you can do together for both fun and learning. From my experience with my daughter who is now two this is my top 10 list of things to do. I can’t wait to start all over again with my second and have two times as much fun with both of them as they grow. 1) Painting: Now now don’t get your knickers in a twist there’s no need to paint the whole living room in order to have fun. Poster paints are a great source of fun if you have the patience to get everything ready and then clean afterwards but you can always substitute them for basic watercolours that are far less messy. If your painting on a budget I recommend Wilkinsons for all the equipment or if you have any of those £1 everything stores etc near you they are great. You can get big bottles of poster paints for £1 each and a small pallet of watercolours for 50p. I would say start this around 1 year – 15mths and begin with finger paints, messy but your baby will LOVE it. Tips…..Cover all the area you’re going to be working from, use an old sheet if you have one or tape pieces of paper together. Don’t forget the mess on the sheet and walk it all over the house though!! If you have younger children confine them to a highchair or some kind of table, you can always wash the highchair down afterwards and it mea
                              ns there is a limited amount of mess they can make (usually!). Lastly let them do what they want, if they want to paint their beautiful picture all black – let them, it will only frustrate them if you try to turn them in Renoir. 2) Drawing: If you are worried about everything ending up covered in pencil marks then you can always have supervised sessions alone and then take the pencils away until next time. Try using different ideas for them to draw on, colouring books, dot-to-dot books, plain paper of different sizes or a drawing you’ve done for them to colour. Most children orientated sites have pictures you can print for your child to colour too. You have a choice of pens, crayons or pencils to use, personally I advice you stay well away from pens for younger children and crayons are better for the youngest artists. NEVER leave young children unattended with any of them though and make sure that the crayons are non-toxic. Tips…..Let them tell you what to draw and do it in very simple stages, eventually they will copy you and learn how to draw things for themselves. They can usually start drawing around 1 year – 18 months and by 2 years they will love it so spend lots of time with them, it’s a great activity to develop their creativity. I find that crayons are the best medium and buying paper in big batches (like printing paper for example) will make you pull your hair out less when they decide a drawing is finished after just one mark! Remember to let them decide what they want to do and how. Alternative: If you really don’t want to let them use pencils then buy a Magnadoodle or similar alternative, they are fantastic (in fact I recommend you get one anyway). My daughter has used hers so much it’s worn out, you just rub out and start again so no paper or pens used. 3) Reading: I’d like to think that every parent encourages this anyway from the earliest p
                              ossible opportunity but I know that a lot don’t. I’m afraid this is probably my biggest hate. Books are wonderful at developing your child’s sense of imagination and for helping them to learn to read and write as well as teaching them constantly both facts and language skills. If you’re stuck for money then check out your local charity shops, you can often pick up books for 10p – 50p up to a maximum of £2 per book, far less than in the shops and they are nearly always in fantastic condition. Then of course there is the library if you have access to one, they don’t charge at all. Find books that have pictures your child can interact with, let them pick which they want to read from a stack and sit with them while you read. Don’t make them finish the book if they don’t want to, remember this is supposed to be fun even while being educational. Tips……. Encourage them to read by following the words with your finger as you go and point to specific objects that they know so they can join in the story too. Don’t get frustrated if they just want to read the same book over and over and over, they are just learning. Thai does that and now can recite books to herself now word for word by recognising the pages. Avoid flap and pop-up books for the very young, they will just pull them apart and get frustrated if they can’t get them to work. Lastly don’t buy books that are too long for you child at their age, keep it short and lengthen the story as their attention span increases. 4) Puzzles: The most important thing about introducing your child to puzzles is don’t do it too soon, they will get frustrated and end up hating them. Wait until your child is showing signs of good dexterity then start, if they have trouble then help them and if they still can’t do it take it away and try again in a few weeks. It will probably seem that they will never get the ha
                              ng of it but one day they just will! Trust me, Thai couldn’t do even the easiest of ones until she was nearly 2 years old and is now doing them by the dozen. Try to find thicker card ones that are quite large to begin with, ELC do some great puzzles so do Asda, Woolworths and Wilkinsons. Prices are pretty low considering the entertainment and lasting factor, usually about £3-£5 each. Tips…………Choose puzzles with bright interesting pictures but not ones that are too busy or confusing for younger children. Help your child by suggesting and showing where the pieces go but if they are getting frustrated don’t loose your temper or just take the piece away that will just upset them more. Talk to them while they are doing it and teach them to match up shapes, colours and to try turning the piece or try it in a different place. Remember each child develops at their own rate but as they get older this can be a wonderful activity for you to do as a whole family as well as teaching them at the same time. 5) Getting out and about: Sounds obvious but too few parents actually make regular trips with their kids. These days with working long hour and lack of money and things being so expensive we all just stay in instead. There are lots of places to go though and even if it’s just a walk where you can talk or play around at least it’s some fresh air and it doesn’t involve a television. For babies there’s the park on nice days or on wet or cold days there are a lot of baby gyms around where both older children and babies will be able to play and meet other children. For older children how about museums, galleries etc? You don’t have to count it as a whole day, try to encourage their interest by letting them ask questions and telling them things about the objects. Kids love to learn it’s a natural instinct so nurture it, not all children will like these sorts of things so t
                              ry to aim for activities and outings they will enjoy. Tips…………Plan well, nothing is more frustrating than planning a trip that turns to a day of hell because it’s closed or too far away or your children hate it. Encourage all kinds of enjoyment and learning, even from an early age they will take in the information and get some fun from it even if it’s only for 20 mins. It might seem a lot of effort for 20 minutes but as they get older it will get longer and you’d be surprised what a child can pick up in 20 mins. What about zoo’s and farms? Most children adore animals and it’s good to introduce them early. 6) Videos: Ahh the dreaded television, how did that end up in here. Well simply because not all programs and videos are mindless entertaining rubbish, there are plenty that hold educational values even in small amounts and a small dose of television I think is actually good for your child, it helps them unwind and relax a bit. But also it’s a chance for you just to sit and spend quiet time with your child or even take advantage of their love of TV at a young age by starting to teach a language. A young child will learn a second language the way it does it’s first so why not put on a language video designed for youngsters and make the most of this time in their life. We never learn the same way again. Tips………….Not too much and try to make the most of it. You don’t have to sit there watching BBC education videos even Rugrats holds a lot of information for your child to learn but if they insist on lots of TV every day then at least make some of it learning time. We all love a good cartoon (well all us big kids!) so cuddle up and use the time to bond, with slightly older children you can try having discussions about the program. 7) Cooking: More good messy fun for both sexes to enjoy and get used to. Most of th
                              em will have to feed themselves at some point and it’s good if they know how. But aside from that it’s great fun and a good bonding experience provided you don’t expect too much from the outcome. You can involve them in your everyday cooking and cleaning activities or make time for special cooking. There are so many websites with cooking ideas that you can try with your children or if you have the money WH Smiths is bound to have a few dozen books on it. Tips…………Probably best to wait until your child is 18mths to 2 years before you start but that’s just my experience and then keep it simple, don’t give them the whole mixture to mix just a small amount. Let them cut out biscuits with child shape cutters for example and give them a cloth to wipe up a small area afterwards. Make it as fun as possible and try to produce something they can eat afterwards, if you’ve had a disaster you can always cook a small batch on your own in secret! 8) Let’s pretend: Probably the best way to learn and it can be completely free! For early starters use nursery rhymes and songs with actions and encourage them to join in, yes you might look a wally but it’s for a good cause! Why not have a tea party with their toys or pretend to cook, you don’t need an extravagant toy kitchen use your own pots and pans. Encourage you child to initiate the game as much as possible and just have as much fun as you can, you might feel silly but being a horse is actually amazingly enjoyable!!!! Tips………Try out new games as much as you can but let them dictate what and how you do it whenever they want to within reason. Take the phone off the hook and concentrate on your child, if you have to go midway through a game they can get very upset. Playing together is great but try to encourage them to play alone too, it will give you a break sometimes and keep them amused and
                              avoid frustration because they want your attention all the time. Sometimes sitting in the same room while they play and talking to them but not really joining in will help. 9) Use your computer: We’re living in a society that will be using these things for everything (well near enough!) soon and our children will benefit enormously from being comfortable around them. Introducing them to the computer early on when they are learning at their fastest rate will help as long as it’s not too much too often, just like television really. The computer should not become a replacement to friends and playing outside or with other toys etc. There are numerous games you can get many with an educational theme to help your child learn to count, read or write etc as well as teaching them about the world we live in. You can buy first keyboards and mouse for your younger child that they can start to use from around 18mths although they are very expensive and you will need to buy the corresponding CD ROM’s to go with it. If you don’t want to buy anything then there is the internet, there are literally hundreds of websites for you to look at, personally I love the BBC website for Thai. Tips………Vet and discs and websites before using them with your child and make sure if you are using the internet your older children don’t have access to any sites they shouldn’t. Start by showing them what you are doing and gradually encourage them to use the computer and mouse themselves. Remember not too much too often and make the most fun by letting your child decide what they want to do. 10) And finally! Get crafty: Go all Blue Peter and make things with your children it’s messy, it’s frustrating at times but it ain’t half fun! They will love it and you’ll have something you can keep for ever in the memory box if for nothing else than to embarrass them in front of thei
                              r partners evil chuckle. You can end up sending a fortune but for a budget and usually the best things anyway look around in £1 shops, sales, boot fairs and charity shops, you’ll be surprised what you can pick up. And for free why not use things you have at home, toys from cereal packs, packets and containers (washed of course) and old clothes etc. Make objects or for your younger kids do a collage, just glue the paper, provide some reasonably sized objects and let them stick away. Tips………..Keep your eye on young children at all times if you’re doing this. Try to buy things as you go along and store them in a box, whenever you see some stickers on sale or some sewing accessories (buttons, lace etc) then buy some for when you need it. That’s it! It’s not always easy to do any of these things when you’ve got in from work all tired or you have a million and one things to do. Just think in 10 years or so your washing will still be piling up and there will still be a daily pile of dishes for you to wash but your children will no longer want to do any of the above with you. Don’t miss out because some of the best times I’ve had with Thai have been when I’m doing the things listed above.


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