Little Cork Boats with Sails for Toddlers

Cork rafts can be found all over the net and this is our version. We used string to bind them instead of the usual cocktail sticks to make them safer for very young children to play with them. We made our sails from craft felt which is colourful, stiff, and enduring. I stapled these straight through the pop stick mast for speed and durability.

So what do you do with them? Well….







Creative messy play toddler classes for babies, toddlers and preschoolers in Cheltenham.


Sensory Car Track From Scraps

We’ve made a sensory car race track out of scraps! We chose corrugated card and lade it with the ridges in different directions. We also use craft foam, packing material and sand paper. We added some pop sticks to make a noisy click clack train track along side one of the roads.


This was very popular with my three and nearly two year old, and created lots to talk about!

It’s also fun to walk round with your shoes off apparently!

All in all it was worth the effort and we get it out repeatedly. I had to make sure all edges were well glued with a glue gun, as it would be far to tempting for youngest not to peal everything off, which would be fun for her but upsetting for the other.


Creative messy play toddler classes for babies, toddlers and preschoolers in Cheltenham.

Giant Cotton Reel Racer: STEM Activity



A Little Science and Engineering for Toddlers!

These simple machines use stored elastic potential (strain) energy. There are two reasons I think it is important to make machines for children to play with.

1) They can see all the parts, what they do, start to understand why they are suitable and figure out why they are not working when they break down.

2) Being presented with objects used for new purposes taps into their own creativity and inventiveness. Every object has the potential to be used for something else!

I’ve been making Cotton Reel Racers with match sticks and rubber bands for over ten years in my science lessons. Problem is they can be a bit too temperamental and delicate for toddler hands. Therefore I decided to ‘Go Large’ and create giant ones…three in all, for this weeks workshops.

The local scrap store provides lots strange and wonderful objects that would otherwise go to landfill. these giant reels were just the job! Similar reels from cabling might be just as good.

I threaded a thick elastic band through the centre of the reel. A stick is inserted into the elastic at each end of the reel. One short one that lies flat and may need to be taped down to stop it moving, and a long stick, inserted on top of a washer of some kind. I used a toy car wheel for our washer.

To make it go you need to wind the long stick around. Here is a video of it in action!




Creative messy play toddler classes for babies, toddlers and preschoolers in Cheltenham.

Decorating Twig Trees


It’s a wonderful feeling to look around and see so many toddlers genuinely engaged in an activity. Toddlers really don’t care about your feelings. If its not interesting, they simply wont engage in it! However, if they are playing they are learning!

This fine motor skills activity popped into my head when collecting leaves with my husband and children in the park at the weekend. I raided the garage and toy box for anything that could be threaded on to the twigs to make little decorated trees. I stood the twigs in pots of playdough. To my delight it was a hit! This demands a delicate touch and dexterity. The concentration in their faces can be seen in some of the pictures below and makes me smile every time I look at them!






Creative messy play toddler classes for babies, toddlers and preschoolers in Cheltenham.

Bean Construction Box

Here is a lovely rainy day activity guaranteed to keep your toddlers engaged! A bean and chick pea construction play box.
The special feature of this box are the tipping hoppers made from pop bottle top halves. They are strung across the box with the string or elastic entering the bottles low down giving them instability when full, causing them to tip over and empty. The inspiration for this came from a water park on holiday! Here is a video clip of them working. Cut kitchen towel tubes made great shoots, taped to the side of the box.

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We added a paper plate helter skelter!

Creative messy play toddler classes for babies, toddlers and preschoolers in Cheltenham.