Spooky Halloween Colour Change Spell for Toddlers and Preschoolers

We have super chemistry activity for your little ones this Halloween! We boiled up some red cabbage water, and used lemon juice and vinegar to change it’s colour! More than that, bicarbonate of soda in water with some dish soap changed the colour again and creates a fizzy foam! Here is a link to a video demo.

The acidic lemon juice or vinegar turns the purple cabbage water (an indicator) pink! Bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) in water turns it blue! Put both in and you have a fizzy neutralisation reaction that produces salty water and releases carbon dioxide bubbles! The magic ingredient is some dish soap in the bicarbonate of soda, causing a
foam and your cauldron to bubble over!



We had loads of fun chanting spells and adding spiders a fogs to our potions!





Happy Halloween everyone!

Messy toddler and preschool classes and workshops Cheltenham.

Pulleys for Toddlers From Scrap STEM Activity

Science and Engineering for Toddlers:
I made these pulleys from scrap! What a fun way to experience the power of pulleys! I made two pulleys and a block and tackle for lifting sand and a ramp. It took the toddlers a little while to figure out what to do, but once they did they immediately started experimenting!

We experimented with cotton reels, play people and cars with the ramp. And lifted sand and shells with the block and tackle. This one is the most fun to watch as both wheels turn when it’s pulled. They seem to like watching the wheels change direction as they pull and then release.





Super Science!

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

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.

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.

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.


Magnet Play Toddler STEM Activity

Experiencing magnetic attraction! I took along our magnet board and a box of magnetic house hold objects to this week’s workshops. We used small strong magnets (knotted in baby socks to reduce risk of chocking), magnetic fishing rods and our giant magnets too.

I used self adhesive magnetic strips and stuck on other magnets using a super glue to make a magnet wall. Our every day objects included spoons, jam jar lids, slinky springs (stick them in a stocking and knot the end if you think they’ll get then tangled), cookie cutters etc. They can then set about sticking the objects to the magnets directly or on the back where they can’t see the magnets.

For small magnetic items that could cause a choking hazard e.g. bottle tops, pipe cleaners, pennies and paper clips, I placed them in sealed containers. Some in water and glitter, some in baby oil and some just in air. Happily they set about using the ‘magnetic socks’ to drag the items around in the container.


Experiencing repulsion! I also took the time to make some repulsion cars. Magnets with same poles facing outward, glued on to the front of two cars. This is perfect for experiencing repulsion! Here is a video of them.

Happy experimenting everyone! Please share your experiments too!

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

Tip Tap Dry Sand Play

Our Tip Tap Water Wall works very well with dry sand!! The closed end containers with small holes in means the sand trickles out slowly!




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

Tip tap Water Wall

There are lots of Water Wall ideas to be found knocking about on the web, and this is my unique version. Inspired by African Tip Taps! It has pipes but it is different because my items are hanging from bars (yet another use for my towel rail) rather than attached to a wall. This means items can be filled and then tipped!


I’ve added a plastic pint glass and a bucket with pull strings. Also rather than open ended pipes I’ve put in U-bend pipes and closed bottom containers with a few holes in to allow the water to empty in slow little fountains.

The Tip Tap is the milk container. It has a large hole in the back for filling, a pierced lid and a cord, so when pulled it empties as a little shower.

Please let us know about your ideas!




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

Brush Robots Pre-school STEM Activity

Introducing Motors and Batteries for some Early Years STEM.

We’ve attached little motors and offset wheels to brushes. The wobble of the off centre wheels caused them to vibrate and glide around.

Simple Motors to observe in action!

It’s great to have the motor and batteries visible for supervised play to really help children to piece together how things work.
Here is a video of them in action!
We’ve also made a vibrating table using the equipment.
Creative messy play toddler classes for babies, toddlers and preschoolers in Cheltenham.

Drain Pipe Slide

There is just something great about this activity. It never gets old! Children simply love washing objects down a tube. We have a full drain pipe and a half pipe.

Washing people down the shoot is great fun but also improves co-ordination, links cause and effect and involves gravity and friction.



So what have we washed down our water spout? Spiders (of course), ice cubes, wooden beads, cut drinking straws, play people, chop tinsel, rubber ducks, boats, sea creatures and plastic fruit and veg…so far!
If you’ve not got one I recommend a trip to your local DIY shop. We got our half pipe for around a fiver!

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