Autumn Art – Not Craft!

Autumn Art – Not Craft!

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“Step back helicopter parents!”

This time of year the web is stuffed with Autumn Crafts for small children.  As we all know attempting craft with any toddler is a bit painful and you end up doing nearly all of  it yourself.  Lets not forget about Art for Art’s sake.  The exploration of colour, texture and mark making.  Freedom to express without pressure.

Such activities are open ended and the final product is of less importance than the experience of doing.  Step back helicopter parents!  Bite your lips, refrain from interfering, sit back and watch you toddler’s brain grow.


Here the hard work is in the preparing and the clean up!  Pick somewhere that you are not precious about (the garden perhaps) and set aside some time for clean up.  Some forward planning will pay off.   Have your clean up gear ready so that messy hands don’t get everywhere on the way to the bathroom!

Don’t be trapped into supplying paint brushes and paper every time.  We mixed it up  a bit by supplying a spray bottle of paint and a roller.  Pick some seasonal interesting items close to hand.  We’ve collect feathers, rocks and some leaves from the garden and some Autumn colours of paint.

As the work progresses and my little artist is fully engrossed in the activity, making choices for herself and experimenting.  I thoroughly enjoyed watching her and no tantrums or power struggles in sight. Joy!

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Bug and Grit Discovery Boxes

Bug and Grit Discovery Boxes

If you are looking for some inspiration for discovery boxes for your toddlers here are a couple you might like to try.


This box contains coloured grit for flower arranging which I picked up cheaply from Dunelm Mill. It’s great for mark making and scooping for fine motor skills. I added strips of coloured paper on the clear bottom of the box to give a rainbow effect. Hidden in the grit are buttons to discover and count. Tots can place them in the plastic treasure cups using large tweezers and tongs. I also added discovery balloons containing play dough, rice, sand and chick peas to compare.


Next is a Mung Bean Bug Box!

Great for sieving, pouring and scooping. I added plastic bugs and a few real ones in resin from Tiger UK
For just £1 each. I added magnifying lenses and tweezers and a mirror card bottom. Plenty to discover and talk about!


Simple Reflections Kaleidoscope Discovery Box

Simple Reflections Kaleidoscope Discovery Box

This is a nice activity best for a quiet moment or rainy day with your toddler. It’s cheap a easy to make! We’ve lined thick cardboard rectangles with mirror card and taped them into two and three panelled mirrors. We lined the box with highly patterned wrapping paper. Next we added plastic lenses from our local scrap store, some kaleidoscopes and small toys. Let the experimenting begin!




Peg People- Angels / Fairies Play Box

I loved making these peg people angels / fairies out of scrap and felt. I also loved watching the children play with them.


They are very simple to make! Cut out a dress shape in felt or scrap fabric. Tie on using wool or ribbon crossing over the chest and knot at the back, where you can knot some scrap organza or ribbon as wings. The idea is to use no glue. Finally draw on your face and hair.
Next I made a fairy garden play box for them, using sand as the main medium.


They are super little sensory toys and with all the places to peg them in the box, they are a great fine motor skill activity too!




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Seasonal Smelly Rice Sensory Box

There is plenty to enjoy in this activity box. We coloured the rice using food colouring and added lots so seasonal treasures we’ve found on our walks, such as acorns, conkers, pine cones, and sticks. Next I raided the kitchen cupboards for some walnuts, cloves, star anise and cinnamon sticks. We added some cloves to a couple of oranges (great fine motor skills activity) in a christingle style.



The result is a superb smelling, heuristic, sensory box to stimulate the senses
. With the addition of tweezers and scoops it is great for fine motor skills! Super for engaging curious little minds.




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Coconut Cloud Dough

I was inspired by Triple T Mom to whip up some Coconut Cloud Dough for one of our Tiny Adventure Workshop activities last week! It’s so simple and needs only two ingredients- flour and coconut oil! Actually coconut oil is a bit pricey, so I used veg oil and a bit of coconut body balm I had sat around on a shelf. The result was a beautiful smelling, moldable sand. We chucked in a coconut as a prop.


It was a lovely sensory activity. We had great fun shaking the coconut to hear the liquid inside!



Thanks Triple T Mum!

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Sticky Fabric Toddler Activity

This week we adapted our sticky wall activity slightly to enable us to make a fabric collage. We used sticky back plastic (the kind you use to cover books) and a bit of masking tape to produce a sticky table. I’ve been collecting scraps of material for ages without much idea of what to do with them. Turns out they are perfect for this. It’s great because we can keep moving the fabric around and peal them off when we are done.



If the plastic hasn’t lost too much sticky you put the wax paper backing back on and save it for another day. We saved ours and put it up o the window the next day to carry the activity on.




Happy sticking!

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Autumn Heuristic Sensory Discovery Box

Before you use your birdseed to make winter bird feeders with your toddlers, why not use it as a base for an Autumn sensory box? We added lots natural materials for the little ones to examine and some toy bugs. The different seed sizes are great for improving fine motor skills with tweezers and tongs.




We selected some treasures from the box to use for dough play!

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Spooky Slime Wall Toddler Activity Box

Cheap and Easy Slime activity wall and box! Perfect for Halloween! We converted the lid of one of our plastic storage boxes in to a slime wall! We drilled holes and cable tied funnels, sieves and tubes to pour our slime in to. We stabilised our lid to the box by using some toy nuts and bolts, so each time we are done we undo the bolts and just put the lid on. Easy!


What is the slime? The supermarket own brand shampoo or conditioner with some food colouring. This is about 40p an litre! Perfect! Add in some spooky spiders and skulls for a Halloween feel and you are away!


The top half of a milk carton makes a great scoop! This was dead popular. So far we’ve rolled it out for three workshops and my 2yr old’s birthday party. Totally worth the effort!


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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!

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