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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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!

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

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!


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

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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Teddy Bear Printing Art Activity

I was so inspired when I saw this photo.

I had to try it with the kids! We had plenty of small teddies and lots of washable paint. So we dived straight in! Some of the bears needed a little stuffing removed from their noses to make good prints. We made ink pads from takeaway containers and sponges. Which is a great idea because you can just pop the lid on until next time!



We liked it so much, we took it a long to our workshops!





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

Toddler Art – Dough paint and Artist’s Trowels

I wondered what they would make of this and I liked the idea of giving them an authentic experience. Oil paint would have proved pricey but dough paint proved a super substitute.


Dough paint is just flour, water and poster paint. You can make it as thick as you like. We popped it down on some mirror card with some artists trowels and off they went!


They explored spreading and mark making using the tip and sides of the trowel.
Then they just got nice and messy!



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

Lid Soup Water Play

This is really easy and lots of fun for toddlers! Water, food colouring, assorted plastic lids, kitchen utensils and other random ingredients such as chopped wool and buttons!

Amazing how something so simple can be so engaging! Water play is always a winner.


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

Blue Sensory Discovery Box

All things blue! The medium in the box is a mixture of rice and salt. I used a small amount of paint to colour it blue. Then I decided to add lots interesting items in different shades of blue. The result is a rather beautiful and intriguing discovery box.

Perfect for little fingers to practice their fine motor skills picking out little jewels. As well as examining and talking about all the little treasures we find, they also love sorting the objects.



The glass beads were the most popular items. The toddlers loved hunting through the rice for them!


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

Rice Play Tumble Wall


In this weeks workshops we’ve used an old bit of hard board from the garage for this activity. We drilled a few quick random holes and attached a variety of containers using paper fasteners! We taped the paper fasteners down at the back to add more strength.

We chose open ended containers, closed ended ones and ones with holes in. This varied the exit method of the rice. Closed containers can be swivelled to empty them and all of the container’s angles can easily be changed by the children.

Don’t underestimate this activity! Toddlers find it really engaging! They immediately set about scooping and pouring. The sound the rice makes as it exits the containers is like a rainmaker.


Best done on a mat so spilt rice can easily tipped back in! The first time we did it I didn’t use a mat and had to hoover the lawn!

Happy Scooping!


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