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.

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

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Magnet play Age 1-3 STEM Activity

Magnet Play!

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We moved magnetic items around our mirror board using magnets underneath. If your fridge magnets are a bit small put them in a child’s sock and knot the end. It’s lots of fun. Theirs also lots of fun to be had picking up the magnetic items and pushing the magnets together to feel them attract and repel.
Next we suspended paper clips in mid-air using magnetic attraction. The paper clips were tethered to a crate with cotton. This is super for practicing gross motor skills. The paper clips follow the magnet as it is moved and drop down when the distance between them and the magnet is increased. It took my three year old a few goes before he could hold the magnet steady, suspending the paper clip. My Two year old got lots of joy out of just picking up the paper clips!

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His efforts payed off! “Look mummy, it’s not touching!”

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

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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.

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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.

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So what do you do with them? Well….

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

Giant Cotton Reel Racer: STEM Activity

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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.

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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!

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

Decorating Twig Trees

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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!

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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.

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Rice Play Tumble Wall

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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.

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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!

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

Fairy Mud

Messy play but clean! We are making fairy mud pies at Tiny Adventure this week using a ‘clean mud’ recipe. Grated bars of soap, sparkles, lots of cheap toilet roll, water and a lot of squishing produces a lovely clean soapy mud. See Alphabet Mud for more details.

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The children also likened it to ice cream! It keeps pretty well too. It may need a bit of water adding to bring it back to life. I expect it would dry in shape too, but I haven’t tried It. Let me know if you have!

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

Rice Sensory Play Box

Tiny Adventurers recalled their favourite characters and rhymes from In the Night Garden with our Igglepiggle Rice Sensory Play Box.

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We coloured the rice green with a little food colouring and added large brightly coloured buttons hidden in the rice. They quickly set about scooping, raking and digging about in it to see what was there.

Next thing you know, it’s raining rice! Isn’t that a pip!

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