Monday, June 24, 2013

Everyday Play


When the weather gets bleak and your tots venture outdoors less regularly, it can become quite a task to keep the days interesting without reverting to activities which eat into your purse; playcentres, shopping centres, movies, cafes... I'm talking to y'all! So to spread some thrifty fun, here are a few things we did last week to keep cabin fever at bay.

This ever-reliable failsafe is one of my all-time favourite things to keep on hand. Here, I laid out the playdough in a few colours with odds and sods from their play kitchen, and just let them have at it. Easy, cheap, and did I mention easy? Lots of fun for little hands too.

Up the ante by adding some food flavourings to change the smell (rosewater essence and vanilla essence are faves in our home), adding a generous handful of glitter to the dough, or some herbs and spices. Change the utensils on offer too! Rolling pins and cookie cutters are great standby's but think beyond the traditional playdough toys. Use figurines or animal toys to make imprints, pillage your kitchen to find some ice cube trays, colanders, old spice jars, etc. Offcuts of fabric and ribbon, matchsticks, plastic jewels and googly eyes are exciting options too.

I don't know about your kids, but mine LOVE bathtime. One of my favorite ways to 'treat' them, is to do something special for their baths. We have had 'Bathe Your Baby' bathtimes where their dolls got a wash with shaving cream and facewashers; drawing with bath crayons; a Gelli Baff for Ava's birthday - highly recommended but expensive as one packet (and thus, one bath) costs around $8; and most recently, a Noah's Ark bath, with all the animals lined up around the tub waiting to board the Ark.


Fashion Parade
My son is only four months old, so I do not know if boys will be interested in this - but girls certainly are! I had sorted the clean washing into piles and the girls decided that raiding their clean clothes piles was a great idea. Oy. So I helped them dress into their chosen clothing items, they grabbed some accessories, we turned up the tunes and had an impromptu fashion parade around the table.

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This is what happens when your daughters have watched "Barbie: A Fashion Fairytale". I think they changed outfits four or five times each, and I just let them stay in their last set of clothes. They were chuffed!

Anyone who has spent time with Ava knows that she is a high-energy, high-intensity, sensory-seeking little girl. My cousin is an Occupational Therapist (shout out to Alisha!) and she made a number of very helpful suggestions for helping Ava find some 'down time', one of which was to cocoon her in a sheet and have hubby and I swing her from side to side. However, when hubby gets home from work there is barely an hour in which to have dinner, bathe the kids and put all three to bed; and the swing gets forgotten. Necessity is the mother of invention, so they say, and I came up with a hands-free hammock so that Ava can still have her swing without two adults needing to be present. Ready? Drumroll please.... Tie a bedsheet around the dining table! That's it. Seriously. How easy is that?  


I use a fitted Queen size sheet, knot it well at the top of my dining table, allowing the sheet to hang slack underneath the table. She pops in there with a blanket and a book and I swing her gently. I love that she's only about two inches off the floor, so if the knot somehow pulls free she'll only have a gentle bump to the floor.

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