Mellow Mummy : Taking life as it comes...

Saturday, 23 April 2016

Summery Sand Art Ideas

We're loving the spring sunshine, getting in the mood for warmer weekends over the summer and so the girls have enjoyed doing some summery-themed craft activities together.  Sand art is one of the craft activities that both girls enjoy doing together.  Lara has now learned how to avoid getting sand EVERYWHERE but Holly on the other hand... sigh...needs a lot of assistance.  It is very easy to turn your floor into a sandpit if you let the kids play with coloured sand unattended!



This month Yellow Moon sent us some summer themed sand art picture cards and a selection of their neon coloured sand which has a great number of uses.

Sand-art pictures are sticky cards with a picture stamped into it.  When you peel away part of the coating you reveal the sticky behind and you can pour on sand that will stick to that part of the picture only.  Pour away the remainder (the bottles of sand come with a handy little funnel to make it easy to get the sand back into the bottle) and then move on to the next colour.



Lara has really got the hang of this and has enjoyed meticulously filling in these seaside pictures with lots of brightly coloured sand.  Holly has joined in and is learning the skill but often forgets to pour the excess sand away after use so we have built up rather a collection of generic "rainbow coloured" sand for use in other activities.

Another way of really showing of coloured sand is to fill up little decorative bottles with layers of different colours.  Lara and Holly actually sat and planned the arrangement of colours they wanted to use for these bears (planning doesn't normally feature highly in Holly's skillset).  Once the bears were full the girls chose to use them as ornaments to decorate their new rainbow-themed bedroom.



All of these sand art activities for children can be found for sale at Yellow Moon - the biggest kids craft store you can think of!  Don't forget that you can earn between 5% and 20% cashback for your school on most Yellow Moon purchases.

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Leapfrog Imagicard Letter Factory Adventures

Both Lara and Holly are really enjoying using the Leapfrog Epic at present.  They use it a lot more than they have done any previous incarnation of the Leapfrog kids tablet and I think this has a lot to do with the speed and responsiveness as well as the wider range of games/apps on it.  Our recent discover is the Leapfrog Imagicard games which are interactive card games that come to life when you use your Leappad or Leapfrog epic to take a picture of the card to unlock fun educational games and activities.



Letter Factory Adventures is a Leapfrog Imagicard game suitable for children from 4 to 7 years and I can confirm that both Lara (nearly 7) and Holly (nearly 4) are playing it, enjoying it and gaining from it.  The game features cards with the recognisable Leapfrog characters posing with different letters of the alphabet.  Different cards unlock different games related to the letter sound.

For Holly, the spelling pirate game is perfectly pitched - change the letters to make new words while keeping the primary vowel sounds the same.  This is a great way of learning that the vowel letters make a consistent sound even in different words.  Even just seeing these first words on the screen is great practice for her to see and recognise how familiar words are written.




I've enjoyed sitting with her playing rhyming games - I need to read and help direct her on occasions but it is fun to listen and identify matching sounds, or to match the letter on the card to letters on the screen.

Lara, being a clever bean, quickly worked out that she didn't actually need the cards to be able to play most of the games in Letter Factory Adventures.  Lara has spent quite some time playing this game which is interesting because I wouldn't have said she necessarily needed to practice her spelling, vocabulary or basic vowel sounds but there is obviously something there that brings her back to play.  There are little games and videos and so many different things to do in this game.  I think Lara enjoys the challenge of trying to get all the answers to puzzles right, first time, within a time limit so even though the puzzles themselves seem easy to her, there is further skill needed!



The Letter Factory Adventures Imagicards come in a metal presentation case.

  

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Casdon Woodplay Wooden Toy Kitchen Review

We love playing with wooden toys - there is something enjoyable about the simplicity of chunky wooden toys that appeals to both Lara and Holly.  This fun wooden play kitchen from the Casdon Woodplay range is a brilliant idea for take-and-play role-play fun on the move.


The entire kitchen, and all of the accessories fold away inside their cute bamboo carry box.  The door of the oven opens easily with an elastic clip and into it you can place your pans, or your pizza to cook... and when you are done playing you can pack everything, including the shelf, into the oven, close the door and carry the toy with you.  This makes it perfect as a toy for taking on holiday, or to friends and family when you need to make sure you have a little something to keep your small people entertained.


There are lots of paintings around the outside of the kitchen with cupboards and shelves drawn on. On top there is a hob which you can place your pan and eggs to cook. The set comes with utensils including a pepper pot.  Lara in particular has enjoyed using the Kitchen boxset with her dolls as it is compact enough that they too can play kitchens!



One of the most nifty things about this boxset play set is the little elastic clip - it is so easy to open and close and so the girls don't need help with it and yet it stays very well closed.  The door hinge is a bit delicate though and Holly does have a habit of pulling the whole door off (thankfully its easy to put back into place).

The Casdon woodplay kitchen is made from bamboo (sustainably sourced) so it is surprisingly light.  For such a small toy, it has an awful lot of play potential and I just know we will take it with us on our travels.  There are no noises, no twirly bits, no taps, no rotating stuff... just simply imaginative play which are always the most natural, and fun times that my two girls have together.

  
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