5 Favourite Home Made Toys
GUEST BLOGGER: By way of brief introduction I am a North Brisbane mum of one, 18 month old ‘Geekling’. I work full time and try to cram as much fun and learning into evenings and weekends as possible. Many of our activities are inspired by the Montessori method and use items we already have around the house or are very inexpensive. I run my own blog http://homemademumma.blogspot.com/ which is features our activities and adventures as well as lots of bad camera phone photos.
To kick off my first blog post at Brisbane Kids I thought I’d run through my five of my favouritehome made toys
We started off playing peek-a-boo with them and waving them around to watch them flutter in the air. Before I know it they will be used for teaching tying of knots and braiding and all kinds of imaginary play I am sure. We dyed our own playsilks with kool-aid or food colouring but you can buy them pre-dyed online. Here is our (wrinkled) rainbow:
I use a ‘no-cook’ recipe (below) but you can always follow the recipe on the back of the Cream of Tartar packet. You can scale the recipe up and then divide and colour, but I prefer to add the food colouring to the water for a really nice, even colour.
1 cup of plain flour
1/2 cup of salt
2 tablespoons of ‘cream of tartar’
1 tablespoons of cooking oil
1 cup of boiling water
extras such as fine glitter, flavouring essences or essential oils
Simply add all ingredients to a bowl and mix! When it starts coming together put it on the bench and knead until smooth. I love to theme ours to seasons, holidays, books we’ve read or other activities we’ve done recently. Themed dough makes a great gift packaged with a couple of similarly themed cookie cutters.
3. Water beads
These things are often sold as decorative fillers for fake flowers and are made of non-toxic polymer gel. They start off the size of tiny seeds but over about 8 hours absorb huge amounts of water to wind up the size or large marbles with a jelly-like texture and a lot of bounce. They are a fabulous sensory experience – we have a big tub in our bathroom and I’ve often caught my husband or houseguests sticking their hands in!
Geekling loves to play with them!
We often throw some in the bath and give him a sieve, a slotted spoon and a cup to try to catch them.They last for ages – simply immerse in water to fatten them up if they begin to shrink.
4. Sensory tubs
My sensory tubs are usually based on a cheap main texture like sand, water, pasta, rice or dried legumes, clean fish tank gravel, shredded paper, and then added to with ‘theme ingredients’ such as small toys or figurines, pom poms, feathers, ribbons, and finished with handling implements such as scoops and tongs. You would be amazed how long even a very young child will explore these tubs!
A safety note – I will always supervise Geekling when he is exploring a tub containing any chocking hazards but if I need to keep him entertained while I am busy I am happy to let him play nearby, scooping and pouring rice, pasta, sand or other safe substances.
5. Calendar puzzles
Each year around February or so you will find book stores and newsagents discounting their current-year calendars, or you can often find them for around $2 at discount stores year-round. Simply separate the pages and either glue two images back to back or glue one image to some complimenting or contrasting cardboard, then cut into as many pieces as your little one can handle. Geekling is only doing two-piece puzzles, but we’ll soon move on to three-piece and four-pieces.