Play Activities

Shovel Dirt Fairy Rocks Fun – Fairy & Elf Activities #7 for Boys & Girls

For a magical play formula we discovered a new one: shovel dirt fairy rocks fun. Big Brother loved it. For fairy rocks, we used small flat glass marbles. The dirt was in a big flower bed and the shovel shared the play with a few diggers and dump trucks.fairy rocks dirt play

The glass marbles are shiny and sparkly, sort of like fairy dust. They can be found very inexpensively in craft and dollar stores but other small items can be used too. These are about the size of a hard candy so make sure kids are past the stage of putting things in their mouth. We made sure Baby Brother couldn’t get them by only playing with them outside. We put them in the dirt in the planter and one of the toy vehicles covered them up. Then, Big Brother used the digger or a shovel to find them.elf fairy rocks dirt play

I thought the white fairy rocks would be easier to see against the dirt, but they are more clear than white so they just blended in. They were almost impossible to find in the dirt. The green ones were more visible but it’s surprising how far away they can get from where they are initially buried. Big Brother buried and dug them for the longest time. Each time he would announce, “I find it. I got the fairy rock.” Then, he would do it again. Only once did a fairy rock disappear and need to be replaced with another. At some point, it will turn up because this is one of his favorite places to play.

elf fairy rocks dirt play

Kids engage in all sorts of repetitive play. One reason is because they are exploring cause and effect. We know what the most likely outcome will be because of the number of times we have experienced something. Kids are just building this data base of experience.

elf fairy rocks dirt play

This shovel dirt fairy rocks fun was a great child-directed play activity. Are there some items your child can use to bury, dig, and find in the dirt?

Fly on in tomorrow for some more fairy and elf activities on the blog.


Block and Construction Play on Frank Lloyd Wright’s Anniversary

It’s easy to think of a play-of-the-day today, the 150th anniversary of Frank Lloyd Wright’s birthday – some block and construction play. We still admire his buildings in various cities across the continent. His reputation and teachings are admired internationally as one of the greatest architects. Does this photo of Frank Lloyd Wright’s lamp remind you of wooden blocks?block and construction play Frank Lloyd Wright

Blocks and other construction toys are a way children can engage in building and creating.  Both boys and girls enjoy playing with these materials and will do so from the time they are babies, to teenagers and beyond. Need a substute for a fidget spinner? Put  out a bowl of Lego and keep hands, and more importantly, minds busy too.

The notes below are from an earlier post on block and construction ply  with ideas to try:

There’s a wonderful variety of construction toys using plastic, like Lego and Lasy; wood as in blocks; metal, both new and vintage; and even sturdy paper and cardboard. Some construction sets are specialized for machines, race car tracks, trains, houses, marble runs, creatures, and robots. Just as varied are the kinds of fun and learning. When kids play with these toys they are:

  • developing kindergarten readinessmanipulating, connecting, stacking, balancing, etc. This strengthens the small muscles in hands and fingers and gives children the opportunity to develop eye-hand coordination.
  • visualizing, that is making pictures in the mind. As an adult, have you ever had to look at an object and then had to choose from 3 or 4 pictures what it would look like from the other side? This is quite a challenge and this skill develops from lots of experiences and play.
  • exploring space and measuring. Blocks of some sizes might fit in a space but some will be too big or too small.
  • developing kindergarten readinesscounting and making groups, matching sizes and shapes. These are early math skills.
  • creating and imagining. These are powerful skills, at the very heart of innovation, that begin when kids play.
  • solving-problems, organizing and planning. We often consider these as “work” skills but, to kids, they are fun and part of play.

developing kindergarten readinessWhen children play with these toys together, they practice negotiating, cooperating and other social skills. Kids are using language to express themselves, explain, and ask questions. Both boys AND girls enjoy playing with these toys!! Ordinary household items, like sponges and plastic food containers, can be construction toys. Check the recycling.

Wood scraps are not as common as they used to be, but they are another item kids enjoy for block and construction play. Architecture may not be the future path for your child, but building creating are important as life-skills and play outlets for adults. Are they part of yours?

Fairy and Elf Activities #1 for Boys and Girls: Fairy Pretend Play

Today’s play-of-the-day is fairy pretend play. The expression, ‘away with the fairies’ means to be day-dreaming or in another world, like pretend play. When children are engaging in imaginative play, they are creating that other world in their mind and sometimes even building it with their toys.fairy pretend play

One of the favorite children’s picture books at our house is The Wishing of Bibby Malone by Joy Cowley. A young girl, misunderstood in her family, spends time dancing and singing with the fairies or little people. And wishing. Her family insists she was away two months. After many years of practice and hard work, Biddy’s wishes to be able to sing and dance do come true. Was this because of the fairies or herself?

During pretend play, we see children playing but, like Biddy Malone, they are working hard. Their brains are organizing information, sorting through what children know from their experiences, and linking it to make new combinations. The connections are happening on more than a brain level, as they move their bodies to respond to their thoughts and find the depths of their emotions in their hearts.fairy pretend play

Fairy pretend play doesn’t need much in terms of props. There are many colorful costumes available for girls, and a few for boys, but kids may also put together their own. A simple dress-up for girls is a tutu, but boys’ costumes are often what we think of as gnomes, leprechauns, forest creatures, elves or Peter Pan. This may have more to do with what’s available to them rather than their gender. Fortunately, magical powers, wands, and flying wings are acceptable for both boys and girls.

As an adult, have you ever been advised to “act as if?” That’s a way of tapping into the power of the imagination to achieve a goal. During childhood, we need to encourage pretend play so children can develop their imaginations. “Imagination makes it possible to experience a whole world inside the mind.” (Success Consciousness: The Power of Imagination)

How will imaginative play be part of your child’s day?

You can come ‘away with the fairies’ and play each day on the 123kindergarten blog.

Mayhem and Messy Play: Is Messy Play Worth It?

Is messy play worth it? Although it takes considerable effort on our part, the play and learning of messy play contributes to children’s development. Recently, I saw this wonderful photo, “When Your Child Comes Home Messy.” ( Thank you, Tosh Tipler and Theresa McMillan.)It inspired another one, and today’s blog, “When Your Child Makes A … Continue reading Mayhem and Messy Play: Is Messy Play Worth It?

Mayhem and Messy Play #18: Messy Craft Play with Kids

Whenever we do crafts it is always messy craft play. Just getting the materials and covering the work area means it messy before we even start. But it certainly engages the kids and is worth the effort. (Unless it involves glitter. Glitter is questionable.) Craft play can’t help being messy. Materials can include glue, scissors, … Continue reading Mayhem and Messy Play #18: Messy Craft Play with Kids

Mayhem and Messy Play #17: Messy Play with Rocks

Thankfully, most messy play with rocks happens outside so we don’t worry; Mother Nature takes care of the mess as she invites kids to play and learn. There are two activities that kids love to do over and over with rocks. One of them is to throw rocks, especially in water, be it a puddle, … Continue reading Mayhem and Messy Play #17: Messy Play with Rocks

Mayhem and Messy Play #15: Play Dough Messy Play

Play dough messy play can be more or less messy depending on your recipe and any extra stuff. Whatever it is, the play includes fun and learning. Play dough has unlimited possibilities. Kids of all ages enjoy playing with it. The activity engages the senses and, at the same time, stimulates the imagination. Highly coordinated … Continue reading Mayhem and Messy Play #15: Play Dough Messy Play

Mayhem and Messy Play #14: Blowing Bubbles Messy Play Activities

No, blowing bubbles messy play activities is not a contradiction; kids can make a mess and get dirty doing anything including play with soap and water. Besides the soap and water, there are a few more items in these messy play activities. Bubble solutions are available at dollar and toy stores, but you can also … Continue reading Mayhem and Messy Play #14: Blowing Bubbles Messy Play Activities

Mayhem and Messy Play #11: Dress-up Messy Play

Dress-up messy play is usually considered imaginative or pretend play, but it can make quite a mess with dress-up props strewn about and made-up faces. Labels do no matter. Whatever it is, the play is coming from within, as kids explore and create. Kids will dress-up in practically anything, not just old clothes. A tickle … Continue reading Mayhem and Messy Play #11: Dress-up Messy Play

Mayhem and Messy Play #9: Let Kids Have a Kitchen Drawer

The kitchen floor doesn’t need to be covered with toys, instead it can be covered with containers, pans, and tools when we let kids have a kitchen drawer. At least, when it comes from the drawer it’s easier to scoop up and drop back in when it’s time to tidy up. A low kitchen drawer … Continue reading Mayhem and Messy Play #9: Let Kids Have a Kitchen Drawer