Play Activities

Fairy Play dough Fun – Fairy and Elf Activities #9 for Boys and Girls

Have you tried fairy playdough? It’s simple and fun with just two ingredients: cornstarch and conditioner. Big Brother played with it all afternoon.fairy playdough

Mom Kate at shared the recipe. In a bowl, mix 1 cup of inexpensive hair conditioner and 2½ cups of cornstarch. These are approximate measures and you may need to add a little more conditioner if it’s too powdery or a little more cornstarch if it’s too sticky. At first, it seems as if the two things will never mix to make a dough but keep stirring. Once it started to clump together, it was much easier to knead it smooth.fairy playdough

Big Brother wanted a lump right away. He wasn’t really interested in rolling, smooshing, or making a snake. He squeezed a bunch into a sort of ball, made another one, and then more. He ended up with quite a line of balls and because there was less of the play dough left, the balls got smaller and smaller. In the craft drawer, there was an assortment of sequins. He choose a sequin and carefully placed it on top of each ball. Then he talked about what he had done and named each shape.fairy playdough

When I asked if he would like to mix all the balls and shapes together, he said no and instead chose to poke the sequin into some of the balls and bury them. We took a break to give Baby Brother a snack. The playdough dried and was a little powdery when he came back it. Since it needed a bit more conditioner, we took the sequins off and mixed in only a couple of drops. This time, Big Brother made it all into one big lump and hid some fairy rocks underneath and inside. The fairy rocks were flat, glass marbles. He called it his fairy rock hideout and like to flip it over to show the rocks. fairy playdough

Two friends came over to play. Now, there were three boys playing with the fairy rocks and fairy playdough. They brought some pipe cleaners we used too. We decided to try a few drops of food coloring to see how that worked. Red was the choice.fairy playdough

Red added to white makes pink, but Big Brother said red and pink were his favorite colors. All three boys happily played with the pink fairy playdough until Little Brother woke up from his nap and we went outside. Our hands were sure soft from the conditioner. Good thing, because the next activity was digging in the dirt for more hands-on fun. Does your child enjoy playdough play?fairy playdough

Come back again tomorrow for another fairy play-of-the-day.


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. One of the favorite children’s picture books at … Continue reading Fairy and Elf Activities #1 for Boys and Girls: Fairy Pretend Play

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