The Benefits of Small world play - Penguins in Ice and Snow

Dimples adores Penguins. He has gone through many phases with favourite toys and animals but Penguins have always remained a favourite and he loves all the Happy Feet Movies.
After Christmas was over we still had a batch of the fake Snow to play with so I threw together this Small World Sensory tub for him.

Small world play is an easy and cheap way for children to play.
You can use anything really; recycled materials, natural materials, bits and bobs that are laying around or a theme of small toys mixed with other materials. Anything that can represent the real world and that can aide in independent play.

With the Happy Feet Small World Sensory Tub Dimples played with Fake Snow, Water Beads, Real Crushed Ice & Ice cubes, Styrofoam pieces to represent ice capsules, his penguin figures, some small plastic seal animals & sea creatures and some rocks.

He played independently for a long time making up stories about his penguins.
The Ice cubes were used as stepping stones through the melted snow.
The sticks and rocks were used to build planks across melted snow.
The Styrofoam was used as ice capsules, or land for the creatures. Dimples made them "float" through the melting snow and made capsules collide together. Some of the baby penguins got stranded on the ice, crying for their dad.
Then there was a blizzard so Dimples made a cave for all the animals to be safe in.

Benefits of Small World Play:

  • Builds on Imagination
  • Encourages independent Play
  • Sensory and tactile stimulation
  • Develops story telling skills
  • Encourages role-play where the child can re-enact real life scenarios or familiar experiences.
  • Abstract thinking; cognition related to logic and reason as the child makes up real life scenarios and solves 'problems' in their play 
  • Promotes creative thinking

Other Small world ideas we have done are:

Penguin Sensory Play

2 Ocean boxes for small world play

Echidna craft: Imaginary Australian Play

D is for digging.

Small World Sand dough Beach Play & Sea creatures

Magical Gnome garden
Happy Adventures into the New Year

Reindeer Run-Way Sparkle Dust

3 Sleeps til Christmas and the Magical Elf Buddy left Dimples something very special because he has been such a good little boy - Magical Reindeer Runway Sparkle for Christmas Eve.
The magical Dust was made from layered oats, green glitter, salt, red glitter, pink ground chalk, oats, small star sequins, sprinkles and cake decorative silver balls.

 There was a little note that read along the lines of
"Sprinkle this Reindeer Dust on Christmas Eve so Santa's Reindeer can see the sparkly trail and know where it is safe to land. You don't want them to miss your house! Remember to leave some carrot out for them and some Milk and cookies for Santa"
The Magical Reindeer Dust was left for Dimples in a hide away that Buddy the Elf had built through the night. An Elf Fort!  Inside was a little camp fire with battery operated tea lights, a small Elf bed, a small Elf door mat and the jar with a little note.

For more Elf Adventures check out: Elf Adventures & Elf Adventures Take 2

Merry Christmas

Magic Elf Adventures - Take 2

Dimples woke one morning to see Buddy swinging on a candy can swing from the ceiling fan.

Another night Buddy left Dimples some Magical Snow Powder (desicated coconut, glitter and sprinkles) and some magical beans, there was a note telling him to plant the seeds in the magical snow powder and water them before bed.
They grew the next morning into Christmas Lollipops. Magic!!

Lots of Mischief: Buddy made a sled for the reindeer and had been pushing toilet paper down the stairs.
Then it looked like he had been watching Christmas Movies all night & eating popcorn.
He decorated the tree with toilet paper and was found in the tree
What a messy elf!

Dimples woke one morning to find a recipe pinned in the kitchen, lots of ingredients and cooking mess on the bench
Buddy wanted some ginger bread cookies by the looks of things so Dimples the Mini Master Chef got cooking
Here is the Post & Our recipe: Child Led Baking & Decorating

The door way Trap. Through the night Buddy wrapped up Dimples Door way with Christmas paper to trap him in.
Magic Elf's get bored when they are not with their friends.
Our Elf has made a friend, and decided to wrap him up as well.

Sick Night: Poor Buddy came down with the flu and took up rest in the tissue box.
Buddy made a camp out fort through the night & left Dimples a special treat.
Christmas is 3 sleeps away so he left some Reindeer sparkle Dust

Happy Elf Adventures

If you missed our first Elf Adventures Post click HERE to see the fun.
and I hope you have a great Christmas.

The Melted Snow Man - Christmas Sensory Play

Cold Squishy Melted Snow for some Messy Sensory Play before Christmas arrives.

The snowman that Dimples Magic Elf Buddy bought back had Melted by the morning.
I grabbed some of this fake snow from the bargain shop. It is the same sort of thing that water beads are made from, it expands to hold 100 times it weight when added to water.
It is pretty cool stuff. Dimples Magic Elf left him a bowl of it to play with one morning along with a melted snow man.
The fake snow is squishy, slimy, shivery cold, has a wet texture but isn't really messy all the things we love about sensory play. I added some glitter and small star sequins to give it a Christmas vibe.

Plastic Candy Cane, Christmas Baubles, Glitter, Fake Snow and a Gold star gave the sensory bowl a real Christmas feel.  There were a few cups for Dimples to scoop around with and the snow mans essentials; buttons, a nose, bead eyes and pipe cleaner arms.

Invitation to Play
 It wasn't long before Dimples imagination led him to mix up some pretend Snow drinks.
They looked beautiful and sparkly, like Christmas Slushy Cocktails.
He made a few batches, bringing them to me to "taste"
He mixed in some more glitter and used the candy canes as stirrers.

The star worked well in the snowy sludge. Dimples explored it and scooped the snow up, pouring it over the top so he could watch the snow ooze through. Snowy large chunks would get stuck so he gently tapped it. He enjoyed making melted Snow men in the cups and then pouring them over the star

If you want to see our Magic Elf Adventures check him out HERE

Merry Christmas

Elf on the Shelf Adventures

Buddy 2012 - Our Elf on the Shelf arrived at the door in his box along with the book.
It wasn't long before he had set up watch on the Reindeer.
and then came the mischief
Buddy played with Dimples cars all night by the looks of things.
He left a little note thanking Dimples for letting him use his cars
Buddy also drew funny faces over Mum & Dad. Giving them red noses.
Dimples thought this was hilarious and grabbed his little camera to take some pictures of his naughty Elf.

Buddy called a Christmas meeting through the night with Fellow Christmas figures around their own tree.
There is little Elf foot prints coming from the fire place, he must of made these when he returned from visiting Santa.
 Buddy is sitting on the table with a Christmas count down

Dimples was definitely excited that he had a magical Elf visiting until Christmas.

One night Buddy decorated a Santa cookie and turned our Milk Green.
He made quite a mess and had crumbs over his face
but he was nice enough to leave a fresh cookie and some icing so Dimples could decorate one to

Buddy left Dimples some craft, a collage of a tree.
You must have used every one of the scissors.

Whoops Buddy forgot to shut the fire Place door again when he returned from reporting to Santa that night.

Buddy the Elf likes Green.
He raided the drawing box one night and found all the green texters.
He drew some Christmas pictures from Dimples

ZOO. Dimples awoke to find that his table had been turned into an Animal cage.
Buddy had used all the sticky tape to contain Dimples stuffed toys.
There was a do not touch sign on the sticky tape so buddy had electrified it to contain the animals through the night.

And he had drawn a picture of them
Dimples woke up one morning to see Buddy fishing in the fish tank.

He had been drawing fish and looking up Rex Hunt by the looks of things and then decided to go for a fish himself.

Dimples was extra good one day so Buddy left him a special treat...
Fake Snow Sensory Play.
He had bought Dimples back a snow man from the north pole but he melted through the night.
To see the POST on this Activity click HERE

Buddy found a Elf friend and has enrolled him into the mischief making.
Here he is having a ride on the reindeer.
This was a beautiful handmade gift from a fellow Australian Kid Blogger Network Member.
Stay tuned for Elf Adventures 2:  Click here to see the fun

Child-led Baking & Decorating - Easy Christmas Gingermen recipe

For the Silly Season we have a Magic Elf visiting, sent directly from Santa himself.
One night he raided the pantry and pulled out some ingredients. There was a lovely recipe waiting for Dimples when he woke up and all the things he would need to make some Yummy Ginger Bread Men Cookies. He wanted to get stuck right into it so after breakfast he took charge of the kitchen and this was his creation.

With very little help from me, my master Chef in the making mixed all the ingredients, cracked and separated the egg, sprinkled in the sweet smelling spices and make ginger bread dough.
Looking much like play dough he knew exactly what to do, rolling it out evenly and using a gingerbread man, a gingerbread girl and a snow man cookie cutter to make his cookies.

They worked a treat, this recipe is so easy for kids to do them self.
I helped read it to him and made sure the measuring was correct but he more or less baked them himself. Impressive little man. Child led Easy kids cooking is great for building independence in the kitchen, teaching about measurementsand ingredients. Baking with kids, when it is as easy as this is such a wonderful sensory and calm treat.
It was so easy and quick. Only 10 minutes and they were done. Then came the fun part.....
I did one ginger bread women showing Dimples how to smooth the icing first, use the writing icing as 'glue' for the buttons and eyes and decorate them with a smile. Then I gave him the led, he let me decorate another one for my self and told me the rest were for him and daddy.
He loved the freedom!

Dimples took his Head Cookie Decorator role very seriously giving the gingerbread people different clothing objects. The one above needed a beanie and a scarf (as snowmen do) and of course some buttons. Some had pants, shoes, belts, gloves and even buttons to do up their pants.

 They all had eyes but the last gingerbread men, I don't know why, was a tower of writing icing and lots of belly buttons. Look on the "after" photo, he is the one at the bottom. He does have cool shoes though!
Very proud of his Christmas creations he asked for a photo and said how good he is at decorating cookies. He inspected them and got to pick which one he wanted to eat.

Here is the recipe that our Magic Elf left :) Easy ginger bread kids recipe

We have been doing lots of Christmas Activities lately.
Why dont you browse these for some Holiday Fun.


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