Thursday, March 22, 2012

In the Fairy's Night Garden...Small World Play.

We have a whole lot of "boy tailored" activities at my house, but not a lot of "girlie" ones. Now that the baby girls are growing up into little ladies, I thought it might be time to make a small world play bin JUST for them! And what's more girlie than a fairy garden? 
Well, I built this little garden with the girls in mind, but as it turns out...the boys play with it just as much as the girls!! This little fairy world has become our "most played with" bin in the entire dayhome. Ha! Just when you think you've got them all figured out!

"C" likes to play with it first thing in the morning...she gets here first when the sun is not all the way up, so she gets the benefit of the soft twinkly tea lights!

There is a little bed in the corner (we borrowed from our dollhouse) for the fairies to sleep...

A treasure box of "jewels" which the kids like to hide in the flowers so they are kept safe from the "baddies."

We added little terra cotta pots for the silk flowers, and a little fruit basket from the My Little Pony sets.

A little birthday cake (also from the My Little Ponies), and little plastic bugs from the dollar store, as party guests.
Everything is "moveable"...nothing is stuck anywhere. The kids can arrange and rearrange the basket as they please. The bottom of the basket has a folded towel on one end to give the garden another level. The floor is covered with squares of green felt.

The felt "flower vine" is from the scrapbook section of the dollar store. It can be picked up and moved around also. The flower fairies and battery operated tea lights are also from the dollar store.

*Note: the basket makes a perfect setting for the garden, as the stems of the silk flowers can be woven in and out of the basket weave. This makes a border of flowers all around the garden. You could use a plastic bin, but I think you'll find there are so many more possibilities if you use a basket.

Here is a visual list of all the items we used.
All of the supplies came from the dollar store and from toys we already had around the house.
I have no doubt the little ones in your life will appreciate this small world of fairies and twinkle lights...the hours of make-believe play will feed their souls, AND yours. Even our cat likes to visit the fairy garden once in awhile...we find him sleeping right in there with the flowers and night crawlers!

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

BIG Builders...

There is nothing like the smell of coffee to wake me up in the morning. I love it. I also love chocolate. Like, really love it. Put the 2 of them together, and well...mmmmmm. Perfection. And just when you think things couldn't possibly get better, a few dump trucks come along and take it to a whole new level!

This activity was one of our most successful ones here at Small Potatoes. The boys took the play to places I would have never even thought of. What started out as a pile of coffee beans and a mound of chocolate playdough, (recipe from the lovely NurtureStore) turned into hours of creative building, dumping, sculpting, crushing, rolling, and most of all, IMAGINING!

I poured a large bag of cheap (Western Family brand) coffee beans into our process table. I added some plastic construction trucks (found at Toys R Us), and some wooden play tools. I made a double batch of the chocolate playdough and plopped it in alongside everything else. Then I let the kids have at 'er!

At first, they did exactly what I had expected. They poured and dumped the beans in and out of the diggers and dump trucks, and drove them up and over the playdough hill.

But not long into their play time, they began to take the activity up into a more complex level...
First, they cleared roadways and marked the centre line with individual beans.

Then they started hammering the beans into the playdough to make some sort of foundation. At this point, I wasn't quite sure what they were up to...

Then, they went to the toy bins and returned with handfuls of wooden blocks. They used the playdough as mortar between their wooden "bricks" and built a house on their foundation! Such smart little boys!!
And then, just when I thought they couldn't be any more clever, they began to crush and grind the beans with a wooden block to make "cement" for their sidewalks. God bless them! 

Little hands building a sidewalk up to the house.

So I was able to enjoy the smell of coffee and chocolate all through my house (seriously, it smelled like Starbucks), and the boys spent the afternoon immersed in imaginative, sensory play. Win win! I packed the playdough into a plastic container at the end of the play session and we kept the beans in the process table for a good week. I brought the playdough out for them each time they asked. They absolutely loved this activity. And so did I.  If you don't have a process table, don't fret...just use your table top, or a large plastic bin. You will be sweeping up beans, but it's a fair trade when you see how much fun your little ones are having!

Don't you want to just get in there and play, too? I did! What are you waiting for?

Thanks for stopping by! Enjoy!