Something to Make - Shakers

My children have had so much fun with these drink bottle shakers. I made them when Em was a baby. So that makes them about 8 years old. They have been in the baby toy basket, the toddler treasure chest and then made their way to the box of musical instruments. They have sure been used.

Here's how to make your own ...

Who can make this?
Anyone from aged 2 onwards

What do you need?
Plastic drink bottles
Something noisy to put inside.
Maybe even some stickers or paint to decorate

What to do? 
Collect up some well washed out plastic drink bottles. The smaller one in the photo is a great size for baby hands. It was made using a bottle collected from a flight back to Adelaide.
Put something noisy inside. This project is one exception to my not playing with food rule. Some great food things to use are lentils, rice, barley and dried beans. It's nice to use different colours and sizes to give different sights and sounds. If you don't like using food in play, you can always fill the bottles with sand, stones, gum nuts and seed pods. Collecting them up is a fun activity on it's own!!

If the shakers are going in a music box, it's great to decorate them with stickers or they can even be painted. Remember to play it safe though. Little children love to put things in their mouths so it's best not o decorate shakers little ones will use. Also, make sure those lids are screwed on tight!

Ways to Play with Aluminium Foil

Aluminium foil (or tin foil for all my US friends!) is relatively inexpensive and its shiny, foily qualities make it a great fun thing to include in play ideas.

We like to:

  • Cover blocks and boxes and containers in it to make rockets and robots and spacey play scenes. Building with blocks and creating fun scenarios builds on imagination, creativity, language skills and motor skills.

  • Roll it into balls to play with, building on motor skills and eye-hand co-ordination.
  • Cut it and tear it because it’s easy to work with and makes a great sound. This works motor skills again and it is also a great way to practice cutting skills. Tearing and crinkling is a great way to explore the senses too.
  • Paint onto it to give our paintings a different finish. Painting is a great fun art and craft activity that builds on spatial awareness, creativity, motor skills and knowledge of colours, shapes and patterns.
  • Wrap up presents for soft toy birthday parties. Foil folds easily and doesn’t necessarily require sticky tape. Playing party games builds on social skills like empathy, compassion, care and nurturing. Looking after and organizing toys is also a great opportunity to build on language skills.
  • Include it in collage crafts. Shiny foil makes a great body for a robot or a magical mermaids tail or bright, sparkly fishy scales. Cut out some squares for a robot or scales for a fish or a long mermaid's tail. Give your child the cut-outs, some glue, some paper to stick the shapes onto and some pens and textas to draw on and around the foil cutout. Crafting builds on motor skills, creativity, imagination, language and spatial awareness.

Have you used foil in your play?

I'm Back - With Something to Make on a Monday

I've finally made my way back to my little blog after a long break. More about that later, I want to get straight back into sharing my ideas ......

If you've read my blog before, you might remember this post about a blanket my boy Ed uses for his cars. This blanket gets a big work out keeping all sorts of friends cosy. It's a regular inclusion in pretend play.

Well, I've had a go at making some of my own. Have you ever tried crocheting? It’s fun and relaxing and easy. I’m a little too impatient to knit or do any of those lovely things, but crocheting, I can manage.

I had a crash course from my visiting mother-in-law a couple of years ago, but I couldn't remember much of it, so I've re-taught myself through online tutorials.

I did make a small mistake of going to Spotlight with Ed and so now I have this basket of wool and a long list of toys to make blankets for with specific details about which toy will like which colour.

I have just started this one for little “toadie”

Would you like to make a blanket for some little friend in your house?

Anyone can have a go from about 8 onwards

A crochet hook
Some wool
A little basic crochet know-how

To make a blanket like the ones I have, you just need to crochet a giant granny square. I read my first tutorial from some links the lovely Pip shared at "Meet me at Mike's". It's really helpful if you can see the techniques in action, so it's definitely worth watching some tutorials.

My mother-in-law found a great print-out instruction sheet at Squidoo and this has been really useful to have alongside me as I'm working.

The best thing I've found though is to find someone who can show you what to do. There's nothing like sharing a cup of tea and going through a little square step by step.

Hope your little one's have as much fun with their blankets as mine do.

By the way, "everyday play" is finally on facebook. Come and "like"me, please ...