NurtureStore http://nurturestore.co.uk kids activities, art and craft, play dough recipes and more Fri, 22 May 2015 17:34:16 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 Printable sea creatures for ocean play dough http://nurturestore.co.uk/printable-sea-creatures-ocean-play-dough http://nurturestore.co.uk/printable-sea-creatures-ocean-play-dough#comments Wed, 20 May 2015 11:09:39 +0000 http://nurturestore.co.uk/?p=15517 Play dough fans rejoice! Kate from Picklebums is joining us today with a fantastic set of printable sea creatures that are perfect for enjoying with some ocean play dough. Printable sea creatures for ocean play dough We have four kids – twin girls aged nine, a five year old boy and a two year old […]

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Play dough fans rejoice! Kate from Picklebums is joining us today with a fantastic set of printable sea creatures that are perfect for enjoying with some ocean play dough.Fabulous printable sea creatures: great  accessories for ocean play dough

Printable sea creatures for ocean play dough

We have four kids – twin girls aged nine, a five year old boy and a two year old boy – and I am always amazed at how much they all love playdough. Playdough is one of those rare activities where all our kids happily play together.

It is such an open-ended activity that it lends itself to intricate creations made by the nine year olds, as well as basic manipulation from the toddler, and everything in between. It allows for lots of cooperative play, negotiation and social skill development, but it is also just as easy to give each child their own lump if they are not ready to play together right now.

We have commercially made playdough accessories coming out our ears which have all been well loved, but the best playdough accessories are always the ones that we make ourselves, the ones that really spark my kids’ imaginations or follow their interests. Cathy first inspired me to make printable playdough accessories when she had the wonderful idea to use our bunny cup cake toppers with playdough. Genius! Since then we have made some printable playdough garden accessories, and after a recent trip to the beach collecting rocks and shells I knew that sea creatures would be my next playdough set.

ocean play dough

My kids waited, not very patiently, for me to finish creating the images and then the girls helped cut them out, laminate them and then cut them out again. Meanwhile the boys and I set about making our favourite microwave playdough – blue of course! Then we all collected some extra bits and pieces – glass pebbles, stones and shells. The rest was up to the kids…

sea creatures ocean play dough

All four kids loved creating under the sea scenes. Elaborate stories were played out, sharks ate fish and a star fish got tangled in an octopus. The playdough became waves, and lagoons, and even a deep sea diver!

sea creatures pictures

Download the sea creatures printable

You can print your own under the sea playdough accessories by downloading the sea creatures printable pdf file. Then just print, cut, laminate (or cover with self adhesive paper), cut again, and play!

under the sea creatures

 

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An early childhood educator and Mum of four, Kate lives on a small property called ‘The Pickle Farm’ in rural Australia. Kate’s blog, picklebums, has articles about gentle parenting, gardening, family food, activities for kids, free printables and anything else that pops up in her crazy life. You can also find Kate on facebook, twitter, and pinterest.

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the homemade play dough recipe book call

 Love play dough? Take a look at The Homemade Play Dough Recipe Book :: recipes and ideas for a whole year of play! 

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Exploring shapes activity using play dough http://nurturestore.co.uk/exploring-shapes-activity-using-play-dough http://nurturestore.co.uk/exploring-shapes-activity-using-play-dough#respond Tue, 19 May 2015 11:00:09 +0000 http://nurturestore.co.uk/?p=25065 Here are some ideas for hands-on math play: an exploring shapes activity using play dough. Exploring shapes activity using play dough Play dough is one of our favourite Super Toys. It’s quick and easy to make homemade play dough, it’s fun and hands-on, and lends itself to all sorts of play. Today we’re using it […]

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Here are some ideas for hands-on math play: an exploring shapes activity using play dough.

Great ideas to explore shapes using play dough

Exploring shapes activity using play dough

Play dough is one of our favourite Super Toys. It’s quick and easy to make homemade play dough, it’s fun and hands-on, and lends itself to all sorts of play. Today we’re using it to explore shapes.

learning about shapes with play dough

I made a quick set of shape cards – just pieces of colourful cards with the shape names written on – and set them out with a mound of play dough and some shape cookie cutters. (which you can find on these affiliate links at Amazon UK and Amazon US.) And then we started exploring.

You could set this activity out as a self-serve discovery table, or sit with your child/ren and play along together. Both offer great opportunities for exploration and learning. Today I joined in with the play and we had all sorts of chat going on about the shapes.

shape discovery table

To begin with you can just play. Use the cookie cutters and have fun exploring with the play dough. Lots of math and language learning happens simply through playing with materials like these, which gently introduce concepts of shape, size, and numbers, just by being different shapes, sizes and numbers.

learning about squares with play dough

Maths games to play

And then there are also more structured games you might play.

:: See if you can match up the cookie cutter shape to its matching word. Stamp out that shape in the play dough and notice how the negative space left behind also makes a shape.

The cookie cutters are great for printing in the play dough, so you can make a shape matching puzzle.

:: How many sides does your shape have?

:: How many corners?

:: Can you spot any right angles?

:: How many different ways can you make a triangle?

squares and triangles activity

Add in some blunt-ended knives and you can cut up the shapes and see what else you can make.

:: Do all the shapes make fair shares when they are cut up?

:: Can you spot any shapes inside shapes (like the triangles and square above)?

:: What shapes can you make if you join some of your play dough pieces together?

:: Can you make any repeating patterns with your play dough pieces?

:: What about making some bigger 3-D shapes?

You don’t need to try all these ideas in one session. Go at your child’s pace, notice what they are interested in and use that as your lead for today’s activity. There is much benefit from revisiting this activity several times and seeing what new ideas pop up, and noticing how your child is using new vocabulary or knowledge in their play.

 

exploring pyramids shape activity

Extending the learning

Children learn best when they are having fun and exploring hands-on activities, and there are many ways you can add creative play to successful math and science learning. If you would like more ideas for how you can use the medium of play dough to explore math, literacy, art and play, The Homemade Play Dough Recipe Book has a whole year’s worth of ideas for you.math activities with play dough

And if you’d like to focus in on playful math and science, you and your children will find a bunch of brilliant ideas in our Fizz, Pop, Bang! resource. Click through to take a look.

math and art activities

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Outdoor imaginary play using chalk http://nurturestore.co.uk/outdoor-imaginary-play-using-chalk http://nurturestore.co.uk/outdoor-imaginary-play-using-chalk#respond Mon, 18 May 2015 09:39:11 +0000 http://nurturestore.co.uk/?p=25056 Set up some outdoor imaginary play using chalk to great a play town with unlimited possibilities! Outdoor imaginary play using chalk I love to encourage my children to spend as much time outdoors as possible and one of the ways to do this successfully is to borrow their favourite toys from indoors and transport them […]

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Set up some outdoor imaginary play using chalk to great a play town with unlimited possibilities!

Brilliant outdoor imaginary play using chalk - quick, simple and fun!

Outdoor imaginary play using chalk

I love to encourage my children to spend as much time outdoors as possible and one of the ways to do this successfully is to borrow their favourite toys from indoors and transport them outside. Kids who are a little reluctant to adventure outside might just follow the toys outdoors and discover it’s fun being in the fresh air. And moving things around – setting up familiar things in a different way – can be a brilliant spark to promote creativity.

garden imaginary play

Today we’re combining two classic play items: a basket of cars, trucks and diggers, along with a pot of chalks. Chalk is one of those Super Toys that can work its magic in all sorts of ways. It’s really easy for even very young children to use, tidy up is very quick and simple (even better if the rain does it for you!) and the play possibilities are endless. If you can imagine it, you can draw it, and add it to your pretend play.

chalk play town in the garden

For younger children, or those who haven’t used chalks in this way before, you might set up the start of a pretend play town. It’s a fun invitation to play for them to discover outdoors. But really, aim to let the children be in charge here. You could partner with them, chat about what you are drawing and collaborate on a big city scape, but let your kids lead the way and generate their own play ideas.

using chalk to draw a town for imaginary play

Extend your pretend play town

A collection of loose parts such as rocks, twigs, leaves and fir cones is a great addition to any Garden Classroom. Open-ended play resources such as these can be pulled into all sorts of play. Maybe they could become buildings in your chalk town, or cargo for your trucks to transport.

And have you seen the printable city scape that’s included with our Three to Five: Playful Preschool resources? It’s a great play prompt and if you laminate the printable sections you can take it outdoors as an addition to your chalk town, or set it up in your sand play area. You can get yours here.printable city for pretend play

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This week’s big challenge :: Play Planner http://nurturestore.co.uk/this-weeks-big-challenge-play-planner http://nurturestore.co.uk/this-weeks-big-challenge-play-planner#respond Sat, 16 May 2015 07:30:23 +0000 http://nurturestore.co.uk/?p=25041 What’s challenging you this week? My biggest challenge this week is guarding my little baby cucumber and courgette seedlings from those huge, greedy snails. That one in the photo was having a snooze right on the side of the pot in my greenhouse, passing the time away until it got dark and it could sneak […]

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What’s challenging you this week?

My biggest challenge this week is guarding my little baby cucumber and courgette seedlings from those huge, greedy snails. That one in the photo was having a snooze right on the side of the pot in my greenhouse, passing the time away until it got dark and it could sneak out and start eating.

My younger daughter’s challenge this week has been tidying her bedroom, which took her an awful long time, but she was very pleased with herself once it was done. And my older daughter’s challenge has been working out how to make the dragon mask she’s dreamed up. Lots of trial and error, testing materials, and liberal amounts of paper mache, and she’s on the way to working it out.

What about you? What’s been challenging you and your children this week? Email me back and let me know – I’d love to hear from you.

Hope you have a great week this coming week – Cathy
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Here’s this week’s Play Planner

Monday’s child is…

learning about and with the seasons
A complete resource to Teach The Seasons :: seasonal activities for the whole year

Tuesday’s child is…

joining Journal Jam for a creative family summer
Brilliant online summer camp for creative kids - Journal Jam

Wednesday’s child is…

making flower petal play dough
Flower play dough recipe for summer sensory play

Thursday’s child is…

cutting and sticking (see more at Picklebums)
sticky-tray (1)

Friday’s child is…

making neon slime (see how at Babble Dabble Do)
How-to-Make-Slime-Neon-Style-close-up

Saturday’s child is…

enjoying lots of baby play (see the ideas at BabyCentre)
6 month old baby play ideas

Sunday’s child is…

playing flower number games
I love all the variations ofor this spring flower number games - fun kids math for all ages

 we make brilliant books mobile

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Flower number games http://nurturestore.co.uk/flower-number-games-kids-math http://nurturestore.co.uk/flower-number-games-kids-math#comments Thu, 14 May 2015 16:42:58 +0000 http://nurturestore.co.uk/?p=19570 These flower number games are inspired by spring. You can adapt them for different aged children, and use them for both math games and letter activities. Here’s how to play. Flower number games These flower games give you a framework to practise many different math facts over time, and my children find them much more […]

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These flower number games are inspired by spring. You can adapt them for different aged children, and use them for both math games and letter activities. Here’s how to play.

I love all the variations ofor this spring flower number games - fun kids math for all ages

Flower number games

These flower games give you a framework to practise many different math facts over time, and my children find them much more fun than answering the same questions on a worksheet. I love that the whole thing looks so pretty, so we get some lovely spring art in our room, which encourages us to use the activity often.

To set up our flower number games we first painted some blooms. We used watercolour paint, painting big, layered circles, but really any kind of flower you like will do.

spring flower theme math

We also painted some green stalks, and fastened both the stalks and flowers to our wall with white tack. I wrote a number in the centre of each flower, as we’re using ours for some addition and subtraction games, but you could also write in letters. See below for lots of different ways to play.

flower stalk math gamesNext, we cut out some leaf shapes. We’re using a marker pen to write sums on our leaves, but, again, you could also play with letters.

flower leaf math gamesThe aim of our game is to:

1. Pick a leaf and read the question written on it.

spring flower theme math activity

2. Work out the answer. Using fingers or number lines/squares is encouraged. We’re focusing on which strategies you can use to work out the answer, playing with number patterns and shortcuts. {so for example, if we had 10+9 we might quickly work out 10+10, which we know without really having to think about it, and then take away one – rather than counting on nine from ten which takes us longer and risks missing a number while we do it}

spring flower number mathing game activity

3. Match your leaf to the right flower stalk. All the sums we have equal one of the numbers in our flower blooms, so we can match them all up and grow tall, tall maths flowers all spring and summer long.

math games numbers addition spring flower

Different ways to play: numbers and letters

You can adapt this flower maths activity to suit lots of different stages, and you can have siblings of different ages playing along together.

For beginners you could write the numbers 1, 2 and 3 in your flowers. On your leaves, write the same 1, 2, 3 numbers and see if they can recognise each one and match it to its flower.

You could also write the words one, two and three and see if the can match these to the correct stalk. Or draw one dot, two dots, threes dots, or use tally marks.

We’re doing lots of addition and subtraction practise, but you can use it for times tables too – just make different sets of leaves to work on the different maths facts.

Children of different ages can play together. Younger children might use a number line or hundred square to help work out their answers, older children might work on the speed of their mental maths and see how fast they can correctly place 10 or 20 leaves.

A good way to make the game more challenging is to start with the answers and have your child think of the questions. So, if the flower says 27 they have to think of lots of sums that result in the answer 27. Have them write their sums on leaves and place them on the stalks – or make a basket full of them, so other children can pick one of their questions leaves. This gives you a perpetual game that the children create and play between themselves.

You can also switch to letters. Write your child’s name, with one letter in each flower. Then have a set of leaves with lots of letters on for them to match to the right stalk.

You could have upper case and lower case letters to match – a whole alphabet of the flowers would look amazing along the wall!

You could have lots of words on the leaves that start with matching letters. So, write b and d on two separate flowers and have the children sort leaves with bed, dog, big, dig, ball, drum written on them.

More creative ways to use nature to inspire learning

Fill your year with hands-on, creative learning inspired by nature. Click through to see our Garden Classroom resource and get your free Garden Journal.

garden activities for kids cta

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