Thursday, January 30, 2014

Intentional play - Our Month of Summer and Water

It's been a great month of play and craft at our house. Dear Boy and I have been exploring all kinds of new and old toys and books and games and craft. And, in the process, we've been more engaged with each other and in our time together. As I mentioned at the beginning of the month, searching for ideas for how to entertain your child is hard - but having a really loose theme for the month has made that so much easier.

We've been more crafty this month than we have in a long while, and it's been interesting to see how Dear Boy's fine motor skills have been developing when I was wasn't really paying attention. He's much more particular about how he holds his brush, adjusting it in his hand just-so before he starts to paint - he's noticing his own control and what works for him much more. He's definitely favouring his right hand over his left much more than a few months ago.

At the centre of our craft this month has been a little stack of paper plates, that we've painted and then morphed into a range of shapes and critters and objects and scenes including:

  • Sun - rays crinkle-cut with pinking sheers
  • Fish - using the centre of the plate as the body, with the rim cut for fins and tail; we also added some googly eyes
  • Jellyfish and octopus - stapling/taping on legs/tentacles made of coloured crepe paper (although wool/string would also work well)
  • Sea turtles - using two plates painted green, one for the body and the other to cut head, feet and tail pieces
  • Boats - cutting the plate in half, taping on a twig or paddle-pop stick as a mast and using the leftover half plate to create a triangle-shaped sail and little sailors
  • Beach - using half blue, half yellow plate; we added a little sand for texture to the yellow side
  • Swim-ring/buoy - painted red and yellow to match our Australian lifesavers, then cut the centre of the plate away; the leftover ring fit perfectly around our old Cabbage Patch Kid's body.
  • Shells - cut into pippi and fan shapes
As well as the paper plate craft, we played with our new easy-peasy toddler stamps, and felt fishing game, and attempted a waterfall scene with colourful fish thanks to inspiration from Ordinary Life Magic. We also repurposed a large cardboard box into a Dear Boy-sized boat, but he insisted on having one end open, so it became more of a WWII Beach-landing craft.

It was finally hot enough (perhaps even too hot) to pull out our neon-pink paddling pool again, we loaded it up with cool water and tub-toys and had quite a few al-fresco baths during Melbourne's heatwave. When the plastic wasn't meltingly hot, we slid over the playgym and had our own Wet and Wild fun park, slipping down the slide into the pool. The long, hot evenings just called for water play.

We also remembered our old friends, toys long forgotten and packed away, rediscovering the gorgeous Australian Geographic dolphin, clown fish and sea turtle soft toys we'd been gifted before Dear Boy was born and Sebastien the Crab of The Little Mermaid fame that I'd picked up quite a long time ago on a strange and manic trip to Disneyland Paris.

Dear Boy fell in love with Sebastien's 'Under The Sea' - "the crab, Mummy, the crab, under the seeeea!". We also jumped onto You Tube for The Beatles' 'Yellow Submarine' and 'Octopus's Garden' (Dear Boy insisted on this video over and over - couldn't find an original/official one).

We took a trip into the aquarium last weekend with Lovely Husband. Dear Boy was much more interested in running up and down the ramps and through the tunnels than he was in the fish themselves, although I think he was fairly blown away by the massive rays and sharks passing over his head. There were no sea turtles at the aquarium, as they have a rehabilitation and release program and I think that they would have a been a favourite. He was mostly captivated by the jellyfish (although there was only a single tank of them) and the penguins (although we just missed feeding time - damn their incomprehensible map and elevator system) - and you might see why in the videos below. They're much better with the sound turned down!



What were the highlights of your month?

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