Thursday, 29 March 2018

Hi there,

First of all I just wanted to say a quick thank you to everyone who is reading my blog. You may have noticed a little badge over in the side bar. I'm lucky enough to have been chosen as one of MyBump2Baby's favourite bloggers. MyBump2Baby is like the Trip Advisor of the parenting world, it's a really helpful website.

With the long bank holiday weekend looming I thought I would post a quick round up of the Easter Activities we have been enjoying this week. Hopefully it will give you a bit of inspiration if you're going to be spending some time at home.

Tactile Tray

Marnie has been loving her Easter Tactile Tray.

In it I put lots of bits that we got in Tiger. I bought a set of pipe cleaners and pom poms. I cut the pipe cleaners into four shorter bits so they would fit in the tray. I also got some foam Easter stickers and some wooden beads. For more information on how to create a tactile tray click HERE. It's such a simple activity that provides hours of fun!

Sensory Bottle

I made this sensory bottle for Marnie and Polly to play with. Marnie absolutely loves sitting next to Polly and shaking it for her.

I filled our bottle with coloured rice (I will do a post soon on how I dye rice) and items that we also used in the tactile tray. I sealed the top with tape to keep everything inside, which initially caused much annoyance to Marnie!!!

Easter Cards

I won't post pictures of the finished products here as Marnie has decided who she wants to give her Easter cards to but we used the bits we bought from Tiger a long with some larger foam rabbits and Easter stickers to decorate them.

Marnie really enjoyed this activity as she got to use glue. She spent the rest of the day asking to do sticking!

Tuff Trays

We've not got a proper tuff tray, the one we have was £1.95 from Ikea and is a bit smaller so easier to store when not in use. I may well pick up another one next time I go. It does the trick though!

In the trays we have been using the foam bunnies and pom poms which we got from Tiger, an egg and spoon race set from Tesco and plastic eggs, chicks and shredded paper from Asda. Also one of our egg storage boxes and an egg cup.

Marnie loved opening up the eggs and putting pom poms or shredded paper into them. She was trying to match up the colours of the pom poms to the eggs she was filling. You could set this up as a colour or counting activity but I just let Marnie have it as a free play activity.

Also planned this weekend we have Easter baking and a couple of egg hunts!

What have you got planned this weekend?


Monday, 26 March 2018

Hi there,

Apologies for the lack of blog posts lately, we've been battling with poor Polly's bronchiolitis and colic along with her waking every two hours at night so I've not had much of a chance to write. I've also been so tired and using any spare minute I can find to rest.

While Polly has been poorly I've been all for a quick and easy activity for Marnie! I've updated her tactile tray so it is now Easter themed using items I bought in Tiger.

As before, it has given her hours of fun! You can find my post on how to make your own tactile tray HERE.

Another really easy activity that Marnie has been enjoying is Window Painting. You may see the words window and painting put together and think 'oh no, definitely not for me!' but trust me it is largely mess free!

You will need:

  • Sandwich bags - we used large Ikea ones
  • Paint 
  • Tape

All you need to do is fill the bags with paint, this is something your child may be able to help with. Then make sure they are properly sealed and tape them up on the window.

As I have mentioned before Marnie is not great with getting things on her hands so this was ideal to get her used to the feeling without the mess!

We did lots of mark making and I showed her the letter 'M' and she tried to copy it.

The bags have been up on our window since Friday and are still going strong. I quite like having them up there as she can just keep going back to them when she wants to - although she worries me quite often when I'm feeding Polly and she suddenly shouts 'Mummy, I've got red on my hands!!!'

You could also try this activity with different items in the bag such as water and glitter or maybe some coloured spaghetti.

What are your favourite mess free activities?


Sunday, 18 March 2018

Hi there

Down in Basingstoke we've woken to another covering of snow, so I've quickly written a post with a few snow activities to give you some inspiration of things to do today! 

Marnie is actually staying with her Nanny and Grandad this weekend so I won't be able to do these with her so I'd love to see your pictures! If you post any on instagram or twitter use the hashtag #haymanssnowplay so I can have a look!!

Last time it snowed I had a tray of ice which I put snow on and put Marnie's Frozen characters on for her to play with.

You could put anything on it, maybe plastic animals that live in the cold (or warm even, Marnie would find that funny!). 

How about using bowls and spoons and making a snow kitchen? Serve up your favourite ice cream treats, just made with snow!

Fill up all those calpol syringes you have lying about with a bit of food colouring and water and use them to paint the snow. This is great as it can be done inside or out.

Go out on an adventure - wrap up warm, pack a bag like you're real arctic explorers and go out for a walk. If you have one, maybe take a sledge. It took Marnie a little while to get going with her sledge but she loved it in the end!

And of course build a snowman!!! Or if you fancy being a bit different how about a snow version of your childs favourite animal?

Have fun and enjoy the snow and remember to use the hashtag #haymanssnowplay so I can see what you've been up to!


Friday, 16 March 2018

 Hi there,

Marnie is a huge fan of fiddling with little bits and bobs so I decided to make her a little Tactile Tray. It's such a simple thing to do so I thought I'd put a little post together to share my ideas.

Firstly you need to get yourself some sort of tray. The one I used was one Sam picked up from Poundland ages ago. It is one meant for storing screws, nails and things like that so it has handy dividers which you can move around. If you don't have one of these you can use any sort of tray, Tupperware or plastic container you have lying around the house.

Then you need to fill your container. You can fill it with anything you like. As you can see from Marnie's it is a random mix of things:
  • Two different types of pasta - tubes and bows (or butterflies as Marnie calls them)
  • Green lentils
  • White rice
  • Beads
These are all things I had in the cupboards at home. Other items you could use could be:
  • Different types of rice - how about trying some wild rice, or you could dye rice with food colouring
  • Buttons
  • Different colours or shapes of pasta
  • Broken up spaghetti
  • Red lentils
  • Peppercorns
  • Popcorn kernels 
  • Aquabeads (let them grow and then take the out of the water)

In addition to the tray I gave Marnie a snack pot so she could push items through the lid and pull them back out again and a spoon and her chopsticks (or as she calls them walking sticks). She enjoyed filling up the snack pot and then shaking it to see how much noise she could make. We talked about the colours of the beads and counted pasta.

What items have you got lying around that you could put in a tactile tray?


Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Hi there,

Polly is now 3 months old and I thought I would write a post about my newborn essentials. Polly is my second baby and what I would consider essentials this time are very different to what I would have said for Marnie.

Obviously 'essentials' vary from family to family depending on your needs, however these are the things we have found useful.

Baby Carrier
With Marnie I always put her in her a pram when we went out but I didn't have a two year old to chase after then. It's so much easier just to pop Polly in her carrier (we have the close caboo) than to have to figure out what I should do with a pram when Marnie runs off! Polly definitely prefers being in her carrier to being in the pram.

Angel Care Bath Seat
We used this for Marnie but I don't think we bought it until she was about 3 months old. With Polly we have used it from her first bath and she loves it! I don't think I've ever seen someone so happy about bath time!

Baby Bouncer Chair
Polly loves her bouncer chair. I got this for Marnie from Asda but she actually preferred her bean bag. Polly is the opposite. She much prefers the enclosed feeling the chair gives her.

MAM Soothers
Marnie didn't have a dummy, she just wasn't a sucky baby. Neither was Polly until she was 5 weeks old. She spent a week in hospital with a severe case of bronchiolitis. For 2 days she was in high dependency so was fed by IV. During this time she just wouldn't settle, she was missing the comfort she got from feeding so we gave her a dummy. Initially she had a NUK one however none of the supermarkets near us stock them and as she occasionally uses a MAM bottle we decided to switch to these.

I absolutely love having this crib attached to our bed. In the night I just reach over and bring Polly in to our bed when she needs a feed and then move her back, although sometimes she does sleep in our bed for cuddles!*

Play Mat
Polly is a ridiculously active child. She rolled over at 12 weeks, is that normal? So in our house her play mat is getting a lot of use!! The one we have is from Mothercare and we bought it when Marnie was born.

Perfect Prep Machine
Polly is breastfed so this doesn't get too much use at the moment but with Marnie it really was the best thing we had, so I thought I would just pop it in here! It's a fantastic machine that filters and heats water to the right temperature to make up a bottle with formula. It was definitely a lifesaver when we were making up bottles for Marnie.

Is there anything you have found essential that I haven't included here?


* We realised very early on that Polly liked and needed to be close to us to sleep so we looked into safe ways of co-sleeping. Whenever Polly is in our bed we ensure we follow the safe sleeping guidelines.

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Hi there,

Polly is currently poorly with bronchiolitis (again!) so is requiring a lot of my attention therefore I wanted to make something quick and easy for Marnie to play with. I decided to make some Cloud Sand for her. It's such a simple recipe.

You need 8 parts of flour to 1 part oil. I used 4 cups of plain flour and half a cup olive oil. You can use any type of oil - vegetable oil, coconut oil or baby oil are other alternatives.

I gave Marnie a few kitchen utensils, some bowls, straws and pasta to play with in her cloud sand.

She has really enjoyed it. She's made breakfast, lunch and dinner using it. She's spent time moving the sand between the different spoons and containers I gave her and she's used the pasta and straws to make shapes and marks in the sand.

This is a really simple activity you can do with things that you most probably have lying around the house!

Apologies for the lack of pictures with this post, I was mostly dealing with an unhappy baby whilst Marnie entertained herself!

Also, how great is this tray... £1.95 from Ikea!!!