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See posts about: // Isabelle // Parenting // Family //

Monday, 30 December 2013

My New Year's Resolutions

New Year's resolutions. We've all made them...and some people have even stuck to them, or so I hear! I have to admit I don't usually make resolutions, because I know I probably won't stick to them so what's the point? I think a lot of people set themselves unrealistic goals, so is it any wonder lots of people don't stick to the resolutions they set?

This year, I am setting a few resolutions, which I will hopefully be able to stick to for a few weeks at least! Nothing hugely exciting, and one of them is probably one of the most common resolutions people set....

1// Stop biting my nails: I never used to be a nail biter, but I've noticed over the last few months I am constantly biting my nails down to nothing. I usually do this when I'm in the car, and I'm not usually even aware that I've started, so I think that it'll be tricky to stop myself. But I'm hoping I'll be able to cut down even a little.

2// Make more soup: soup is so easy to make, and it will make perfect lunch grub for Isabelle and me. Add in the bonus that it's full of vegetables and goodness for us both, and that she loves soup, and I am sold! Hopefully, I will be able to make some soup every week........hopefully!

3// Eat more fish: this follows on from #2. We don't eat a lot of fish, but Isabelle seems to enjoy it and it's so good for all of us that I have decided we need to eat fish at least once a fortnight. That probably doesn't sound like much to some people, but it's a realistic amount for us, so that should help us stick to it more easily.

4// Let people babysit more often: I hardly ever leave Isabelle - during December I left her twice,m for a total of 5hrs and that was more than August-November combined! Now she is bigger and less reliant on feeding from me, and since she goes to be by 7pm and conks out for the foreseeable future, I need to start making use of the many offers to babysit! My mother will be thrilled!

5// Learn to sew: we bought a sewing machine I'll keep you updated on how this one goes!

What resolutions are you making for 2014?

Sunday, 29 December 2013

My 2014 To Do List...

This should keep me busy in January...

1// Sign up for "Sing and Sign" classes with Isabelle - these will add another activity to our week, and will hopefully be lots of fun, as well as teaching us lots of new songs and signs.

2// Get my hair chopped. It's constantly getting in the way at the minute - especially when I wrap Isabelle on my back- so it has to go. I'm hoping to get about 7/8 inches off it. Now just to make an appointment and get a babysitter.

3// Clear out my cupboard and drawers. Isn't this something everyone constantly needs to do?! I feel like it's always hanging over me, and time to do it again. Isabelle's drawers need done too, to get rid of all her 6-9 month clothes. Which reminds me I must buy some new space saver vacuum bags...

4// Re-accessorize the living room. I'm bored of the accessories we have at the minute, so would like to find some new bits for the mantle and the sideboard. I usually head to Next for these, so will have to find some time to have a look. Our curtains and other soft furnishings are teal, and all from Next, so it shouldn't be too hard to find some nice new pieces.

5// Decorate Isabelle's toy box. We have a wooden box, which we previously used for laundry, which I want to paint and decorate nicely to turn into a toy box for Isabelle, and put in the back room. I've seen some beautiful ones online, but they are insanely expensive, so she'll have to put up with whatever I can create! I would love to make a little seat on top like the one below....but I think that's really pushing it since I cannot sew!

What things are on your to do list for the first few weeks of the new year?

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Isabelle's first Christmas!

It may be a little late, but I wanted to wish everyone a very happy holiday season. We have had a lovely few days celebrating Isabelle's first Christmas, and she has been very spoilt!

For us, Christmas is all about family, and this year we spent it at home with my family. Now that we have Isabelle, we are trying to create our own little family traditions, and we started this year by inviting my family to celebrate Christmas Eve with us, and help get Isabelle ready for her first Christmas! We ate, drank and read "T'was the Night Before Christmas" to Izzy, before she was popped into her 'My First Christmas' jammies to get some shut eye for Santa's arrival!

We spent Christmas morning at home, making puddings for later in the day and opening gifts. Of course, as she is still so tiny, Iz hadn't a clue what was going on! However, she seemed to enjoy the wrapping paper, and the few presents we got her. She got a little rocking horse, two jigsaws, a book, a pull along dog, two Lamaze toys, a wiggly wooden worm and some sensory sound blocks. I also got her a little snowglobe, and am hoping to get her a new one every year to build up a Christmas collection. Her favourite so far is the worm! I got a big hamper of retro sweets, and lots of little bits and pieces as well, so I was also spoilt!

We then headed to church, and on to my parents' house for a big family dinner with my brother, sister, brother and sister in law, and my nephews. It was totally chaotic, noisy and hectic, and really wonderful. Jacob and Isabelle were absolute stars considering what a busy, overwhelming day it was. The kids got an insane amount of gifts, and the adults didn't do too badly either! The day ended with some family 'fun' as we played some board games....enough said! Boxing Day was much the same, a big family get together at my parents'.

Simon, Isabelle and I (and the dogs!) are now home and thoroughly exhausted. We're looking forward to some quiet time for the 3 of us over the next few days, making the most of Simon's time off.

Lots of holiday love to everyone!

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Sensory play: discovery bottles

Following on from my last two sensory play posts, today's post is about our discovery bottles. This is an idea I found on Pinterest, and my new favourite website, The Imagination Tree, had some great ideas about what to put in the bottles.

These are a really simple idea - fill a plastic bottle with things for baby to discover in a safe way. Most of the bottle fillers are things which wouldn't be suitable for a baby to play with on their own (e.g. buttons), but allowing them to view them through the safety of a plastic bottle allows them to discover what they look like, how they sound, and how the things interact in a totally safe environment.

They are also extremely simple to make - I found the hardest bit was getting the bottles! A few special soft drink purchases were made to gather them!

To fill our bottles I gathered up:
- buttons
- Hama beads (used for making melt-a-bead pictures)
- glitter
- food colouring
- washing up liquid/dish soap
- pom poms
- pipe cleaners
- 'jewels'
- baby oil

Once the bottles were cleaned and dried, I simply filled each one with a different 'thing' to be explored. Most of the bottles are simply dry with with items inside, however two of my favourite bottles are 'wet' bottles - our lava lamp and bubble maker.

The bubble maker bottle is just water with a small amount of food colouring, and a generous amount of washing up liquid. It looks pretty unimpressive, until Isabelle starts to shake it when the bubbles appear. Safe bubble fun for someone too little to blow bubbles. The lava lamp is made of 2/3 water (with some food colouring) and 1/3 baby oil. Standing alone, it shows about separation of liquids, and when it is given a shake it creates a a great 'lava lamp' effect. A big pinch of glitter adds something a little extra to this bottle. I always superglue the lid shut once I am happy with the bottle, as the last thing my house needs is a glitter/oil/food colouring explosion!

As with her other sensory toys, I offer these to Isabelle every so often, and she loves to have a good shake of the bottles, a suck on the caps, and a peer at what's inside. Very simple to make, but a great way to allow little eyes to explore things they aren't able to touch.

Here was Isabelle's reaction to her Hama bead bottle...I think she likes it...

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Last minute gift ideas: the gift of time

I've seen a lot of blog posts, articles in the paper and online, and TV slots about what gifts to get for mums, for dads, for grannies, for your next door neighbour, for the person who has everything...the list goes on. But I've noticed this year that a lot of people are choosing to give a different gift to people....the gift of time.

As adults, our wants at Christmas are usually much less than those of little people, who would love Santa to deliver the latest toys, or the coolest brand of clothing. For the last few years, when asked what I want for Christmas, I've been really struggling to come up with anything. I don't really NEED anything, and anything that I really WANT I tend to buy myself - and to be honest, those things are actually few in number. So, I guess I could be considered 'hard to buy for' - so Simon tells me. Similarly, he needs and wants very little, so I consider him 'hard to buy for'.

My granny is even worse - she needs nothing, and it's highly likely that if you get her a gift, she will try to give it back to you in 6 months time saying "Someone bought this for me for Christmas, but I didn't use you want it?"

So, for the last couple of years, instead of Simon and I getting one another big gifts that we don't really need, and instead of giving my granny stuff she will be ungrateful for (and she doesn't hide that well!) we have decided to give the gift of time.

This year, Simon and I have decided we will take a little family trip to London instead of getting one another Christmas gifts. The money we would use for large gifts has gone towards flights, activities and our hotel instead. We still bought little stocking fillers, but nothing major. My sister and I usually take my granny out for afternoon tea, but this year I decided to take her out for lunch instead - spending time with her and Isabelle.

Similarly, my sister told me that she and my brother-in-law have decided that instead of large gifts, they will spend a day doing different bits and bobs together.

None of this stuff can be wrapped and stuck under the Christmas tree and, in some cases it may actually end up being more expensive than the gifts, but sharing our time together will mean so much more to us, and for Simon and I, will give us some lovely memories with Isabelle which will last for longer than any gift we could buy.

So, still stuck for a present for someone and panicking as Christmas flies towards us? How about giving them the gift of your time instead. I bet they would appreciate that a lot more than a last minute stocking filler.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Isabelle approved: Savoury carrot and courgette muffins

Over the last few weeks, I've been worrying that Isabelle has been getting too much of the same foods for lunch. I don't usually eat lunch, so I'm not used to having to think of lots of different things to eat for lunch. As Isabelle loves rice cakes, I tend to give her those a lot with lots of different toppings -hummus, mashed avocado, cottage cheese, cream cheese... But I wanted to branch out and give her something a bit different, so decided to go for some savoury muffins.

These muffins are so simple to make - I made them during one of Isabelle's naps (30mins) - and they are lovely and healthy too. Isabelle loved them, and I'm planning on making lots of different varieties in the future (banana and date are being made tomorrow!).

(This makes 12 large muffins)

- 2 cups self raising flour
- 1 cup milk
- 3/4 of a cup of grated cheese (the stronger the better!)
- 150g of butter (melted)
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 large carrot
- 1 large courgette (or 5 baby courgettes)
- handful raisins

- Preheat the oven to 180C
- Grate the carrot and courgette, and then squeeze out the excess water. Grate the cheese
- Sift the flour into a bowl, and then add the rest of the dry ingredients and mix together
- Add the butter, egg and milk and mix the whole lot together very well (at this point it will look somewhat like coleslaw...)
- Divide the mixture between 12 muffin cases, and pop into the oven for roughly 30mins
- Cool on a wire rack and enjoy! Store in an airtight container, or in the freezer.

So easy to make, and great to give to Isabelle as part of her lunch!

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Super cool mummy I am not...

So, I am sitting on a Saturday night, in my Christmas themed pyjama bottoms, watching the Boyzone programme I recorded last night and chowing down on some peanut butter and apple. How rock 'n' roll...

Somewhere along the line, I have turned into a super uncool mummy. If Isabelle were a teenager and I were doing this, she would no doubt be telling me exactly how uncool I am, listening to music that's 20 years old! If only she knew now that the last music I bought was Taylor Swift's last album....

I don't think I'll ever win any prizes in her eyes, or any one else's, for being a cool mummy. In fact, I don't think I would ever win any prizes for being cool at all! But hopefully, I won't be too much of an embarrassment to her either!

Hopefully, Simon will be an uncool dad and we can have some fun embarrassing her for our own amusement when she is in her teens!

(PS, did anyone else watch Boyzone? Love those guys!)

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Reviews: Organic and Natural Skincare Special

As I'm sure you know by now, I am a big fan of any natural and organic products, especially things for skin for Isabelle and I. It's not always easy to find lovely organic products, but here are 3 of my favourite recent organic and natural product brands.
There is still time to order some of these beauties as stocking fillers for your nearest and dearest - or for yourself as a little Christmas treat!

1. Hope's Relief
Hope's Relief is a skin care range which is specially formulated with lots of natural goodness, and specifically designed for those with eczema, psoriasis and dry skin. It's so gentle and hypoallergenic that it can be used on babies as well as those with super sensitive skin. With ingredients such as manuka honey and liqorice calendula, it almost sounds good enough to eat, and it definitely smells wonderful as well.

I was lucky enough to get to test out the Hope's Relief Therapeutic Cream and the Hope's Relief Cleansing Bar, which work together to nourish skin, repair it, balance the pH and rehydrate your skin.

After a few weeks of using the two products together I have to say I loved them. So many products leave my skin feeling dry and tight after I use them, and then I need to slather moisturiser on to rehydrate myself, which often leaves me feeling a bit greasy. But the Hope's Relief Cleansing Bar doesn't contain any soap products, so there it didn't leave my skin feeling dry and tight once. Using the Hope's Relief  Therapeutic Cream in combination with the cleansing bar was perfect, and I can see why the cram is No. 1 in Australia! I also found I didn't need to use loads of either product to get my skin lovely and clean, soft and generally feeling great!

Two fab products, from a great range, who use only natural ingredients and definitely get my vote.
You can buy Hope's Relief from Mahi's Naturals, with the cleansing bar at £8.70 and the Therapeutic cream at £16.20.

2. Estelle and Thild
This Swedish range of skin products came simply from a mummy trying to create some great, organic products for her daughters. They sell everything from cleanser and toner, to baby moisturiser and shampoo, and lip balm to face masks. All their products are totally organic, and have been developed with dermatologists in order to provide the best quality skin care possible.

The products are beautifully packaged, and you can tell from the get go that they are really high quality. I was able to test out their face cream and facial toner, and have to say that they smelt great and made my skin feel refreshed. The cream didn't feel at all greasy (one of my pet peeves), and my skin looked lovely and bright after a few weeks of use.
In the UK, you can buy the Estelle and Thilde range from Urban Retreat, and the face cream is priced at £29.50, and the toner at £18.50. Well worth it for such high quality products.

3. Niki's Organic Balms
My final new favourite organic brand is Niki's Organic Balms. These little gems confused me a little at first - what was the balm for? The answer? Everything and anything! The balms are made with organic ingredients, including beeswax and essential oils, and are truly a multipurpose balm which can be used for anywhere you have dry skin. I tested out both the original organic balm, and also the rose organic balm which just smells heavenly! I seem to spend a lot of my day with my hands getting wet - using wipes to change Isabelle, cleaning the kitchen, taking washing from the machine, and all those things have left me with strangely dry finger tips - not something I have ever had before.

These little balms were perfect for helping alleviate that dryness. They had the perfect consistency to help moisture my fingertips, and because they come in handy little tubs, I was able to throw one into my change bag to take out and about.
Other items in the Niki's range include baby balms for little bottoms, and I can imagine they would help keep your little's bum as soft as it should be!

The balms are available from Niki's Organic Balms , with prices varying depending on size.

 So treat yourself or a loved one to some fabulous skin care products from these lovely brands - and feel good knowing that all the ingredients are natural and organic!

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

DIY First Christmas Decoration

Earlier this week I posted about our Christmas tree, and mentioned the decoration we made to celebrate Isabelle's first Christmas. It was so quick and easy to do, and will be a lovely keep sake for years to come.

Simon simply cut a sliver off the bottom of the tree trunk (we always do anyway!) and we dried it out in the airing cupboard. Simon sanded it down, and using just a normal coloured pen, some string, ribbon and of course a button, I made our very "rustic" (ie pretty rubbish!) decoration. I hung it on the tree straight away, but after Christmas, Simon will varnish it to keep it shiny and lovely for years to come. I may attach a photo of the three of us on Christmas Day onto the reverse side as well.

So there you go. Simple, quick, cheap, not very good.....but made with lots of love for my beautiful lady, and something for us to pull out each year. No doubt Isabelle will look at it in 15 years and mock me greatly....

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Isabelle's 8 month check in

I know I say this every time I update you on Isabelle, but the time has flown again, and I really cannot believe Miss Isabelle is now 8 months old! That just seems SO old - she's practically an old age pensioner! 

In the last two months she has continued to grow physically and developmentally, and is such a joy to spend my days with. People always tell me how content she is, and she always has a big smile for everyone - even when she is 'playing shy' when she first meets people! 

I've been absolutely thrilled with how well she has taken to baby led weaning in the last 2 months. After the traditional slow start to blw, she has moved forward in leaps and bounds in the last 2-3 weeks, and loves lunch time in particular. She works so well with her hands, and with a pre-loaded spoon, and is eating more and more every day. She is now the proud owner of one tooth (finally!) and is using it to full effect to chomp through her food.


Vital stats:
Weight: 18lbs 9oz
Length: 72cms

* Meat
* Her maracas
* Lying on her back and shaking all her limbs like a wild thing
* Plums
* Swimming
* Looking out the window
* "if you're happy and you know it"
* Being nosey
* Being in her wrap/sling
* Watching bigger boys and girls
* Playing with her friends 
* Christmas baubles
* Spaghetti bolognese and chilli con carne
* Talking
* Standing up
* Spoons
* Smiling
* The watch from her treasure basket

* Broccoli

Day to day life
The biggest changes in Isabelle's life in the past few months have been her promotion to 'big cousin' to Isaac, and our shake up in routine. I posted about this a while ago, but we made some changes so that Isabelle was putting herself to sleep at night (previously I always fed her to sleep), and she has done a great job of adapting to such a big change. Someday she may even move to her own bedroom! We also get up earlier and she takes more structured naps, so our days are just generally a bit better organised. We have been as busy as ever going to our different groups and meeting up with friends, and are still waiting for the day we have some 'quiet time' at home together!

In November we made a trip to Norfolk to see Granny, Grandad, auntie and great-grandparents, and while I'd love to say we had a great time, this coincided with Isabelle being really unwell. She was pretty miserable, as were Simon and I, but still managed to charm everyone with her smiles. She travelled as well as ever despite her illness, enjoying her flights as always.


Now we're heading towards her first Christmas, and some quality time with all the family. Her skills are developing every day, and I'm sure the New Year will see her starting to scoot about and the headache that will no doubt bring! 

Next check in at 10 months - and I'm sure the time will fly in!

Monday, 9 December 2013

Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree...

If there is one thing which makes every house feel Christmassy, it is the much beloved Christmas tree. Whether you have real or artificial, a tree in the corner of the room just SCREAMS "Christmas is coming" to everyone.

I think everyone looks forward to putting up their tree, and getting into the spirit of Christmas, and we are no exception in the Jay household. We are in the 'real' tree camp, although only every other year as every second year we spend Christmas in Norfolk with Simon's family, and so just put up a tiny tree - which doesn't feel anywhere near as festive!

We usually don't put our tree up until around 15th December but, due to other commitments, this year the latest date we could both go and buy the tree was December 3rd. So, with Isabelle dressed in a suitably Christmassy outfit, we set off to the local garden centre to pick our green companion. After a bit of disagreement, and making the helpful girl lug one tree out, only for it to be dismissed for a poor set of bottom branches, we choose the perfect tree.

I always forget that putting up the Christmas tree involves rearrangement of our living room furniture, but this year we decided to try a new tree location which actually resulted in minimal upheaval and looks much better than previous years.

In another move to emulate a Pinterest idea, Simon cut a sliver off the bottom of the tree trunk, which we are making into a 'Isabelle's first Christmas' tree decoration. Once that was done, the tree was popped up in the corner and straightened up, before Simon strung on the lights. I don't know why, but putting the lights on a tree is always a man's job, if you ask me! Controversially, he strings them in an 'up and down' motion rather than a 'round and round' motion...

I was in charge of decorating this year, and was pretty aghast to find we had enough tree decorations to decorate at least 3 full sized trees! Many of them were cheap, bulk buy baubles, and these were discarded in favour of our more unique and cute decorations - picked up from garden centres, craft shops, gift shops and Ikea!

The overall look is what I would describe as 'shabby chic', and I love it....andI'm actually quite glad it's up so early so I can enjoy it for that little bit longer!

Saturday, 7 December 2013

DIY Button Wreath

If you've read some of my previous 'craft' posts, you'll know that I absolutely love buttons, and that I bought a whole pile of them to make Christmas cards with. After buying them, I also found an idea on Pinterest (where else?) to make a button Christmas wreath. And so, armed with Pinspiration, Simon and I set out to make our very own.

It was remarkably simple - thanks to Simon who actually did it all! It took a few hours, but luckily he is a patient man!

We used a styrofoam wreath as a base, and Simon cut a piece of wood to glue the base on to, in order to give it some stability and so we could attach a hook to it to hang it from our front door.

Then, armed with a shed load of red and green buttons and our glue gun, he set to work. He simple blobbed glue onto the sytrofoam base, and carefully placed the buttons on to give maximum coverage of the base. Several hours later, and with the addition of a big bow, it was all finished and ready to hang on our front door.

We usually make a 'normal' wreath, using oasis and holly etc, but this wreath is not only a little bit different, but it will last us for as long as we want to use it!

Stay tuned for a look at some of our button Christmas cards at some point in the next few weeks!

Friday, 6 December 2013

Sensory Play: treasure baskets

I mentioned in my last post that Isabelle has a "treasure basket", so today's post is all about treasure baskets - what they are and what's in ours. I first read about treasure baskets over at The Imagination Tree (a great resource for lots of play ideas), and have heard lots about them at my Baby Sensory class, and had been meaning to make one for a while, but never quite got round to it. A friend shared with me some pictures of the amazing treasure basket she made for her son, and that spurred me into action to finally get Isabelle's together.

Treasure baskets (or as my friend calls it a 'box o' crap'!) are based on the idea of heuristic play - basically that babies and children have a natural curiosity to explore every day items. Ever had to wrestle your phone/remote/keys off your little one? That is a perfect example of a little creating their own heuristic play experience - they are taking an everyday object and exploring it. What does it look like, what does it feel like, what can it do?

A treasure basket is basically a load of 'everyday items' that you have gathered together, and deemed safe for your little to play with. They are items which they are free to explore, play with and learn about in whatever way they see fit. While doing that, they learn about different textures, colours, sounds, weights, sizes and smells. They can explore how things fit together, and learn how to put one thing inside something else, or simply how to throw lots of different things! The whole time, they are perfecting their fine motor skills while picking things up, and making independent decisions about what they want to play with, and what they want to do with each item. To make it, simply choose things you don't need or use regularly (or at all) and which you think your little might find interesting. You should try to include a vast range of items to include lots of textures, sizes, shapes, colours, sounds and purposes to help extend the sensory side of the basket. Traditionally, they basket should be round and low so a a little one can access it from all sides, and should be presented to your little just a few times a week so they don't get bored with the items. Similarly, most ideas say to regularly rotate the items, and you can even 'theme' the basket - for example circles, shiny, natural items.

To make Isabelle's treasure basket I used an old basket in which we had previously kept dog toys, then, I went round the house and poked in all the kitchen drawers, and anywhere I thought things may be lurking, and gathered up the bounty below! Literally....a box o' crap!

Amongst other things I included a hot water bottle stopper, a whistle, a fake flower, a cookie cutter, a cat collar, a Play Doh tub filled with rice, a flip-flop, wooden blocks, coasters, a flashing ball, a DVD, a duster and some teething toys.

I know I won't regularly rotate items, so instead I collected loads and I keep them in the larger basket, but present them to Isabelle in a smaller, round basket. That way, I am presenting different items each time, and keeping the play times fresh. Her favourite items so far are an old watch, a cup from a flask, the fake flower and the Christmas baubles! She is given play time with the treasure basket 3-4 times a week, and the items are great for distracting her for a few minutes during nappy changes, or while I dry my hair! I am now on permanent look out at home and in shops for extra bits to add in, as my treasure basket is seriously lacking compared to many!

Personally, two things I like about treasure baskets are that they are cheap, and they are very open ended. Unlike many toys, which do one or two things and that is all, treasure baskets have endless opportunities. A little can do whatever they want with the items, and interact with them in a variety of ways, which helps work their imaginations, and decision making.

So, a cheap and cheerful way to present your little with opportunities for sensory play, even just for a few minutes at a time. Next time they try to grab their phone, give them an old one from a drawer, and then drop it into your treasure basket for future use! You'll be amazed at how the explore the items we have deemed not worthy for every day use.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Simple Sensory Play Ideas: Rice Trays

I've mentioned in the past that Izzy and I attend baby sensory classes, and I have been gathering up ideas for how we can introduce sensory play activities into our routine at home as well. Pinterest has, as always, loads of inspiration, and I am slowly but surely starting to gather together lots of sensory play items for Isabelle, to try and extend her experiences at home and move away from simply playing with the same old toys every day, and help her develop her senses and skills.

Over the next while I'll be sharing with you some of the sensory play activities we do, and since I am a pretty lazy momma (with zero creativity), the truth is that if I can do these, ANYONE can!

Our "rice tray" sensory activity was a big hit, and was so simple and quick to set up. It's not the most impressive looking rice tray I've ever seen, but Isabelle really enjoyed it. I simply took a casserole dish, and covered the bottom in uncooked, rice, and added some of her wooden blocks, before setting her up with it on our yoga mat so any spills would be easily cleaned up.

She started by simply plunging her hand into the rice and grabbing a handful, which she then studied closely, before letting it fall through her fingers. We (I!) talked about the texture of the rice, and what sound it made when we let it fall back into the tray, and onto the wooden shapes I had included, and then later onto a metal tin. Isabelle then decided what she wanted to do with all the rice - take it out and pile it up next to her on the mat.

She spent fifteen minutes or so simply picking up handfuls and dumping them beside her. I brought out the scoop from her treasure basket (more on this soon!) and showed her how to scoop the rice, and poured it out over her hands to let her feel the rice differently, then let her have the scoop. She promptly began to eat it, then discarded it and went back to using her hands!

After about 20 minutes she had had enough of the rice and played with the green elephant block, until she got distracted by a cardboard box which arrived with her Christmas presents in it! One thing that really intrigued me about this activity was that Isabelle ONLY used her left hand to lift out the rice. I had set the tray slightly to her left hand side, but not so much so that she couldn't use her right hand. Maybe she'll end up being a leftie?

This was a very quick activity which kept Izzy entertained for around half an hour, and helped her explore texture, sound, and helped her improve her fine motor skills. To make it more interesting in future, I could dye the rice to make it more visually stimulating, and once she is better at scooping and pouring, some extra toys to do that with will be a big hit I think! My simple rice tray certainly wasn't up to the standard of some of these creations - which would be a big hit with older kids and would tie in really well with different exploration themes:

I have lots more sensory play ideas up my sleeve, and can't wait to start introducing more of these activities to Isabelle, to help liven up our days, especially during the cold, wet winter months ahead.

What are your favourite sensory play activities?

Sunday, 1 December 2013

New look...

I'd gotten a little bored with the pinky/peach of the blog so decided to go for a change. I'm not 100% sure I like we'll see how we get on!

Thanksgiving week: Sunday's thanks..

And finally, Sunday's thanks: no words can describe how unbelievably thankful I am for this pair...
(and for this ridiculous photo of Isabelle!)

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