time flies when you're being a mum

Time to Learn tagged with 'sensory play'

This category is all about learning and development and things to trying with your baby or toddler. I’m learning too so if you have any suggestions, send them my way.


Cooking with toddlers

Oct
02nd
2014

Pea and Sweetcorn mini omelettes

02 Oct, 2014

So, Reuben is a fussy eater. He likes a few set meals and while his diet is balanced, it’s not what you would call varied! A good while ago I read nearly every post on a site called Your Kids Table, in which the author and Paediatric occupational therapist, Alisha, discussed what to do if you think your child won’t eat certain foods because they don’t like the texture. Apparently sensory activities are great for this and can dramatically improve what your child will eat. She has handily put together this fab post full of sensory bin ideas, and we have been starting small (and slow because there aren’t enough hours in the day!). Today I’m sharing a part sensory, part cooking experiment I did with Reuben a few weeks ago…I call it cooking with toddlers, but really this was more about learning through play than eating!

Cooking with Toddlers – Pea and Sweetcorn mini omelettes

1. Firstly, I gave Reuben a bowl of frozen peas (nice and cold sensory explosion!), a bowl of sweetcorn, a spoon and a mixing jug. I let him explore without interfering and the first thing he did was stick his hand into the peas and gives one a try. *punches air* Progress already!

Cooking with toddlers is a great idea, especially for fussy eaters (he actually eats some at the end!!)! And it's a fun sensory activity too. Here we make mini omelettes using frozen peas and sweetcorn. Click here for instructions: http://mumsdays.com/cooking-with-toddlers/

Cooking with toddlers is a great idea, especially for fussy eaters (he actually eats some at the end!!)! And it's a fun sensory activity too. Here we make mini omelettes using frozen peas and sweetcorn. Click here for instructions: http://mumsdays.com/cooking-with-toddlers/

This is a bit cold!

2. He then went about moving the peas, first with the spoon and then he just tipped the whole lot into the jug.

Cooking with toddlers is a great idea, especially for fussy eaters (he actually eats some at the end!!)! And it's a fun sensory activity too. Here we make mini omelettes using frozen peas and sweetcorn. Click here for instructions: http://mumsdays.com/cooking-with-toddlers/

3. On to the sweetcorn – look at the lovely mix of colours! He didn’t want to touch or try the sweetcorn, but that’s OK, all in good time. He enjoyed having a mix and making a mess!

Cooking with toddlers is a great idea, especially for fussy eaters (he actually eats some at the end!!)! And it's a fun sensory activity too. Here we make mini omelettes using frozen peas and sweetcorn. Click here for instructions: http://mumsdays.com/cooking-with-toddlers/

4. Then once he had made a good ol’ mess, we scooped everything up (the surfaces and his hands were clean!) into a bowl and cracked in some eggs. At this point I encouraged him to mix with the fork and kept an eye on him to make sure he didn’t put it in his mouth.

Cooking with toddlers is a great idea, especially for fussy eaters (he actually eats some at the end!!)! And it's a fun sensory activity too. Here we make mini omelettes using frozen peas and sweetcorn. Click here for instructions: http://mumsdays.com/cooking-with-toddlers/

5. Then we cooked the mixture. Now this was the tricky bit, hence no photos, but I really wanted him to see how it went from a runny mess into little omelettes. I spooned some mixture into the pan but was very careful to keep him away from the heat. He was genuinely interested to see what was going on! Then once the mini omelettes had cooled a little, we sat at the table and he tried some. He didn’t eat it all or even much more than a mouthful but hands down, there is no way he would have tried some if he hadn’t been so involved…

Cooking with toddlers is a great idea, especially for fussy eaters (he actually eats some at the end!!)! And it's a fun sensory activity too. Here we make mini omelettes using frozen peas and sweetcorn. Click here for instructions: http://mumsdays.com/cooking-with-toddlers/

So, a little success with our first attempt at cooking with toddlers. I find that it’s quite difficult to think of other things we could make together.

Do you do any cooking with toddlers? What recipes would you recommend?

I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments below and feel free to link to any posts you’ve done about it!

More Sensory Play

Jun
25th
2014

25 Jun, 2014

After reading yesterday all about how sensory play could be the key to helping Reuben eat a wider variety of food, I scoured the house in search of ‘sensory stuff’. I already had the original sensory box full of pinto beans, bow ties, garden tools and some plastic eggs, but Reuben was pretty bored of that, so I was on the hunt for something new and I found these things…

1. some little trucks that Reuben LOVES

2. some little animals he’s less interested in ATM

3. some sugar, salt and gluten free rice puffs that look and taste like polystyrene – yak

4. some Tupperware

Sensory play using stuff around the house! Rice puffs, pinto beans, bow tie pasta, little toys, they all make for great sensory play! http://www.mumsdays.com/more-sensory-play/

I chose to go with the rice and diggers, set a blanket outside and put the box in the middle to try and catch as much of the polystyrene ‘rice’ as possible (it will never hold it all)! And this is how it went down.

Sensory play using stuff around the house! Rice puffs, pinto beans, bow tie pasta, little toys, they all make for great sensory play! http://www.mumsdays.com/more-sensory-play/

He ignored me for a few minutes because he was busy with his garage but once he spotted it, yeah man…oh at this point I should mention that Rueben is wearing a dirty t-shirt and some PJ bottoms. Keeping it real people.

Sensory play using stuff around the house! Rice puffs, pinto beans, bow tie pasta, little toys, they all make for great sensory play! http://www.mumsdays.com/more-sensory-play/

He delicately played for a few minutes picking up some puffs of rice and putting them in the tipper truck until…

Sensory play using stuff around the house! Rice puffs, pinto beans, bow tie pasta, little toys, they all make for great sensory play! http://www.mumsdays.com/more-sensory-play/

…he worked out they were edible and shoved the biggest handful into his mouth. Bearing in mind how minging they taste and he had previously refused them on these grounds, this is mainly because I’d been trying to get him to eat some different stuff at lunch by not giving him as much bread – it didn’t work so he was probably starving at this point.

Sensory play using stuff around the house! Rice puffs, pinto beans, bow tie pasta, little toys, they all make for great sensory play! http://www.mumsdays.com/more-sensory-play/

Sensory play using stuff around the house! Rice puffs, pinto beans, bow tie pasta, little toys, they all make for great sensory play! http://www.mumsdays.com/more-sensory-play/

He munched for a while, then tipped it all out (so glad of the blanket) and sat in it…

Sensory play using stuff around the house! Rice puffs, pinto beans, bow tie pasta, little toys, they all make for great sensory play! http://www.mumsdays.com/more-sensory-play/

…then danced in it…

Sensory play using stuff around the house! Rice puffs, pinto beans, bow tie pasta, little toys, they all make for great sensory play! http://www.mumsdays.com/more-sensory-play/

…and ran through it.

Sensory play using stuff around the house! Rice puffs, pinto beans, bow tie pasta, little toys, they all make for great sensory play! http://www.mumsdays.com/more-sensory-play/

Quite fun really!

Do you do any sensory play with your kids? What sort of everyday stuff do you use?

24 Jun, 2014

I’ve been through a range of emotions today about picky eaters thanks to an AMAZING website I’ve just come across, called Your Kid’s Table written by Alisha Grogan, a paediatric occupational therapist. The site is a wealth of fascinating information about early child development, weaning, sensory play and helping picky eaters.

Starting with this article, 5 Reasons Kids Refuse to Eat, it has completely opened my eyes about what could potentially be causing Reuben’s eating habits.

I’ve mentioned before that Reuben eats a very limited amount of food (unless it’s junk or pudding) – it’s not the quantity that’s the problem but the variety. He’s definitely a hungry boy but despite the large array of food I put in front of him, he would (and does) eat toast and fruit for every meal. I try to not let it bother me but it’s bubbling under the surface all the time just waiting for some PMT to bring it out. One of the things that definitely stood out from Alicia’s top 5 was her description of Sensory.

“Simply put, if something feels gross in their mouth or on their hands, they aren’t going to eat it.”

I think Reuben could have this! It would explain why he won’t even touch stew or mashed potato, and would also explain his issue with have wet things (that he will eat, like porridge or scrambled eggs) on his hands or clothes.

How sensory play can help your picky eaters to eat! http://www.mumsdays.com/sensory-play/

Alisha suggests that to get over this kids should do lots of sensory play and playing with food to get used to different textures. One of things you can do is the good old sensory bin – do you remember I did one with Reuben back in Easter time? She has a bunch of ideas for both wet and dry sensory bins here, many of which I bet you have in your house right now! But she also mentions more physical things like this awesome looking Sensory Pillow Mountains because “Movement and exploration are also key components to many more sensory play ideas”. I had no idea but I’m well up for that on Saturday morning!

How sensory play can help your picky eaters to eat! http://www.mumsdays.com/sensory-play/

Chicken salad and sandwich

She also suggests that after a meal, any uneaten food should be played with. We did this yesterday with Reuben’s ‘chicken salad’. There was no way on God’s green earth he was going to eat it, but having it on the same plate and then playing with it was totally progress! Once he had finished his sandwich (this photo was a bit of an afterthought and he’d already eaten one of them), we lifted it up and dropped the pieces, and then I got him a pot and moved some bits to it, trying to encourage him to count. He wasn’t that interested but he did touch it and I felt it was a start!

It’s going to be slow going but at least I feel like I have an actual strategy! Thank you Alisha, your site is a veritable goldmine. Bedtime reading for the next few months?!

Do you have any picky eaters? Have you had any success with introducing some of the ideas above and getting them to eat more?! Or are you with me and going to give it a try?

Toddler activities

14 Apr, 2014

Following on from the half a dozen Easter Activities Post, I’ve been working on my Family Tree Egg Hunt today! Lots of cutting and sticking but since it was sunny I sat outside to do it while Reuben played with the Easter Sensory Box (as inspired by No Time for Flash Cards)…

Toddler Easter Sensory box - Egg hunt

I know people say that toddlers love this kind of thing but I was dubious as to whether Reuben would. Well, he absolutely loved it! Played for ages really concentrating on filling the pots or the eggs, and using each of the garden tools. There was a moment that he tried to tip the whole thing up but I was close at hand to save the day. Also, to stop him putting anything in his mouth/retrieving the things he did put in his mouth. He didn’t do it often but definitely bare in mind that you want to keep an eye on little ones.

I did a bit of a rampage at Sainsbury’s and the whole thing cost just over £6.  It was really easy to do and this is what I used to make it:

  • Tub (that everything goes into) – £1
  • Plant pots – £1 for 10
  • Fillable eggs – £2 for 8
  • Pinto beans – £1.10
  • Farfalle (bow tie pasta!) Tricolour – £0.95

I also put in some dried green lentils but they were lost so don’t bother! I was meant to add some little insects and sequins but I forgot. Next time!

Toddler Easter Sensory box - Egg hunt

The Family Tree Egg Hunt

Anyway, on to the main affair… The Family Tree Egg Hunt! Reuben LOVES chocolate and cake and all sweet things so the option of having an egg hunt with real chocolate ain’t on the cards. I figured this would be a nice alternative!

My theory behind this is that I wasn’t sure if I could get Reuben excited about collecting just eggs, so with the added dimension of there being people he knows on the back might make it more interesting for him.

Turns out, all I needed to do was dot them about, give him a bucket and tell him to pick them up! He did also enjoy turning them over to see who was there, so I think we’re going to enjoy playing with these over the next few days (months!).

Toddler Easter Egg Hunt - Easter Activities

All you need is:

  • A bunch of old Birthday cards;
  • Some photos of your nearest and dearest;
  • Some scissors; and
  • Pritstick
Toddler Easter Egg Hunt - Easter Activities

1. Cut your bunch of cards in to egg shapes (don’t worry too much, some of mine are very dubious eggs! I did consider using cookie cutters but they were a bit small)

Toddler Easter Egg Hunt - Easter Activities

2. Stick them onto your photos – I held them up to the sun to make sure they were in the right place, then cut the paper to size.

Toddler Easter Egg Hunt - Easter Activities

3. “Hide” them – you could probably hide them in more imaginative places than I did but I was mainly just gauging his interest! I’ll try more challenging places tomorrow.

Toddler Easter Egg Hunt - Easter Activities

That’s it!

What do you think? Do you fancy giving the Family Tree Egg Hunt or the Easter Sensory Box a go?!

12 Apr, 2014

With being at home with Reuben most of the week, I’ve started to think more about what to do with him. Activities that might challenge him but be enjoyable. It’s quite hard though because I basically don’t know much about toddlers! I know Reuben, and the things he likes. But then he’ll surprise me. He spent an hour and a half one evening last week playing with his new cooker, pretending to pour ‘hot teeeeeeea’ into the little cups. So he’s definitely able to concentrate for a while on one activity but I’m unable to predict what it would be. Since we’re coming up to Easter, I thought it might be fun to hunt out some Easter Activities that we could try this week!

As a guide to doing activities/anything with toddlers I highly recommend you read Hands on as We Grow’s toddler activities advice as it’ll help you get in the right head space and hopefully prevent you getting too frustrated!

Half a dozen Easter Activities for Toddlers! Sensory play for little ones http://www.mumsdays.com/easter-activities-toddlers/

Half a Dozen Easter Activities for Toddlers

1. Spring Sensory Box – By No Time for Flash Cards

I’ve done quite a bit of reading today about Montessori education  (thank you Wikipedia). Fascinating! And what an amazing woman. I just assumed Montessori was a man but it’s totally a woman in the early 1900s revolutionising education. Anyhoo, this kind of sensory box embraces the Montessori ideals and is fascinating to a toddler, lots of little things to try and find, and in theory they should be happy playing independently with this box for a while!

2. Bunny ears hat – Spoonful

I think I would have to do most of this activity but it looks really easy and I think if I put a little mirror somewhere for him so he could see himself, he’d enjoy wearing the ears and playing with them for a while. They also mention using easter stickers and I think Reuben would enjoy doing that bit.

3. Egg decorating part 1

My thought for this is to literally give him some eggs and some felt tips. I think he would enjoy actually holding the egg whilst colouring. Again stickers would probably be popular!

You can get 10 fake eggs on EBay for £2.23 and as ever Paperchase have some lush stickers for £1.50.

4. Egg decorating part 2, sparkly eggs – Parents

If I’m feeling brave and the weather is nice, I recon we could do this…I could do glue dots on an egg, and then Reuben could roll the egg in some glitter in a tray. This would all have to happen outside though and I guess I should expect him to throw the glitter everywhere if he’s not interested in rolling the eggs in it. The garden could look really pretty with glitter everywhere though!

5. Easter baskets – Pretty Little Party Shop

Reuben loves things with handles. Buckets, bags and baskets are all popular for carrying around. This idea from Pretty Little Party Shop is so simple and easy, that it wouldn’t matter if he wrecked it with his usual style of rough play! I think he’d enjoy taking things out or collecting up the eggs he’s been decorating.

6. Family Tree Egg Hunt – No Time for Flash Cards

I’m using No Time for Flash Cards’ idea of a family tree peak-a-boo but instead I’m going to stick family pictures on eggs made from old birthday cards. I’ll then ‘hide’ them around the garden and see if I can entice Reuben to go hunting for them with his baskets. I think the pictures will be the key for him to get engaged with this game…I’ll do a post about this once we’ve done it to let you know how it went!

What Easter Activities are you going to try with your little ones? Feel free to leave your links in the comments section!