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emilia keriene

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Pretend play

Fire engine fun

Making the large cardboard fire engine sparked a week of fire engine and firemen activities for us.

kerienefiremancraft

– cardboard tube firemen and dalmatians (dalmatian inspired by these reindeer)

kerienefireenginewordmatch

– fire engine word match (inspired by this number match game)

kerienefireenginecraft

– fire engine stained glass windows

kerienefireengines

– build-a-fire engine felt board

– fire engine cut out cards

– fire engine cake

kerienefirestationvisit

– firemen “thank you”s and a visit to the local fire station

{See here for more firemen related activities}

xo

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Ice Cream

kerieneicecream

We have been escaping the summer heat with some ice cream fun, it’s been one of the most fun themes we’ve done together.

– ice cream taste testing

– making our own 3-ingredient ice cream (using these instructions)

– ice cream cookies

kerieneicecreamart

– painting with shaving cream (the little man put ice cream all the way inside the cone to surprise the person who eats the ice cream)

– rhyming words (and one that doesn’t quite fit. Idea from here)

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– cardboard ice cream stand

kerieneicecreamtrucks

– cardboard ice cream delivery trucks

xo

Box Horses

kerieneboxhorses

Getting ready for some preschooler-friendly Melbourne Cup horse racing fun this week. Inspired by this pin.

kerieneboxhorses2

xo

Playdough {Part 3}

kerieneplaydoughpost2

We have had a lot of fun with playdough over the past few weeks and I have used more cream of tartar than cumulatively across the rest of my life. I use the recipe my mum handed down to me which is very similar to the first of these recipes. I have used gel food colourings to get bright colours, and some of the playdough in these posts was store-bought. The little man and I have experimented with the slightly different textures of the three types of dough we used, some are easier to work with, some are smoother.

Nurture Store and The Imagination Tree have great playdough inspiration and recipes if you are looking for ideas. Here’s what has filled our weeks lately. Part 1 {here} and Part 2 {here}.

kerieneplaydoughpost1 kerieneplaydoughpost2

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kerieneplaydoughsesamest

– Sesame Street. We experimented with different ways to make the characters look furry – pinching, rolling then attaching small pieces, scraping with a fork, piping and pushing the playdough through items with small holes (like a garlic press, lemon juicer or sieve). The sieve gave the best fur.

kerieneplaydoughsesamecollage

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kerieneplaydoughphonics

– Squashing phonics. We found and squashed different letter sounds, and used some of them to make a few words. Inspired by this shaving cream version. The little man enjoyed sticking the alphabet letters onto the playdough balls as much as he did squashing them.

kerieneplaydoughphonics2

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kerieneplaydoughmovies

– Movie Theatre. The little man loved this one (again, one of his own ideas). He declared himself the only person who works at the movies, making the popcorn, selling the tickets, putting the DVD in and pressing play, turning off the lights and so on. I included scissors, tongs and a scoop for different fine motor skills and some numbers for him to count out popcorn or corn kernels. To my surprise, this was the tray that had the most use of them all.

kerieneplaydoughmovies2

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kerieneplaydoughbuilder

– Builder. Inspired by this and this.

kerieneplaydoughbuilder2

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kerieneplaydoughramps

– Ramps. The little man has been interested in cylinders lately so we used this tray to explore which shapes and sizes would roll down the ramps or through a tube and whether they needed to be rotated a particular way. Inspired by this.

kerieneplaydoughramps2

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kerieneplaydoughdoctor

– Doctor. I love how, if you look carefully in the bottom right picture below, the little man gave his patient a Band-Aid.

kerieneplaydoughdoctor2

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kerieneplaydoughpolar

– Polar. This was one of my favourite trays. Inspired by this.

kerieneplaydoughpolar2

xo

 

 

 

 

 

Playdough {Part 2}

kerieneplaydoughpost2

Playdough is great for open-ended play. I have tried to use a variety of role play, small world play, reading and speech and maths when making up these trays for the little man, and of course it is also good for fine motor skills. There are lots of sites that explain more about the benefits of playdough, including here and here. I’ve enjoyed watching the little man come up with ideas, both of types of trays we could do and also what to do with the things on the trays.

Nurture Store and The Imagination Tree have great playdough inspiration and recipes if you are looking for ideas. Here’s what has filled our weeks lately. Part 1 {here} and Part 3 {here}.

kerieneplaydoughpost1 kerieneplaydoughpost2

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kerieneplaydoughflorist

– Florist

kerieneplaydoughflorist2

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kerieneplaydoughdinosaur

– Dinosaur. The little man enjoyed the volcano we made recently so we happily made another (we used these instructions). He quite liked dunking the dinosaurs into it, then walking them along the playdough. Here is an elaborate playdough dinosaur world.

kerieneplaydoughdinosaur2

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kerieneplaydoughcolourmix

– Colour mixing, which is great for fine motor skills and concentration as getting the colours to completely mix is hard work.

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kerieneplaydoughbus

– Bus, which I used to focus on rolling, using cookie cutters, shapes, colours and words so the bus itself could be easily substituted with anything you like. I used cardboard to make the bus and shapes but there are plenty of printable playdough mats you could use instead, some are available here.

kerieneplaydoughbus2

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kerieneplaydough

– Craft box. This is not all that different from what we generally use when we play with playdough – a mix of things from Play-Doh sets and anything we find in the craft box. Advice on setting up a playdough tool box can be found here and here.

kerieneplaydough2

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kerieneplaydoughbeach

– Ocean. (Excuse the lighting in these photos – the little man was so keen for more playdough that we did this tray after dinner one evening). There are gorgeous printable sea creatures that can be added to playdough available here.

kerieneplaydoughbeach2

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kerieneplaydoughconstruction

– Construction site, using edible peanut butter and chocolate playdoughs. We did a similar tray almost a year ago, which was inspired by this, and it is certainly fun (I am surprised I haven’t recreated it sooner). The playdough recipes I used are from here and here.

kerieneplaydoughconstruction2

xo

Playdough {Part 1}

kerieneplaydoughpost1

The little man has always liked playdough and, after receiving a Play-Doh package from some overseas friends, has been asking for it incessantly. So I had planned to make a few special trays for him rather than just getting out our standard materials. He had greater plans suggesting, ‘How about Sesame Street playdough now? How about doctor playdough and fireman playdough? Bus playdough? …’ turning my one week concept into almost a month of ideas, most of which were his own. I have loved how he has built on and repurposed the items on the trays, doing far more than I had in mind.

Nurture Store and The Imagination Tree have great playdough inspiration and recipes if you are looking for ideas. Here’s what has filled our weeks lately. Part 2 {here} and Part 3 {here}.

kerieneplaydoughpost2 kerieneplaydoughpost2

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kerieneplaydoughforest

– A forest. The little man soon turned this into a retelling of Donaldson and Scheffler, The Gruffalo.  Dial Books for Young Readers, 1999.

kerieneplaydoughforest2

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kerieneplaydoughspace2

– Space (I added black food colouring gel and glitter to my usual playdough recipe). Inspired by this.

kerieneplaydoughspace

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kerieneplaydoughcolourmatch

– Colour matching. The little man alternated colour matching with colour mixing. Inspired by this.

kerieneplaydoughcolourmatch2

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kerieneplaydoughsensory

– Sensory playdough. We had aromatic playdough (lavender, mint, peanut, gingerbread, coconut, chocolate and orange), edible (peanut butter and chocolate) and tactile (polenta, corn kernels, rice and pasta pieces). Inspired by some of these.

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kerieneplaydoughbakery

– Bakery, baking bread and cupcakes. I also used this tray to look at the different patterns that utensils leave in playdough. Inspired by this.

kerieneplaydoughbakery2

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kerieneplaydoughfiremen

– Firemen. The little man suggested that we add a cat up a tree for the firemen to rescue.

kerieneplaydoughfiremen2

xo

Box Car Tutorial {Part 2 – larger truck}

kerieneboxtrucktutorial1

Thanks for your interest in our box vehicles and for your patience while waiting for this tutorial. These larger trucks each use 1.5 nappy/diaper boxes, for cars using only one box see Part 1 – simple car. For dump truck ideas see here. You could also make a larger truck using the same techniques from these tutorials out of a larger box, for example this large fire engine was made from a box approximately 150cm x 80cm x 80cm (60″ x 31.5″ x 31.5″).

kerieneboxtrucktutorial2

Supplies:

-two boxes (I have used nappy/diaper boxes but any box will work. The size and shape will impact the overall look of the truck, or how much trimming you need to do to get a shape that you are happy with. Depending on the design you want for your truck, the boxes could be different sizes)

-tape (I have used packing tape and double sided tape)

-scissors or craft knife

-coloured cardboard for decorating the car (I have used 3 pieces of green cardboard to cover the nappy/diaper boxes with some to spare but you may wish to have extra available, plus pieces of other colours for details)

Optional supplies:

-thick cardboard pieces to add details or for reinforcement

-ruler

-pen or sharpie for adding details

-circular objects to trace around and/or stencils for adding details such as wheels and windows

-string or ribbon to add straps or handles

kerieneboxtrucktutorial

1. Cut one box in half sideways

2. Choose the design you want for your truck. The title photo of this tutorial shows some potential designs:

-Bus: back and side flaps removed from the whole box, front flap vertical for a windshield and half box attached to front

-Fire engine: all flaps removed from the whole box and half box attached at back

-Delivery truck: all flaps vertical on the whole box and half box attached to front

For the garbage truck, cut off the front and side flaps of the whole box and tape the back flap horizontally, this will create a larger top of the truck. If this makes the box too small for your child to fit in, simply remove the back flap also. Cut the half box diagonally to create the hopper, leaving an edge at the top and an edge at the back. The measurements I used left an 11cm (just under 4.5 inches) edge at the top and 7cm (just over 2.5 inches) edge at the back, but vary these according to the size and shape of your box and the design you wish to have. I also cut out a small section of the back edge for interest.

Keep the large piece of cut off cardboard if you wish to make a flap for the back. Trim it so the fold meets the top edge of the hopper with a large enough width to tape to the top inside of the hopper. I also cut out a small section in the middle at the bottom of this flap for interest.

If you know you wish to remove the bottom of the box (see step #8), now is a good time to do it.

3. Attach the half box to the back of the whole box with packing tape (the flap will be attached in step #6).

kerieneboxtrucktutorial2

4. Cover the cab of the garbage truck. I used white cardboard, leaving overhang, and attached it with packing tape.

5. Cover the sides of the garbage truck. I used green cardboard with overhang and attached with packing tape. Where the green meets the white cab, I used double sided tape for a clean edge, however packing tape would be fine here too. Cover the flap, leaving overhang, and using packing tape.

6. Cover the top and back of the garbage truck. I like to cut the cardboard to size and attach with double sided tape, however packing tape would be fine here too. Attach the flap to the inside of the hopper so that the fold is at the top edge.

kerieneboxtrucktutorial5

7. Decorate the garbage truck.  I have added wheels, windows, safety stripe, safety lights, headlights, break lights and a recycling symbol. The complexity is completely up to you. You could add a steering wheel, doors, grille, wing mirrors and so on. The title photo of this tutorial gives some inspiration for adding details to make different types of trucks.

kerieneboxtrucktutorial6

8. If your truck is for stuffed animal friends or if you are keen to push your little one around, you could leave the bottom of the box intact. If your child is older and will run around in the box, cut out the bottom for them to stand in. I leave mine like this and the little man holds the box itself but you could add either handles or straps by making holes in the sides and attaching string or ribbon.

kerieneboxtrucktutorialbus

Enjoy! (Yes, we still have the bus from almost a year ago!)

Please let me know if there is anything that could be clearer or if you have other questions.

Click the photos below to see other designs in our box vehicle fleet.

xo

kerienelargeboxfireenginefront

kerieneicecreamtrucks

kerieneatmtruck1

kerieneboat

kerienechristmascar

kerieneboxdumptruck

Box Car Tutorial {Part 1 – simple car}

kerieneboxcartutorial

Thanks for your interest in our box vehicles and for your patience while waiting for this tutorial, I hope it helps. Part 2 – larger truck – is here.

kerieneboxcartutorial2

Supplies:

-a box (I have used nappy/diaper boxes but any box will work. The size and shape will impact the overall look of the car, or how much trimming you need to do to get a shape that you are happy with)

-tape (I have used packing tape and double sided tape)

-scissors or craft knife

-coloured cardboard for decorating the car (I have used 2 pieces of orange cardboard to cover the nappy/diaper box with very little to spare so you may wish to have extra available, plus pieces of other colours for details)

Optional supplies:

-thick cardboard pieces to add details (such as a windshield) or for reinforcement

-ruler

-pen or sharpie for adding details

-circular objects to trace around and/or stencils for adding details such as wheels and windows

-string or ribbon to add straps or handles

kerieneboxcartutorial3

1. Unfold the flaps of the box and choose the design you want for your car. The title photo of this tutorial shows some potential designs:

-Post van: back flap vertical, front flap horizontal and side flaps trimmed

-Delivery van, ambulance: back flap vertical, front flap horizontal, side flaps trimmed and extra cardboard added for a windshield

-Police car: back flap removed, front flap horizontal and side flaps trimmed and shaped with curves

I chose to give this car both a bonnet and boot, so trimmed both the back and front flaps to each be 6cm (just under 2.5 inches). This was about half the length of the flaps. I then trimmed the side pieces, cutting 6cm off each end and cutting diagonally inward to 11cm (just under 4.5 inches). I’ve given these measurements as a guide, vary them according to the size and shape of your box and the design you wish to have.

At this point, if you know you wish to remove the bottom of the box (see step 6) it is a good time to do it.

2. Tape the back and front flaps to the sides of the box to keep them in place. I also used the halves of the flaps which I had removed to reinforce the sides of the box at the fold.

3. Cover the sides of the box. I like to cover the sides first, with some overhang. I use packing tape which will be inside or underneath the box or will be covered in the next step.

4. Cover the back and front of the box. I like to cut the cardboard to size and use double sided tape to give a clean edge, however packing tape would be fine here too. I allow overhang under the box and under the back and front flaps.

kerieneboxcartutorial4

5. Decorate the box. I cut cardboard to make windows, wheels, lights, a back bumper bar and stripes for interest, using double sided tape to attach them, then drew a grille with a sharpie. The complexity is completely up to you. You could add a steering wheel, wing mirrors, doors, a racing stripe or flame, and so on. Since taking these photos, the little man suggested this could be a taxi so we have added a semicircular sign on the top of each side saying, ‘Taxi’. The title photo of this tutorial gives you some inspiration for turning your car into types of cars and vans.

kerieneboxcartutorial5

6. If your box car is for stuffed animal friends or if you are keen to push your little one around, you could leave the bottom of the box intact. If your child is older and will run around in the box, cut out the bottom of the box for them to stand in. I leave mine like this and the little man holds the box itself but you could add either handles or straps by making holes in the sides and attaching string or ribbon.

kerieneboxcartutorialtaxi

Enjoy!

Please let me know if there is anything that could be clearer or if you have other questions. Click the photos below to see other designs in our box vehicle fleet.

xo

kerienelargeboxfireenginefront

kerieneicecreamtrucks

kerieneatmtruck1

kerieneboat

kerienechristmascar

kerieneboxdumptruck

Felt Macarons

kerienefeltmacarons

A friend recently gave her daughter a play kitchen for her 2nd birthday and I wanted to help her stock it. Her love for macarons made them the obvious choice.

kerienefeltmacarons2

They are made largely using this tutorial.

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All packaged and ready to be posted (better late than never, sorry R!).

kerienefeltmacarons4

xo

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