Monthly Archives: April 2013



Having found the inspiration from reading all the terrific links on Edspire’s Messy Play for Matilda Mae linky, I decided to make some gloop cornflour and water) and allow both boys the opportunity to explore.  I haven’t had a chance yet to research whether there is an identifiable gender difference in willingness to get messy but it was certainly the case that Toby didn’t like having it on his hands, although he did allow me to drip some on before insisting that we washed it off.



I’d coloured some yellow and some green and Toby enjoyed trying to mix them up (not easy!).  He chose to tip some out into the tuff spot and then really enjoyed putting his foot on it.  I say ‘on’ it as the stuff is so wierd, it turns solid with the application of pressure.  For some reason, getting feet dirty is not as bad as hands and he enjoyed then making footprints…

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Harry, however, got completely stuck in and enjoyed it with all his senses!

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Lots of messy fun!


Muddy waters


This week’s messy play took place outside…Hurrah!!

Quite simply, Toby and I planted some seeds and I then put some spare compost in one side of his water table and water in the other.  He merrily spent ages pouring water onto the compost and then finding stones to ‘plant’!


He didn’t, however, want to put his hands in to retrieve the stones and its got me thinking…. Quite a few of the posts linked up here on Edspire’s ‘Messy Play for Matilda Mae’ Linky contain a common theme of boys not wanting to get too messy.  Obviously its not universal (Edspire’s little boy, William, certainly enjoys getting stuck in!) but there have been enough to get me wondering about a gender difference.  Anyone got any thoughts?? Think I might do a bit of research.  Will report if I find anything!

Edspire </p><p>Messy Play

Things I’ve enjoyed since the sun has come out


Sitting on the back steps blowing bubbles with Toby.

Putting Harry in the swing for the first time and seeing him smile and laugh when Toby pushed him.

The boys eating a snack outside sitting on the picnic rug.

Going for a walk with a friend and our little ones round University Park in Oxford and feeling lucky to have such spaces on our doorstep.

Noticing the tulips that are just about to pop in the garden.

Opening the windows!

Letting Harry feel the grass for the first time. 

Watching Toby play with compost and water and not worrying about the mess.

Feeling the sun thawing my woes.


Cooking clouds


I’ve been out of the social media scene over the last week or so (new post coming soon to talk about why) but I know that Edspire is starting a ‘Tales from the Tuff spot’ weekly feature on her blog an once I get a moment, I’ll get up to speed and do a bit of joined up thinking as we use our Tuff spot at least once a week.  I did manage to link up to her ‘Messy Play for Matilda Mae‘ linky and am pondering all the activity surrounding the relaunch of FSIDs as the Lullaby Trust (please do take a look at advice for safe sleeping and support) but for now, this is simply our latest messy play adventure:

We’ve played with cloud dough quite a bit since I first made it, but our first batch’s time was up (it had been mixed with water beads in a pirate sea/sand adventure!) and so Toby and I made a new lot.

We used 7 parts flour to 1 part baby oil.  Toby very much enjoyed the pouring of the oil!


He wouldn’t, however, mix the flour and oil together; “Mummy do it” is a bit of a constant at the moment…

But he did want to add the sparkles (glitter):

IMG_2218I’d put out lots of different cooking utensils and some silicone cupcake holders. Toby chose to use the measuring spoons to fill the cases with ‘cakes’

IMG_2219 IMG_2223He then notice that we hang the utensils on some hooks in the kitchen an wanted to try to hang them back up. So I put the hooks on a lower rail an he spent ages practising hooking and unhooking….with the occasional, “Mummy do it”!

Harry and the basket full of buttons


Ok, so its wasn’t really a basket, but the title sounded better that way!

I bought Toby some buttons and thread from the ELC today, thinking that he would enjoy the fine-motor challenge (he tends to like quite meticulous play). This is to help prepare him for writing later on and as he doesn’t readily chose to draw /scribble/ explore conventional mark-making, I’m trying to encourage other games and play that support the development of skills  that will help with the control of writing equipment when he  is ready. I was really surprised at how well he managed to thread the buttons on his own (at 2 and a half) but in the end, Harry had more fun with them!

IMG_2227 IMG_2230In the end, the box became the most interesting part, but the buttons were great as they were just the right size to grab hold of but too big to swallow.



Painting nature


I  saw this on pinterest and this on Ghostwritermummy (thank you one and all) and thought that my little pickle might like to try something like this.  It would be a good way to get out into the great outdoors, as we’ve almost forgotten what fresh air feels like unless its biting cold, and the painting would allow a more closer look at the qualities of the objects that we found.  In the end, the painting of the natural objects took second place to painting ‘Grumps!’ but we still had fun collecting and exploring the different objects and FINALLY being outside!

My parents have a wood at the bottom of their garden and so we took a basket and went for a scavenge!


Toby liked the big stick the best…are little boys hard-wired to like big sticks???

IMG_2180 IMG_2182We also found bits of bark, some pieces of flint, pine cones and several smaller sticks.


Then Grumps showed Toby his compost bin and retrieved a worm…Toby liked this lots!

IMG_2184Whilst they were worm-fiddling, I set up this:


Harry didn’t think much of the bark but then he was really tired so I took him in and left the boys to it.


This is what happened:

IMG_2190 IMG_2192 IMG_2194As I wasn’t there, I don’t know how the conversation went but lots of fun was had and a bit of vitamin D absorbed…all to the good!