Mining for jewels

Ever heard of smurf village for I-pad?  I have it, I love the smurfs. They're so cute, it's a bit like FarmVille & those games on Face book (that I've never got into) but with smurfs they grow crops of fruit, bake cakes and build a hidden smurf village.  In my smurf village I have miner smurf and a game where you mine with a pick, finding gold, silver, rubies and jewels in rocks....
Dimples loves it, he always asks if he can check my smurf village just so he can mine for Jewels,  this was the inspiration for the mining activity I put together for him!

Using a small chisel and hammer, dimples mined for treasure just like mining smurf.  Days in advance I prepared his rocks using homemade play dough that had almost had its day. I got a palm full of dough and inserted a lucky stone, a pretend jewel, a marble or a foam shape in the centre and rolled it in so it was completely covered. once I had a dozen I put them on the window sill to dry!

After a few days of full sun, the dough rocks were hard all the way through and ready to be mined.
Miner dimples used his chisel and hammer to chip away at the rocks until he found a jewel. He told me he would mine out a crown for me as this is the highest scoring treasure in the smurf game that we haven't been able to find!  Unfortunately for me there were no crowns but he enjoyed mining the hidden jewels and imagining what could be.



My little miner found some treasures, cleaned them off & put them away in his treasure box.  It was good fun and a good activity for pretend play, imagination, hand/eye coordination & spatial concepts. Not to mention messy outdoor play

Happy Adventures  :)

Rainbow Gelatin Exploration

Jello, jelly, gelatin its all the same to me.
Its a cool sensory material that never gets boring.
Have you ever used it in play?


This was our first attempt of gelatin using the jar of powered gelatin and the colours of the Rainbow.
I can announce that we will definitely be trying it again, in bigger better ways....

Just the way it jiggles, shakes and wiggles, the smooth texture and the sense of the cool temperature on the tips of your fingers is enough for any child to want to play with it (and adult).


I prepared some colourful sheets of jelly using gelatin, all it needs is to be heated (not boiled) and dissolved in water and then add some food colouring and let it set in the fridge. I just poured a cup of individual colours on cooking paper in a tray the night before, not knowing whether it would work or not. Success! I'll have to get more of this stuff, that was so simple.

Dimples and his best buddy explored the wriggly texture of the jelly with their fingers pretending to mix and cook with it. They used measuring cups to "measure" it and some plastic knives and forks to slice it in to pieces.

Funnily enough, they held the bigger thicker pieces up to the light shaking and wobbling them, laughing at the funny movements it made. They experimented with tearing it up, squishing it between their fingers, chopping it with the knife and squashing it into a bowl pretending to make each other dinner. Mmmmmm Yum flavourless gelatin for dinner.

The gelatin is very fun used this way, its thicker and more pliable than your usual eating jelly, it is more like rubber and handles more from the playful preschooler than any jello would. It doesnt turned liquidy either, it stays in clumps and lasts much longer.
The boys tried mixing it and blending it together but the only success in that was making smaller pieces and more of a mess. They had a ball splatting it about and mucking around with it.

After the rainbow fiesta of wiggly wobbly fun, they piled it all back on to the tray and helped me clean it up like little angels......
That was until we arrived at the park later in the day and they were giggling and pointing at me, to their amusement I found the tiny rainbow chunks of jello they had put in my hair while i was down under the table and chairs trying to clean up.
Little Angels :)

Bolt Sorting, Matching & Stacking

Like all little boys Dimples loves anything that Daddy fiddles with in the yard. He is always keen to explore the shed, pretend to mow the lawn, build and fix things like Daddy does and play with tools. This bolt & nut play was perfect to keep him occupied on a beautiful sunny day as we tinkered around the yard.

This little activity is so simple and fits perfectly with role playing Mr. Fix it and with an extra learning bonus it offers some practise in fine motor skills, cognitive development in focus & attention, sorting by shape, length and by size, matching and stacking by size.

I started with a collection of different sized bolts and washes. A few different widths and a few different lengths, all with matching ends, Some had multiple ends. Just to make it interesting I added a padlock and keys in to see if Dimples could master it and find the right Key without guidance.

Dimples stacked the nuts up, it took alot of focus and concentration to do so.
Through cause and effect he learnt that he needed to stack it up with the large pieces on the bottom, decreasing to the smallest on top for the best and most stable stack of nuts.

He Balanced the bolts up on their ends. Balancing and sorting them from smallest to largest. Putting them all in a row and making a "fence".
Dimples matched the bolts to the right size nuts and had to concentrate on using his fine motor skills to twist and turn the nut up evenly onto the bolt without stripping it or getting it jammed.
He fiddled around experimenting on which way the nut goes depending on which way he spun it, up the bolt or back down.

Then came the Key, this was tricky. Dimples found the right key, at first it didn't fit so he turned it around and it didn't fit, after a few wiggles he got it in. The he had to manipulate it to hold on the padlock with one hand and turn the key in the correct direction with the other to pop it open.
He threaded some of the washes on to the padlock and lined it up, pushing it locked again.



Something so simple that we take for granted. I had never really considered the skills it takes to unlock a padlock or thread bolts. To a growing and learning mind of a 3 year old who has never opened a padlock before or had to use such focused fine motor skills, this is a huge accomplishment!

Glowing dragon Eggs by the Hulk

The story of the Glowing Magical Baby Dragon Eggs made by my Baby Hulk.

As you may have noticed I have been doing a bit of experimenting with glowing play for Dimples to explore. We started with glow baths and bath paint made from shaving cream and highlighter ink. We have made Glowing playdoh, substituting the water with glow water, and I made some glow spaghetti yesterday. This time we made some glowing water beads.

Through this experimenting I have found that yellow and green Neon highlighters work the best.
We made the water beads by using hydrated ones and soaking them for 18 hours in glow water (highlighter ink & water). It has been done before in the blogging world, but for us it was new & it was a success. We did Clear beads in yellow ink, green beads in green ink and some Orange in orange highlighter ink (the ones that aren't as vibrant are the orange ones).

We put them in a tray and used a bit of the glow water mixed in a zip lock bag with some shaving cream.  Dimples then poured this in over the beads and mixed it into a big glowing mass of fun.

Using some clear containers with lids he filled them up and shook them round so the entire container was a glowing tube. He experimented with site perception, shaking it quickly and watching the blurred trail in the dark. (We had an almost pitch black room).

He discovered after a while that he was also glowing, his hands and finger nails were glowing under the black light. He told me this meant he had turned into a monster!  The green Hulk Monster.
Hulk Alert, Dimples has turned into a glowing Hulk :) 
Or is he radioactive?

The radioactive glowing Dimples did some pretend cooking. He Made me some magic berries but then suddenly they were magic baby dragon eggs.  So he went with this for a while, helping to "hatch" baby dragons out of the magic glowing eggs, telling me what colour each one was. I love his imagination!

He had lots of fun filling up jars and cups then shaking them around and holding them towards the light, then hiding them so they weren't glowing but mostly he enjoyed crushing them into oblivion and making a huge slushy mess.

If you have missed our glowing Adventures, click on the Glowing Fun Tab under my header for more ideas.
If you have never tried using black light play, start here glowing-bath-play where you will find a link for how to make & use it :)
First you will need a Black light globe that you can get from your local hardward or lighting store. You can purchase fandango ones online that are enclosed but they are costly, we got our Black light globe for $13 and use it in a lamp with the ahde taken off. While in the Bath, I replace the globe on the ceiling light and it works just as good :)

Happy Adventures

Glowing Spaghetti

Glowing Spaghetti Messy Play in the Dark Fun Under the Black light.

I have been wondering whether spaghetti would work if I attempted to make it glow, Just as we do with glow water (Highlighter Ink & Water), Glow Paint (UV/Neon Paint) & Bath glow Foam (shaving cream & highlighter Ink).
So I thought, theres nothing to lose, I will attempt it & if it fails.... Well its just a bit of spaghetti.

I combined 2 methods: I cooked the Spaghetti in glow water, as I thought most of the water retention would be in this process. Then I put the cooked spaghetti in a zip lock bag, with a bad of neon green paint, a little more glow water and a drop of oil. I left it soak for a hour or so and...........
IT WORKED. Success!

Dimples had a ball with his mini tractors and dump trucks digging around in the glowing spaghetti under the black light. He mushed it around, made piles, scooped it up into the trucks and made tracks through it. He even put his hands in and buried them under the "glowing worms".

Through our experiments with glow water, I have found that Neon Green and Yellow highlighters always work best. This may look green, because I added some fluro neon paint but the glow water I used was ink from a yellow highlighter.
Dimples loved this type of play and was very inquisitive with the spaghetti, threading it through his fingers and exploring it by holding it up to the black light, then hiding it behind the box so it stopped glowing.

If you have missed our glowing Adventures, click on the Glowing Fun Tab under my header for my ideas.
If you have never tried using black light play, start here glowing-bath-play where you will find a link for how to make & use it :)

First you will need a Black light globe that you can get from your local hardward or lighting store. You can purchase fandango ones online that are enclosed but they are costly, we got our Black light globe for $13 and use it in a lamp with the ahde taken off. While in the Bath, I replace the globe on the ceiling light and it works just as good :)

Rainbows in Salt & Goop

Rainbow Goop Messy Play

Dimples had a couple of friends over for a Messy Rainbow Play Date.
This is the colourful fun that they experimented with.
There were 2 Sensory boxes: One with Goop (Cornflour & Water Mix), Another with Cooking Salt.
There were spray bottles filled with Coloured Water, cups with coloured water and droppers & some plastic spoons. I pre-made some Rainbow ice specially for the salt box to.

Miss K Mastering the Double Spray.
Dimples, Miss K & Mr J got stuck into it using the spray bottles, strengthening their little hand muscles and experimenting with the colours. The goop box was first choice!
Within minutes the goop box was a Master Piece of Vibrant Rainbow Colours.
Rainbow Spray bottles in the goop.
Using the spoons and droppers they swished the goop around and made a discovery.
The white goop underneath was still White.

So they experimented making wiggly worm shapes with the spoons and mixing the white through the colours.
The result was some pretty cool looking patterns.


Rainbow ICE and Salt Sensory Box

Coloured Paper under the Cooking Salt to add to the Rainbow effect
The Salt box was a great big box of messy fun.

Dimples and his friends loved this one.

They started dripping different colours and spraying the salt.
The effect was really cool, they watched as the coloured water soaked through the salt.
Then they started getting right into it: hands in, feeling and squishing the salt between their fingers.

 Rainbow ice worked well slowly seeping into the salt and making a vibrant Rainbow box
The kids filled up cups with the salt and realised on their still goop covered hands that the salt stuck.


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