July 20, 2014

Back to School Giveaway and Shaving Cream Fun

I don't often do product endorsements on the blog, but when I recommend something, do know that it's a great product. Today I want to share an alphabet product with you that I'm using to help Little One learn how to read and write. 

Created by none other than my Mom, there are in my opinion, no other local alphabet products on the market that can compare to the quality and versatility of this one. Why is it so great? Oooh many reasons... for starters the letters are made from a very durable material; they don't easily bend and cannot break and I must add they have a nice feel to them. The fonts used are correct for the South African Curriculum and the alphabet comes in black or white (not multicoloured as many others do). One of the best things about the alphabet is that a child can touch and feel each letter, giving them a three-dimensional experience of what each letter is about. Needless to say, the letters can be used in a variety of games that make letter recognition and word building fun both in the classroom and at home. And that's not all (hehe, I sound like one of those infomercials), there is a magnetic and non-magnetic version available, as well as a variety of different sets, including a numeracy set, and alphabet "bottle top" stickers.

There are so many ways to incorporate this product into alphabet teaching, but today I'm sharing a shaving cream activity Little One and I did about a month ago. If you haven't given your little person shaving cream to play with yet, do give it a go. My little guy lights up when he knows shaving cream is involved!

To play, I placed the letters in a random order on our bricks outside. I gave Little One the shaving cream and I called out letters one at a time. He had to correctly identify them and when he had, he was allowed to cream them... his favourite part. After he had creamed all the letters, I gave him a squirt bottle with water in and once again called out the letters and he could squirt them clean. This activity took much longer than expected and in the end I got quite tired (not him) before all the cleaning up was done. :)

An additional idea is to ask your child to think of a word starting with the letter, when they correctly identify the letter.   



So now the best part, would you like to win a 26 piece Learners Alphabet (non-magnetic)? The set used above is an 83 piece and is perfect for word building, but with a 26 piece many games can be played. The prize will also include two sheets of alphabet "bottle top" stickers.

Here's how you can win: Visit the  Little People's Products website and come back here and tell me what your favourite product is in the comments section OR pop on over to my Love and Lollipops Facebook Page and share the competition via the link there. Leave a comment there saying that you shared it. If you do both, you will get two entries.

The competition is open to all South African residents. (Apologies to my other readers.) Entries will close on Sunday the 27th of July and a winner will be announced on Monday the 28th. Good luck!

Till next time.  

(And the winner is... Loandi Kok. Congratulations! I will be in touch with you via the Love and Lollipops Facebook Page.)

July 18, 2014

Fun with Dinosaurs {A Dinosaur Tea Party}

(Source: Charlie Brown's 'Cyclopedia, Volume 3) 

(Whoops! In the last post I shared a lot of photographs of the Small Dinosaur World we made, but forgot to put in the most important photo - the one showing the whole small world, in it's entirety. I've gone back and added it in, if you want to go and check it out.) 

To bring this awesome theme to a close, what could be better than a dinosaur tea party with real yummy fossil dinosaur cookies.

The recipe I used is for roll-into-balls-and-squash-down-with-a-fork-cookies. The original recipe called for brown sugar, but as I didn't have any, I  used white sugar instead.

Basic recipe
225 grams / 1/2 lb. butter
125ml. / 1/2 a cup of sugar (white or brown)
1 egg yolk
500ml. / 2 cups of flour (I used cake flour)

Cream the butter and sugar. Add the egg yolk and beat further. Fold in the flour and then using your hands knead into a dough. The texture is quite crumbly, but keep kneading until you have a nice dough. Roll the dough into small balls about 1.5/2cm across in size. Use a fork to flatten them or invite in a friendly dinosaur to stomp on them for you. :)

Bake at 180 degrees Celsius for 8 to 10 minutes.

These cookies are better the day after I think. They become more crunchy.

Adapted Gluten free/Casein free Cookies
225 grams / 1/2 lb.dairy free margarine (I used Blossom Light)
125ml. / 1/2 a cup of sugar (white or brown)
1 egg yolk
625ml. / 2 and a half cups of flour (I used Glutagon GF Cake flour)

The texture of this dough is very different to the basic recipe. It is not crumbly at all; rather quite sticky, which is why I added the extra flour. My oldest, the eater of these, gave them a big thumbs up. This is definitely one of the better GF/CF  biscuits I've made over the years. 

We needed a special serving plate for our dinosaur cookies, so using this amazing inspiration from Three Little Monkey's Studio blog, I made this T-Rex dish from a paper plate. It's an easy alternative to the melamine plate that Gretchen used.

To end off all the dinosaur fun, here are three really nice dinosaur links:
Some more DIY dinosaur eggs (these are so cool)
A girl's dino birthday party (with free printables)

If you are a South African reader, I do hope you enjoy these last few days of Winter holidays.

Till next time.

PS. Sharing this at The Weekly Kids Co-Op

July 14, 2014

Fun with Dinosaurs {Make a Small Dinosaur World and Salt Dough Fossils}


Dinosaur week(s) has been lots of fun and the best part for me was the day Little One spent in the garden playing with a friend  - ALL DAY - digging for dino fossils. The fossils were some white shells we found on a walk on the beach a long time ago. I hid them in the ground, gave them each a spade and a paint brush, and I demonstrated how to be a Paleontologist (well best I could). After they got tired of looking for the seashell "fossils", they turned to the interesting bits of rock in the garden and then requested hammers, so that some hammering could happen too.

Perhaps it's too wet or cold where you are though to play outside, so I thought it would be fun to share and create a small indoor dinosaur world... for the indoor Paleontologists ;). 

I actually made this scene on my patio table, so technically it's still outdoors, but you can easily duplicate this indoors of course. 

(I must apologise for the very distracting table cloth.)

I used two cardboard boxes and connected them with a long piece of brown felt. I thought the sides of the boxes kept the scene fairly contained, which is helpful for tidying up purposes, and the sides also created a barrier for the dinosaurs to climb over. 

The following things were used to create the scene:

Pebbles/River stones collected from beach walks
White stones (can be purchased at a garden centre)
Small river stones (purchased from The Crazy Store for R20)
Shells that looked like fossils found at the beach
Blue felt to make a dam 
Home-made salt dough fossils (recipe below)
Egg boxes
Home-made volcano
Waterfall made from bubble wrap
Cave made from a tissue box

 I forgot to add greenery, but that's pretty simple, as all the greenery you need can be found in your garden. I added the big egg boxes, which Little One painted, to be the scary volcanic rocks around the erupting volcano. The dinosaurs had to tread rather carefully when crossing the perilous volcanic rock. :) The egg boxes also allowed me to create some height, as they are nice to stack on top of each other. 

The volcano was made from a foam cup, which I covered with brown felt as best I could. I then cut a red square and folded it over the top and glued it on. It took me a few minutes to make it. (A glue gun does come in very handy here.) 

The cave was created from a tissue box. I added some recycled biscuit box cardboard to the outside of it.

The recipe for our salt dough fossils is as follows:

2 cups of flour
1 cup of salt
1 cup of water
Mix it together and then roll it out to make a nice smooth dough.

Once you have made the fossils (or anything else for that matter), put it on a baking tray and bake for a few hours at 180 degrees Celsius.

Even though the children are very ready to move on to a new theme, I have decided to share one more dinosaur post, so hold on tight...it's a goodie.

July 9, 2014

Fun with Dinosaurs {The South African Museum Visit}


If you are a Cape Townian and you haven't visited The South African Museum, you are definitely missing out. This post is not about the museum though; rather to share some pictures of the very cool dinosaur exhibit. These photos are from two separate visits, in 2011 and 2013.

Don't these baby dinosaurs look so realistic? These are Massospondylus eggs hatching in central South Africa. This reconstruction is based on dinosaur egg fossils found in The Golden Gate Highlands National Park, South Africa.

Absolutely a fantastic outing for the family. After your visit, take a stroll through the Company's Garden and feed the squirrels and pigeons. 

Till next time, happy exploring.

July 7, 2014

Fun with Dinosaurs {Dinosaur Diorama}

I'm having so much fun with this theme that I'm stretching the activities into week two of our holidays. I cannot believe the first week is over... it went way too fast :(

I decided that we definitely needed to make a dinosaur diorama. I saw this really great idea over at Made by Joel (a great Dad Blogger) and knew it would be perfect for our project. 

So we got a shoebox and Big One was put in charge of colouring the scenery. He did this on paper first, which we cut to fit perfectly inside the box. Little One drew some additions to the diorama that we placed inside and around the box. This included an "active volcano" (as he put it) and some palm trees with coconuts on. My job was to stick the dinosaur stickers onto light cardstock and then cut them out. I used the paper clips to make them stand (as you can see in the picture below). This is actually a great cutting activity for the kiddos, except I can rarely get Little One to cut anything out. 

The book we used for all our stickers is called Let's Decorate Dinosaur Stickers. There are plenty of stickers in this book and I highly recommend getting it or something similar if you like this project. It's certainly easier than finding and printing pictures from the internet.

Some more dinosaur fun is still coming up. I do hope that you have enjoyed the activities we have done so far.

Just by the way... are there any themes you would love to see explored here at Love and Lollipops? I'm always open to suggestions. Drop me an email at  gsetzer(at)mweb(dot)co(dot)za or leave a comment and I'll see what I can do.

Till next time. 

PS. Sharing this at the wonderful Weekly Kids Co-Op.

July 5, 2014

Fun with Dinosaurs {Hatching Dinosaur Eggs}

After scouring Pinterest for some cool and fun dinosaur activities, I came across this recipe at Growing a Jeweled Rose for some sizzling, fizzling dinosaur eggs. I had to try it!

The only change I made to the recipe was that Crystal added food colouring, but instead of that, I added some soil from our garden.

Here's the recipe:
500 grams of Bicarbonate of Soda/Baking Soda (found a box at Pick n Pay for R11)
3 tablespoons of soil (not essential)
About 2/3rds a cup of water
Small plastic dinosaurs (usually available in tubes from The Crazy Store)
White vinegar in a squirt bottle (for the hatching to happen)

Mix the bicarb and the sand and then slowly add water until the mixture can be molded. Place some of it into your cupped hand. Add a small dinosaur to the top of the mixture you have in your hand and then cover it with more of the mixture. You should be able to mold the egg fairly easily. If the mixture is too sloppy, you need to add more bicarb. I then used a large sized plastic egg to help me get nicely shaped eggs. I used only the one half, just to help shape the egg a bit. Let it dry for 24 hours.
When the eggs are dry, place them in the garden for the children to find. Give them a spray bottle with the vinegar in it and let them squirt away. That's when the sizzling, fizzling part happens. :)

This last picture looks quite authentic and gross, don't you think?

All in all a really successful activity. Little One had a friend over to play for the day and after this activity, she told me that she wasn't ever going home. Hehe :)

PS. Some more very cool dinosaur books to read:
Tyrannosaurus Drip - Julia Donaldson (one of our favourites) 
Dinosaurs - priddy books (a sticker book) 
Find Out About Dinosaurs - Dougal Dixon

Sharing this at The Weekly Kids Co-Op.

July 3, 2014

Fun with Dinosaurs {Dinosaur Fossil Pasta Pictures}

I quite like a theme. Okay. That's an understatement. :) It's been awhile since we've had a theme over here.

It's also three weeks Winter holidays. Whoohoo! Great time for a theme or two.

Dinosaurs. I've wanted to have some dinosaur fun for f.o.r.e.v.e.r.

I don't have dinosaur boys just btw. I have boys who love lego and vehicles and characters, but dinosaurs - no biggie. However I figured, that if I present them with the activities, they'll bite. So we made these. So easy and Little One loved it. In fact he said: "This is the best day." :) That made me happy.

I found some fossil pictures over at this cool site and used them to help me draw/glue dinosaur outlines that actually looked like dinosaurs. I glued the outline and all over, in between, so that Little One could simply fill in all the bones/pasta. As simple as that... Dinosaur Fossil Pasta Pictures.

I have challenged myself to read at least three books a day to Little One, every day of the holidays. This week we have read all our dinosaur books, to get him in a real dinosaur mood. 

Some of the books we have read are:

Do you have any favourite dinosaur books?

More dinosaur fun coming up. :)

PS. Big One called his a "Noodlesaurus". :) And, we are sharing this at The Weekly Kids Co-Op.
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