June 25, 2011

Eric Carle

We are very lucky to have a number of Eric Carle titles on our book shelf and it being his birthday today, I thought it would be fun to share a few posts that I have previously written about his books.

One of my favourite posts here at Love and Lollipops is about  "Heart Stories". I used Eric Carle's wonderful title, The Tiny Seed, to share more about the idea of a story being something that can touch, teach, inspire and heal. Big One and I had so much fun creating our own version of Eric Carle's special tissue paper and then he recreated a beautiful picture from the book.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar is often written about by Mommy bloggers and I never tire of seeing the crafts inspired by this famous book. I gave a copy of the book to my nephew this past Christmas and sewed this Book Buddy to go along with the story. 

And lastly, Big One came up with this lovely idea of a cloud puppet, inspired by the simplistic, yet fun book, Little Cloud.

Kate at An Amazing Child is celebrating Eric Carle's birthday with a blog hop. I have joined in the fun and linked up these ideas. Pop on over to see what other creative bloggers have contributed to this collection of Eric Carle crafts and activities.

June 23, 2011

Let's Build It! {Handy Manny}

Our set of Handy Manny tools has come in rather handy (couldn't resist) in the creation of some other toys and games. For starters I enjoyed creating these bath time tools (top photo) from craft foam. Simply trace around any set of tools and then stick on some googly eyes!

Next up is an easy matching game. Trace around the tools onto a piece of cardboard and ask your little one to match them. Quick and easy.

No photos to go with this game, but have you ever asked your kiddos to pretend to be a (power) tool or construction vehicle? Jump up and down like a jack hammer; stand and twist your body from side to side like a screwdriver; use your arm and hand to cut like a saw... Or pretend to be a forklift truck and pick up some cushions; be an excavator and use your arm like a bucket to pick something up and swing it around...you get the idea. We love this game...especially when I'm the construction vehicle in question and Little One is the rubble that needs to be moved!

A fun version of this pretend game would be to make some picture cards of the Handy Manny tools and then let the kiddos take turns picking a card and acting out the tool represented on it. I may just do this sometime and share it with you.

If you missed our Tool Time Fun post, where we put our play tools to good use, be sure to check it out.

Handy Manny can be found at the Disney Junior website here.

June 21, 2011

Little Mr Brave

I keep promising myself that I'll take part in more iheartfaces photo challenges, so when I saw the theme this week (Let's hear it for the Boys), I decided it's as good a time as any.  And I also thought that this little guy really deserves a special mention right now. 

In the past two weeks, we very unexpectedly spent six days in hospital. Little One woke up one morning with a sore leg and I'll spare you a rather long story, but he ended up being hospitalized and having surgery on his hip. The diagnosis...Septic Arthritis. I had never heard of it before.

He really was such a brave little boy, especially having to endure lots of needles. I truly can give testimony that God carried us as a family every day and I am so grateful for all the wonderful support we received. Thank you to all our Angels and Prayer Warriors! 

After surgery we were told that he cannot bear weight on his leg for two to three weeks. It's been challenging keeping him "seated", but again, he really has been a star! I taught him how to do a bum shuffle. It's very cute to see him come up the passage, saying "bum shuffle, bum shuffle"...just love him to bits!

iheartfaces is a fantastic website.
If you are a keen photographer, you will love what they have to offer.

June 19, 2011

Let's Build It! {Books and Toys}

Continuing with our "Let's Build It!" theme, there are two construction related toys that I would like to share with you - Moon Sand and Junior Tradesman. 

This was our first experience with Moon Sand and we're sold! It's a fantastic product. Little One has simply loved playing with it and has enjoyed it as an alternative to the lentils in his sensory construction site box. It's texture is quite different to sand and I haven't minded him playing with it in the house, as it cleans up quite easily.

It's a fairly pricey product, so I have been on the lookout for a good homemade recipe. I found a few, but have not tried any of these, so cannot guarantee the final outcome. The first recipe I found is at Skip to my Lou, and the next slightly different combination of the same ingredients is at irresistible ideas for play based learning. It seems really easy to make.

The set I purchased came with a mold to create a sidewalk and bricks. Little One is too young to use these, so big brother tested these out and they work really well.

Our next construction toy... Junior Tradesman Bricks. Little One absolutely loved playing with the cement mixture and wanted to put it into the back of his concrete mixer, which I thought was very appropriate and sweet :). He would have been equally happy with sand and water mixed together as pretend cement. Big One used the toy appropriately and created a wall, which dried overnight into a nice solid structure. When water is added, the cement dissolves and the bricks can be used again. This is a nice product, but definitely more suited to an older child, aged 6 plus.

With regard to books, we have been so lucky to have two fantastic titles on our shelf. Jerry Pallotta's The Construction Alphabet Book is amazing. Even though it is written for an older child, my little guy LOVES it! The art work is fantastic and Little One's knowledge (and mine) of different construction vehicles has soared. B is for Builder by June Sobel is another super book. The text is simple and it is perfectly suited for construction loving children aged two and up.

Some more "Let's Build It!" fun coming up. 
Till then...happy playing.

June 15, 2011


In April I promised some Autism-related articles and information. My apologies for not posting any as yet. For my South African readers, I wanted to make sure that you know about the Autism is Treatable conference taking place in Somerset West, Cape Town, in July this year. Early Bird Registration ends 17 June. I can highly recommend attending this conference as I have had the pleasure of personally hearing many of the speakers and all are highly knowledgeable in the Autism field.

I also wanted to share some great Autism links with you:

I realize that there are many more helpful links out there. If you have discovered a particularly helpful website, please share it in the comments below. 

June 14, 2011

Let's Build it! {Tool Time Fun}

When I read this post over at TinkerLAB (a blog written by a Momma called Rachelle), I got very excited, because I knew it would be a great hit with Little One. I had some polystyrene saved and went off to purchase golf tees. I then offered it (with the box of play tools) to both boys. They had a ball...for about 45 minutes! Not many new toys get that much attention. 

It was fun to see what they did. My older son hammered just about every golf tee into the polystyrene block, whereas my little one was more interested in pushing the tees in with his fingers and also sawing the polystyrene with his hand saw. 

Little One has enjoyed playing with this a few more times. Once I notice boredom with an activity setting in, I usually pack it away for awhile and then reintroduce again later. If you don't have polystyrene available, you could let the kiddos hammer the tees into firm soil in the garden (like Rachelle did), or the side of a cardboard box would also work nicely.

Be sure to check out TinkerLAB for many more wonderful activities.

June 5, 2011

Let's Build it! {Little World Play}


Earlier this year I decided to introduce some mini themes to direct our craft and learning activities. In my perfect world, I would have a new theme with related activities every two to three weeks...sigh ... but, in reality it is very different and this little theme has been running for awhile now :)! So, what you see in the next few posts are activities spread over the past few months. I must add though, that my little guy LOVES everything to do with construction vehicles and workshop tools, so it was easy to get a bit stuck on this one!

I have to admit that I couldn't wait to share this Little World/Sensory Box with you and it's definitely the most successful Mommy Made Toy I've created for Little One. It was a huge hit from the day I introduced it to him and he still plays with it constantly. When planning this mini world, I had decided to use these orange-coloured lentils (called Red Split Lentils), because I thought it would be visually appealing  and I also associate orange and yellow with construction vehicles. What I didn't realize, was that these particular lentils have a wonderful silky feel. I tried to swop them for green lentils at one point, but Little One wouldn't hear of it! Even I love sifting  my fingers through them!

To recreate this, you need a nicely sized container. This rectangular one is about 30 by 45 cm and I purchased it at our local Plastics shop. I use between one and two packets of the lentils (purchased at Pick n Pay). One packet is really sufficient though. And then of course you need some construction vehicles. The little CAT vehicles (that you see above) can be purchased from Game stores. If you are an international reader and would like to purchase something similar, I recently visited the MEGA BLOKS website and they have a terrific selection of construction vehicles in their range.

I really love observing my children's interests and passions and find myself caught up in their enthusiasm. In the past few months I have pulled off to the side of the road a number of times, so that Little One can watch construction vehicles busy working at a building site. I have  also deliberately followed a Backhoe Loader, when I could have taken a much shorter and faster route home! Being only 2, do you think he'll remember his Mommy's efforts? I hope so! Or I might have to make him read my blog some day. :)

Have you ever done anything a little unusual to feed your child's interests? I'd love to hear all about it.

Oh yes, I almost forgot to say, it can get messy Mommy! But, the lentils are very easy to vacuum up, so don't fear! I don't really mind putting up with a bit of mess, especially when I see the joy it gives my little guy.

Happy Playing.

PS. I'm linking this to:
It's Playtime!
For the Kids Fridays
Fun for Kids Friday 

June 1, 2011

Serviette Holder

If you are a South African reader and enjoy crafts, you may have noticed the Hooked On Crafts range at your local craft store. There is a wide range of fun kits available and they are all very reasonably priced - most kits are R20 or less.

For Mother's day, I decided that we would make the serviette holder and give it to one of the Grannies. I had spotted this kit awhile back and was drawn to the pretty picket fence and the nice embellishments. The packet comes with a lovely clear photograph on the front, so I was expecting it to be fairly straightforward. But, it was not to be so. I could just not figure out how to glue it all together to make an upright holder. Hee hee...I think visual spatial reasoning has never really been a strength of mine. Anyway, I was not to be deterred and came up with a plan to use a Lipton tea box - I always keep these boxes in recycling. I covered it with some wrapping paper and stuck the completed picket fences on to it. VoilĂ !

If you are an international reader and cannot get these kits, this craft could very easily be duplicated with craft sticks and other bits and pieces from a craft shop.

Picket fences - thicker and thinner craft sticks
Flowers - wooden cut-outs glued together
Butterfly - two pipe cleaners
Ladybird - pom poms, black stickers, pipe cleaner , googly eyes

All in all, I think that the kit is great value for money and would certainly keep the kids busy for awhile. I must mention that there is lots of gluing involved and I found the gluing to be quite tricky. I would recommend this craft for older kids (7 years plus) and adult assistance would probably still be required. What is fun, is that there are lots of different things to make, so a few children could each do a part of the project.

If you are interested in seeing the range and live in the Northern Suburbs (Cape Region), you should definitely contact Isabel. She's a lovely lady who sells the most wonderful selection of toys, including almost all of the Hooked On Crafts kits. You can chat to her at play2learn(at)mweb(dot)co(dot)za.

By the way, did you spot the rather strange cut up card in the top picture? That was Little One's Mother's Day card for his Granny :).

Till next time - Happy crafting!

PS. I'm linking this to Fun for Kids Friday
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