Face Painting With Watercolor Pencils

Do your kids love having their face painted (or in my kids’ case, their entire body besides their face)? Then get yourself some watercolor pencils and call it a day. Nothing beats them for basic face painting, especially when you have kids who like to DIY.

My favorite for the job are the $4 MÅLA pencils from IKEA. Just dip the sharpened end in water and get painting! The best part is the ‘paint’ just washes off with water. Pro tip – make sure to let them dry out (tip up) when done so they are easy to sharpen for the next go round.

Flower Power (in your mud kitchen and beyond)

Did you luck out with a lovely bunch of flowers for Valentine’s Day? A week on they may be ready for the compost, but don’t be too hasty throwing them away. Instead pull off the petals and use them in your tiny human’s mud kitchen.

Don’t have one? No worries. Why not set up a little potion making/cooking station inside with the petals, water, and any other natural ingredients you can find. Worried about the mess? Use a towel as a tablecloth/rug to catch all the spills.

Heavy Work for Kids

Let’s talk about ‘heavy work’. 💪 Heavy work is any activity that requires you to put pressure on your muscles and joints as they are moving. During yesterday’s playgroup, there was some brilliant heavy work happening as the kids worked together to load up and push a wheelbarrow full of big rocks, which then transitioned to loading up and pulling each other around in a wagon. :)

“Heavy work helps your child in more ways than one. Aside from helping your child to feel calm and self-regulate, it also improves clarity and alertness, extends attention span, aids body awareness, and strengthens muscles.” (via Connections Therapy Center)

Create an impromptu obstacle course (outside and in!)

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It may be #Friyay but I’m already counting down the days til next Wednesday and our weekly #humpdayhangout (aka playgroup). We spend the majority of the time outside and the littles always flock to the sandbox and mud kitchen, however right now my play area is in flux and dismantled so we had to get extra creative this week to keep bodies and minds busy. Cue – the impromptu obstacle course!

Using wooden boards of different lengths, ladders, cones, a saw horse and blanket, cushions, a soccer goal, and a tight rope, + bubbles to celebrate reaching the end, we created a play invitation that everyone wanted to try (over and over again). This is something so simple and opened-ended you could set up at home too (inside and out). Get creative and let me know what you come up with, or even better, send pics!

Loose parts in the sandbox | #unexpectedtoys

It was out with the mud pies and stews today, and in with ravine digging, ramp building, and car racing. Today’s #unexpectedtoys were wood offcuts and old bricks. I took cues from my oldest’s spontaneous play (ravine digging) and brought over some loose parts I thought might extend his play arc. They were met with enthusiasm, and with a little trial and error and lots of big ideas, my boys worked together to build a ‘car racing water slide’ that kept them busy alllllll morning! #winwin

⋒ Don’t have a sandbox? No worries. Loose parts like scrap wood and bricks make for great play anywhere outside (and they’re free!). Build fairy houses for small world play, obstacle courses for gross motor play, faux fire pits for dramatic play. Your child’s imagination has no limit!