Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Year of Blogging - favorite posts of 2014

It's been a year since I started Frog in a pocket blog. I still remember writing my very first post Glow in the dark play dough.... and I still can't believe the time flies by so quickly! :) 

It's been the great year. Year full of activities, learning and adventures for me and Mr Frog. 
We were busy learning Maths and Literacy, crafting, playing with light table and exploring great sensory activities. 
Our most popular posts of 2014:

Mr Frog's Favorite Activities:

I've met so many inspiring bloggers and found so many great blogs to read and follow.
Thank you to all of you who follow us on Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest. It is great to see so many people stopping by to read about our play and learn adventure. It is heartwarming to watch our blog growing thanks to all of our visitors.
 Thank you! 

Monday, 29 December 2014

Glitter Fireworks

If you are looking for simple and easy activity for Bonfire Night or New Year - this is the one :) 

Some days I just have no time to arrange any complicated crafts. Glitter and glue is something I can always find in my craft box. It's fun and messy! 

We already made fireworks pictures and explored pastels. This time we decided to use all our glitter leftovers to create more shiny, sparkly and glittery firework pictures!

All you need is:
- black card
- PVA glue in a bottle
- glitter 
- tray or box (use it to sprinkle glitter on your picture - mess under control) 

 You may also like our other crafts:

For more New Year's activities ideas check my Pinterest board:

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Exploring Pastel Crayons - Fireworks Pictures.

New Year's time is all about fireworks for us! Colorful, shiny, glittery fireworks! 

We created our fireworks art and explored new and exciting pastel crayons that have been in my craft drawer for a while.
Two boxes of new and shiny crayons - is there anything better that this? ;)

Pastels' colors are bold, bright and vivid. They are perfect for creating fireworks art. Don't afraid to give your child a real art materials to explore even if they are completely new for you! Pastels are something new for me as well (as I'm not an artist....) so it was great to explore it together with Mr Frog. 

To create fireworks pictures you need: 
- white and black card
- pastels (we used oil and soft pastels)
- black paint and brush

First we used soft pastels which are easy to smudge and  blend. Simply create your firework on the black card and use your fingers of piece of paper towel to smudge and blend colors. 
I love the bright colors! And blending is great (and messy) fun :) 

Oil pastels are more like the wax crayons. Drawing with them gave us completely different experience - different texture, different pressure on the paper, not easy to smudge. First we designed the fireworks on the white card and then covered it with black paint (use watercolors or watered ready mix paint). 

Check our other craft projects: 

Come and check our favorite art and painting ideas on Pinterest:

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Christmas Threading

This activity is simple and easy to arrange. If you have toddlers or preschoolers who like threading they will love this Christmas Threading Tray for sure! 

Christmas Threading for kids

I'm sure you can easily find this 3 things to set up the tray:

- craft foam (cut out the Christmas shapes and make some holes and cuts in them)
- ribbons
- packing paper stripes

And of course pair of little hands keen to do all the threading! 

It's great for practicing fine motor skills and pincer grip. It develops hand-eye coordination. And keeps little ones busy for quite a long time :) 

fine motor skills

Christmas threading activity

If you are looking for some Christmas activities for your kids come and visit our Pinterest board with lots of great ideas from fantastic bloggers!

threading for kids

Looking for more Christmas ideas? Follow my Christmas Crafts & Activities Pinterest board:

Monday, 1 December 2014

White Clay and Pumpkin Seeds Christmas Ornaments

Beginning of December means the first handmade Christmas decorations for us! 
White clay and pumpkin seeds ornaments are our favorite.

White clay is something you can easily find in any craft shop. We like using it to create some decorations like our air drying clay pictures here.
Every year I save some pumpkin seeds
(from Halloween pumpkin carving or cooking my favorite pumpkin soup) and color them red. It's easy to do - just mix pumpkin seeds with some food coloring in the zip-lock bag and the dry them on the baking tray.

All you need is:
- white clay
- colored pumpkin seeds
- rolling pin and Christmas cookies cutters
- toothpicks, bamboo skewer and lace for making patterns
- optional porcelain paint to paint dried decorations for glossy finish (we use this one)

And the most important - little helper to make the decorations of course! :) 

Picking small pumpkin seeds is great to practice fine motor skills and creating patterns using a toothpick/skewer help to practice holding and using mark-making tools.  

If you don't have any pumpkin seeds use any dried ingredients from your kitchen cupboard like we used to create this air drying clay pictures .I'm sure this will create unique Christmas decorations! 

For more Christmas Crafts & Activities ideas follow my Pinterest board: 

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Salt Dough Ornaments and Pom Pom Shooters - 150+ Screen-Free Activities for Kids book review

We've been waiting for this book impatiently! Why? Because it's a kind of sensory play bible :)
I bet you know Fun At Home With Kids blog. Asia Citro who is behind this blog collected over 150 fantastic ideas for messy and sensory play and put them together in "150+ Screen-Free Activities for Kids" book. 

Just open the book to find 7 chapters filled in with simple recipes for slimes, playdoughs, paints or handmade toys. Sounds great, isn't it? 

Why we love it? Because it is full of great and simple ideas. Recipes are clear and there are step by step instructions. It is full of tips and ideas how to extend play.There are ideas for all ages - babies, toddlers and preschoolers. Plus there are so many beautiful photos!

Why you will love it? If you are a mom like me you probably think similar "What with all that mess? Is it safe? Where can I start? Where to get the ingredients from?". In her book Asia gives you the answers to all these questions. She explains how to start and gives some tips how to manage the mess and safety issues. And I'm sure when you already start you will love the creative, open-ended sensory play!  

And believe me, these recipes are really simple and easy to make at home. We've tried them! 

We chose to make Pompom Shooters and it took us only 5 minutes to make them (yes! very handy for all those Mummy I'm bored moments). And this one was Mr Frog favorite because we made 3 shooters and we had an hour of fun having family pompoms battle! :) 

Then we made Colored Salt Dough and guess what? I found all the ingredients to make them in my kitchen cupboard! (how easy it is!). We made our first Christmas ornaments this year. 

Now the most important question....where you can get the book?  It's available worldwide!

If you are looking for a great and very special gift idea (Christmas is coming!) you can make a creative kit and give it with a book for a special occasion - here is a DIY Sensory Kit idea from Fun At Home With Kids.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Exploring spices and creating spices pictures

Last week we explored spices. And we loved it! Practicing writing and mark making with spices writing tray was a great sensory experience. 

Yesterday we focused on smell and color creating spices pictures.

Creating pictures using spices is a great sensory experience for a child.

First focus on smell and color. Encourage your child to smell the spices and choose which ones they like (make sure your child doesn't inhale the spices especially cinnamon as this can be dangerous. You can give them an empty jar to smell or put some cotton ball at the top).
Then look at the colors so children can decide what spices they want to use for a picture. Is your child brave enough to taste some of them?
To record all the experiences when tasting and smelling our spices I created a simple table - you can get it HERE. Simple write the spice name and let the child record their sensations by drawing a little face.

After smelling and tasting it's time to create the picture!
All you need is cardboard, PVA glue, painting brush and different spices. Easy as 1, 2, 3....

Making spice pictures kids crafts

1. Paint the scene using PVA glue....

2. sprinkle the spices....

3. shake off and let it dry.

For Mr Frog it was a great sensory adventure. He was brave enough to taste some new spices and was very excited about colors.

craft activitity using spices

Download your table for exploring spices HERE:

The Jenny Evolution
Montessori Monday

Friday, 31 October 2014

Spices Sensory Writing and Mark Making

There's no better time for exploring spices than Autumn! Last week we spent long time playing with spices - smelling, touching, tasting....amazing experience!

First and definitely favorite activity - spices sensory writing.

sensory writing activity  

All you need is a tray and some spices from your kitchen cupboard.

Although Mr Frog is quite confident in his writing now, he still needs to work on his handwriting. This kind of activity is perfect!
We used our sandpaper-like letters as a template and focused on practicing letters shapes. At the beginning Mr Frog chose his favorite cinnamon.

Spices Sensory Writing

Keep exploring! Smell and mix different spices together to get your own spice mix - perfect for mark making.

Spices Mark Making
You can keep your spiced art - simply cover a piece of paper with PVA glue, put it on the tray and press gently. An autumn spices picture (bits and bobs on the picture are the fir-needles and other autumn treasures mixed with spices). Smells yummy! ;)

That's just beginning of our spices exploring adventure. More coming soon :) 

TGIF Linky Party hosted by 123Homeschool4Me
Montessori Monday

Monday, 29 September 2014

Gloop Monsters

We love gloop! Funny texture, solid and liquid at the same time.
Mr Frog's favorite is glow in the dark gloop (made accidentally when we played with glow in the dark playdough). Gloop is perfect when he asks me for something to do and I am too busy or tired or not prepared.... Can be easily changed by adding food coloring, glitter or texture (rice, lentils). And I always have ingredients in my kitchen cupboard!

This time we made the Gloop Monsters :)

Cornflour, water, food coloring, some googly eyes and mouth (I drew them with felt pens and laminated). Ready in few minutes. Then it's time for sensory exploration, learning new vocabulary to describe strange texture, mixing colors and...fun :)

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Storytelling Cubes travel set.

We are getting ready for our summer road trip. We will drive through few European countries to visit our family. We do plan many stops on the way to visit different places and have a rest. But for Mr Frog that means long hours in a car seat anyway. 

I try to think of some ideas to entertain Mr Frog during this long trip. And guess what? I try to think of ideas to do it without car DVD, Leap Pad or tablet!

We love storytelling. Our Silhouettes Storytelling set is great and we use it often but it is not a travel set for sure ;) But making a storytelling travel set is easier than you think! 

All you need is:
- 3-4 wooden cubes with holes (if you are in UK you can buy some HERE, but I'm sure you can find such cubes in any shop selling the wooden craft shapes)
- pipe cleaner
- 2 beads
- paints (if you want to paint your pictures) or pictures from magazines and glue (if you look for an easier option)

Now you just need to decide what pictures would you like to put on your cubes. I'm not an illustrator or designer but my skills are good enough for Mr Frog ;) 
On each cube I painted different type of objects: buildings, characters, transport vehicles, animals and creatures. 

Storytelling cubes
When the cubes are ready just thread the pipe cleaner through the holes and secure the ends using the beads. Put it in your bag, take with you anywhere and tell the story :) Easy :) 


Monday, 23 June 2014

Sand Castle Play Invitation.

In summer we spend a lot of time in the garden. Simple ideas work best!

Box of sand (no, we don't have a proper sand tray, I use a big Ikea box), little flags, shells, stones and leaves and flowers found in the garden. Plus some pots and water on the side.
Just leave it in the garden and wait.... ;)

Sand Castle Play Invitation

Sand Castle invitation to play
And after quite  a long time of sand castles building everything ends as a "sand soup"....well, it is fun too, isn't it?

Friday, 13 June 2014

Texture painting on canvas.

Texture painting on canvas is a great fun. Child can feel like a real artist painting on canvas and displaying own painting on a wall like in the gallery. And painting can make a very special kids made gift.

For us it was a special gift for Father's Day but it can be a special present for Mother's Day, gift for the teacher, Christmas or birthday gift for Grandparents or friend :) 

Mr Frog felt like an artist making his own real painting. And Dad had a great surprise when got such special and personalized gift.

 All you need is:
- canvas (we bought the cheap one from a pound shop - it works fine!)
- paints
- ready mixed plaster of filler (yes, the one you use for repairing the walls
- spatula to spread the filler
- some bubble wrap

Let children spread the filler on canvas using spatula and hands. This is a crazy part - go wild, make patterns using your hands, bubble wrap or different textured objects. 
Mr Frog made a hand print in the middle of his painting. 
Then let it dry and paint. Don't forget a signature to make it look professional! :) 

Texture painting on canvas.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Maths with colorful buttons.

This pile of colorful buttons has been in my drawer forever. As Mr Frog is very curious about addition and multiplication now and keeps practicing his Maths skills I used the buttons for  Maths activity.

First sorting and classifying by color and comparing the groups of buttons (where is more/less buttons, where is fewer big buttons).

Then Mr Frog got a piece of paper with a 10, 15, 20 numerals and the same amount of boxes underneath. He  had to find different ways to make the number (10,15,20) and write it down. Colorful buttons helped him to visualize the addition. 

To challenge him a little bit more I gave him number 40 and he tried some multiplication as well. With colorful buttons it was a piece of cake  ;) 

And at the end...he cooked a pretended button soup! Yummy! :)

Montessori Monday