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Toys Books Play

Have a read of our Hot Topics articles all about toys, books and play ideas for babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers.
 
  • Find out how to make your own homemade kids paints, dough, slime and toys for them to play with.
  • Have a look at the book reviews and tips on reading and writing.
  • Discover some of the benefits of playing, songs and music.
Painting with potato stamps

Painting with potato stamps

A tried and tested classic! Painting with potato stamps is lots of fun and cheap and easy to do at home. Toddlers and preschoolers will love getting their hands messy and creating some great pieces of art.
Make your own foam paints

Make your own foam paints

Try this recipe for fluffy foam paints. It’s the perfect messy play activity. Great for outside, in the bath and playing with on highchair trays. Your kids will love it!
Marshmallow slime

Marshmallow slime

Kids’ most favourite things all in one. Marshmallows AND slime! Have a go at making this super easy recipe. It's edible too.
Putting fun back into family life

Putting fun back into family life

Sometimes it seems we’re just so busy! Busy shopping, busy working, busy cleaning the house, busy taking pre-schoolers to daycare and lessons. Have we gotten too busy to have a little fun? An early childhood teacher shares ways to help you put some fun into family life.
Make your own rainbow salt tray

Make your own rainbow salt tray

Have a go at making your own rainbow salt tray. Toddlers and preschoolers will have lots of fun watching the colours come through when they draw pictures, create patterns and write their name in the salt. It is cheap to set up and you will already have the items at home.
Rainy day activities for toddlers & preschoolers

Rainy day activities for toddlers & preschoolers

Looking for fun rainy day activities for toddlers or preschoolers? Things you can do indoors when it's raining outside? Have a go at doing some of these ideas. Being stuck inside with young children on cold wet days is hard on both children and parents. Here are some fun, cheap and educational things that you can do that use everyday materials you have around the house.
Rubber glove finger puppets

Rubber glove finger puppets

So easy to make and the characters you can create are endless! All you need is a rubber glove, glue, decorations and lots of imagination!
Kids traditional party games

Kids traditional party games

Kids traditional birthday party games are still so much fun! Everything from Pass the Parcel to Musical Chairs, Pin the Tail on the Donkey, Stuck in the Mud and everything in between. Check out our list of fun party games and how to play them. They’ll keep the kids amused for hours!
Kids birthday party treasure hunts

Kids birthday party treasure hunts

Treasure hunts (or scavenger hunts) are lots of fun for kids of all ages! Perfect to play at birthday parties or when they have friends over for a play date. Looking for hidden treasure will get them thinking and it’s something that can be played indoors or outside. Check out our different treasure hunt ideas and keep the kids entertained.
Make your own sparkly finger paints

Make your own sparkly finger paints

Kids love painting with their fingers, but don't let the mess scare you! Sparkly finger paints are a great sensory play activity which will capture their attention longer than any other painting project! Check out this super easy recipe and make some sparkly finger paints at home.
How to make slime

How to make slime

Kids LOVE slime and this is such an easy messy play and sensory play activity to make using simple household ingredients. Your kids will have lots of fun stretching it, moulding it, rolling into balls, throwing it into the air and letting it splat on the table!
How to make colourful soap slime

How to make colourful soap slime

You don’t get much messier than this when it comes to messy play! But it’s made with soap flakes, so at least it’s a ‘clean’ mess! It's the perfect outdoor sensory play activity. Make your own colourful soap slime at home using this super easy recipe.
Make your own ice chalk paints

Make your own ice chalk paints

Painting with ice chalk paints is lots of fun! Make the most of the summer weather and have a go at this easy ice chalk paints recipe. It’s a great outdoors messy play activity, science experiment and painting material all in one!
The benefits of pretend play

The benefits of pretend play

Pretend play is an essential part of growing up, and as adults, it’s important for us to encourage toddlers and preschoolers to give it a go. Pretend play comes with many benefits too and helps develop a child’s creativity, recreate social relationships and learn how to get along with others. It’s also necessary developmentally too, being like a ‘rite of passage’ as a child gets older.
8 Sandpit play ideas for toddlers & preschoolers

8 Sandpit play ideas for toddlers & preschoolers

Toddlers and preschoolers LOVE to dig and play in sandpits! Have a go at some of these fun sandpit activities. Creative ways to engage your toddler and preschooler in sandpit play.
Benefits of process art for toddlers & preschoolers

Benefits of process art for toddlers & preschoolers

Process art is a hugely positive way to foster creativity in toddlers and preschoolers and comes with many benefits. Process art is all about the experience, rather than the final outcome, providing toddlers and preschoolers with the opportunity to be themselves, make their own decisions and to have the freedom to be creative in a way that suits their learning.
Using feet for sensory play activities

Using feet for sensory play activities

Sensory experience is an important part of child development, but often kids are so busy getting their hands messy, that we forget about them using their feet for sensory play activities. Using their feet for sensory or messy play has many benefits, especially when it comes to exploring the sense of touch.
The plus side of play dates

The plus side of play dates

Are play dates really necessary when kids are young? We take a look at some of the benefits and developmental effects play dates can have on older babies, toddlers and pre-school kids when they catch up with their friends.
Messy play survival tips for parents

Messy play survival tips for parents

Do you try to avoid doing messy play activities with your kids? You’re not alone! Not all parents relish the idea of messy play. Even the thought of organising messy play activities can be quite stressful for some parents. Find out how to survive messy play sessions at your place - and stay sane in the process!
Questions to ask preschoolers about their artwork

Questions to ask preschoolers about their artwork

Young children love to paint and draw, build and sculpt and when they present us with their artworks it’s easy to tell them that they’ve done a great job - whatever the results! However with a few open-ended questions you can find out a little more about what they’ve produced and what inspired them. You’ll also help develop their creative and critical thinking skills in the process.
Make your own sparkly glitter play dough

Make your own sparkly glitter play dough

Kids will love this sparkly play dough recipe! Play dough is always a hit with young children, so why not add some glitter for more fun and a little extra sparkle! Have a go at making this no-bake play dough recipe. It’s easy to model into all sorts of shapes and creations and you can even make it a couple of days in advance if you’re pushed for time.
Magnetic puzzles for toddlers & preschoolers

Magnetic puzzles for toddlers & preschoolers

Have a go at making your own magnetic puzzles. Magnetic puzzles add a fun dimension to puzzling that toddlers and preschoolers can’t resist. Pieces stay in place and no more stepping over puzzles on the floor or searching for lost pieces.
Make your own jam jar aquarium

Make your own jam jar aquarium

Have a go at creating your own mini aquarium in an old jam jar. It’s easy to do and the kids will love how the glitter and sea creatures swirl around inside the jar. The aquariums also make great party decorations and party favours for kids to take home instead of a party bag.
Make your own zip sensory board

Make your own zip sensory board

Interactive zip sensory boards or busy boards are really easy to make and great for developing your toddler’s fine motor skills. Zip sensory boards are hands-on and engaging, and a great learning through play and sensory activity. All you need are some old zips of different colours and sizes, stiff card or an old cardboard box and glue.

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