Snow White loves it when I make toys for and with her. In the last few months we’ve made binoculars a camera and space rockets from cardboard and other packaging I’ve saved for the purpose. She is very good at painting and decorating them. Just recently we spent two rainy mornings constructing a rock pool and its residents:
I recently bought some shoes which came with cardboard inserts in the toes to help them keep their shape. These made a great rock formation for one corner and the shoe box lid was the overall container. We used some blue bubble paintings we’d made to glue into the bottom as water and Snow White then painted the rocks grey and stuck on little bits of plastic bag seaweed.
Egg box segments make beautiful sea anemones. Some are what Snow White calls “blobbed up” but one has his woolly tentacles out to feed and has been given googly eyes because he is “awake”! The crab was made from a small white box and his pincers from pieces of egg box (with much difficulty, a glue gun and burnt fingers for me). Pipe cleaners form his legs and he was painted thoroughly by my assistant. I’m particularly proud of the prawn, fashioned from folded craft foam and held together by the pipe cleaner legs and antennae. His feet are a bit sharp and scratchy, but that’s okay as long as he confines his frisky antics to the rock pool!
The starfish is the simplest animal of all – just a shape cut from craft foam and two googly eyes – but he is probably the most beloved inhabitant of the pool. He gets up to all kinds of fun and can have his legs bent into different shapes without injury to either party… although the vet set is frequently employed to put plasters around him and make him better when the crab nips him. The little blenny I whipped up out of some scraps of felt and Snow White then glued on his sequin scales and the ubiquitous eyes. I’m very fond of him, but he doesn’t seem as adventurous as his pals.
So far, with careful play, all is still in tact (bar a couple of incidents where eyes were pulled off to “see what happens”), but tacky glue solves all!
I’m also very chuffed with the quarry-in-a-box that I made last week:
This one was made without my little helper, as it was a surprise. It’s custom built to house her set of mini plastic construction vehicles. I built up a base of empty plastic containers and filled in the gaps with light weight air-drying clay. There are three containers with tiny gravel (saved from our holiday) for the excavators to scoop up and a craft foam road that they can travel from one level to another along.
We have to spread a cloth under this to catch the spilled gravel, but Snow White usually remembers to be careful and absolutely loved playing with it. It didn’t take her long to branch out into bringing other toys in to play in the gravel pits and she is enjoying the creative potential! This idea was inspired by the sensory boxes created by Pink & Green Mama.
In other news we went to the local strawberry farm in the drizzle and the bulk of the pickings are now in the freezer waiting for me to have energy to turn them into jam.
Recent milestones include allowing her hair to be plaited, venturing forth in big-girl underwear rather than nappies (this time last month I thought she would never be ready to try!), announcing that she wants to learn letters (she calls them “numbers” but no matter!) – of which she recognise at least E, S, O, L and her favourite K after only a couple of days of playing with the fridge magnets – and singing Frere Jacques with perfect tune, timing and French accent! Granny seems to have taught her this last trick in one afternoon :)