Exclusive Activity Ideas for Subscribers

Hurrah! You've found the exclusive area of my website, especially for subscribers to my newsletter. On this page, you'll find a selection of different ideas. I add one each time I send out a newsletter. The newest one is always added to the top of the page. Have fun!

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24 Christmas Activities Download

To download the 24 Christmas Activities click here. 

Feel free to print or share it with your friends. I just ask that you please mention my website when you do so. 

If you try the activities, I'd love to see your photos so please use the tag @busybrainsactivitypacks on social media or email me directly contact@busybrainsactivitypacks.co.uk

I will never reshare without first asking your permission.

Let's go fishing!
 

This activity is great for hand eye coordination, motor skills and perseverance! You can prepare it in advance or set it up together to give your child further learning opportunities. 

One of the benefits of this activity is you can use any items you have in the home and it can be made simpler or more difficult depending on the age and stage of your child. 

To make the 'rod', we used the arm of a baby mobile, string and the hook from a coat hanger. You could use a stick from the garden to make the fishing rod too.

Next we went around the house collecting the items to pick up. We talked about looking for lightweight objects and discarded any that were too heavy. This allowed us to investigate whether smaller items are always lighter than bigger ones.

When we had a number of items, I showed him how to bend a pipe cleaner to form a ring that could then be attached to each object. We talked about how larger hoops would be easier to retrieve so we made a few different sizes.

To begin with we took turns to play but later he returned to it independently to see how many he could 'catch'. 

To extend further you could make several rods of different lengths so your child could experiment to see which rod is easiest to use. 

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Spring Scavenger Hunt Download

To download the Scavenger Hunts click here.
  There are three age-appropriate options in the same file: baby, toddler and preschooler. 

 

The baby scavenger hunt is designed to promote communication between parent and child while also giving them the opportunity to use their senses to explore the world.

 

The toddler version aims to encourage independence and the concept of counting - model this for your child if necessary.

 

Finally the preschooler option encourages mark making by the inclusion of empty boxes to fill in as they find each item and encourages problem solving by using open-ended prompts that could have a range of different answers. How many different items can they find for each clue?

Feel free to print or share it with your friends. I just ask that you please mention my website when you do so. 

If you'd like to share any photos with me then please use the tag #busybrainsactivitypacks on social media or email me directly contact@busybrainsactivitypacks.co.uk

I will never reshare without first asking your permission but I would love to see them!

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Easter Treasure Hunt Download

To download the Easter Treasure Hunt click here. 

Feel free to print or share it with your friends. I just ask that you please mention my website when you do so. 

If you'd like to share any photos with me then please use the tag #busybrainsactivitypacks on social media or email me directly contact@busybrainsactivitypacks.co.uk

I will never reshare without first asking your permission.

I hope this Easter hunt will bring smile

Valentines Fun

A taste-safe activity suitable for babies age approx. 12 months+ (with supervision). The social aspect of this activity gives you the opportunity to talk to your little one about family members that they may not have seen for a while.

You will need: 

A baking tray or shallow container

Photographs of family members

Rice crispy cereal (enough to cover the tray)

Red food colouring (optional)

A brush or spoon (optional)

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You will need enough cereal to completely cover the base of the tray.

If you want to colour the cereal simply pour it into a bowl and add a few drops of food colouring, add a teaspoon or two of water and mix. I used gel food colouring for a more intense colour. The more you use, the darker it will become. 

Stir gently to avoid breaking up the cereal too much. When covered, spread it out on the tray and place in a cool oven (100°C) for 5 minutes to evaporate the added water. Remove from the tray and leave to cool.

Alternatively, if you want to use the cereal directly from the packet that is fine too. I used a mixture of plain and dyed cereal to add interest.  

Cut the photographs into heart shapes and spread them out on the tray.

Cover the pictures with the cereal. If you want to make a heart shape as I did, cut a heart shaped template from cardboard. Use a spoon to fill the heart with darker rice before adding the paler rice around the outside. 

Let your little one explore the tray and see who they can find hiding in the cereal. They could use a brush, spoon or their hands to search!

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Extend for different age groups

Idea 1: Place a photo in the base of a cupcake tin and let your little one spoon rice on top. Transferring the cereal from one container to another is a great way to work on their hand-eye coordination.

Idea 2: Encourage your little one to hide and cover the photos for you to find.

Idea 3: Set up a small piece of string like a small washing line and give your child pegs so they can peg the photos, when found, onto it.

Idea 4: Encourage your child to uncover the pictures slowly, revealing only a small section of each photo at a time so your little one can try and guess who it is.

Idea 5: Hide all but one of the photos and see if your child can remember who is missing.

Dancing Raisins

Your toddler will enjoy seeing the magic raisins dance with this simple activity.

You will need: 
a glass or clear plastic cup,
2/3 raisins, sultanas or currants
2 tablespoons bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)

2 tablespoons vinegar

Tap water

Pour water into the glass until it is 3/4 full. Pop the raisins in. Wait expectantly for the raisins to move (they won't yet). Add the vinegar and bicarb and stir. Soon, bubbles of carbon dioxide will attach themselves to the raisins and lift them up to the surface. Once there, the bubbles will pop and the raisins will become heavier than the liquid and will drop down again. How many times will your raisins rise and fall before they get too tired to move?

 

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Sort it out!

This activity is great for the development of fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, visual discrimination, identification of colours, letters, shapes and sizes. You can adapt the objects in the bowl to suit the age of your child (make them bigger for younger children or for older ones make them smaller which will be more of a challenge). 

Here I gave my son a bowl filled with pom-poms, wooden letters and coloured rice. He also had three different sized empty jars and various 'tools' to use to separate them. 

 

As we were playing I was setting him little challenges like, 'Can you find a 'd' in the bowl?' 'How many pom-poms can you scoop in one go?' 'How could you separate the rice from the other things without using your hands?' 

Tasty Play-Dough!

If you haven't tried play-dough yet because you're worried your little one might start eating it, then this recipe is a good place to start. It's a bread dough, so while it won't taste nice raw, it doesn't contain any nasties or high levels of salt.

 

Play-dough is a brilliant way to exercise the muscles in the arms and hands. It's also a great way for children to explore, imagine and often interact with you while they play.

This recipe is super easy and doesn't mind being handled, squashed and poked so you can even cook it and eat it when you are finished playing! 

Here my children and I made one quantity of dough and split it into three before adding other ingredients to change the colour. Scroll down for the recipe and instructions.

 

Before starting this activity it's a good opportunity to remind little ones of the necessity of washing hands before cooking and eating.

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Recipe
For the basic white bread dough

500g strong white bread flour (plus extra to get the right consistency)

10g salt

25g caster sugar

10g instant yeast

30g unsalted butter

320ml warm milk


20ml warm milk

0.5 tsp saffron
Extra flour for consistency


50g cocoa powder

30g black treacle

Measure all the ingredients (except the milk) of the white mix and place into a mixing bowl. Use the bread hook on an electric mixer if you have one, or mix by hand. Gradually add the warm milk until it forms a soft dough and the sides of the bowl are clean. If it is sticky, add more flour. If it is too dry, add more milk.

Split the dough into three.

Put the ball of white mix back into the machine for five minutes (or knead by hand until it's smooth and stretchy). After this time, it is ready to play with. We used a rolling pin and cookie cutters. Place the pieces onto a lightly oiled tray when you are ready to cook them.

 

To make the other two colours of dough.

Soak the saffron in the milk for five minutes and add it to one of the remaining dough balls. Add extra flour if it is too sticky. Use a mixer to knead it for five minutes or do it by hand. 

 

For the brown ball, add the cocoa powder and treacle to the remaining dough. Knead it until it is completely mixed in. Add more cocoa or treacle if necessary to strengthen the colour and get the texture right again. It should be like the other two balls. If it's sticky add more cocoa and if it's dry add more treacle. It'll seem marbled at first but keep going and it will combine in the end. Again it needs about 5 minutes in the mixer to become stretchy and pliable or you can do this by hand.

We used a medium gingerbread man cutter to make our bread men. We combined the scraps of each colour together to form another couple of bready people too.

Leave them covered for about an hour until they've had the chance to rise a little bit and then bake them at 200C for between 9 and 14 minutes depending on how thick a crust you want. To check they are cooked, knock on the bottom and it should sound hollow.