Monday, 2 July 2012

Rainy days!

Indoor activity table

If like me your wondering where the sun is and exactly when he's going to put that hat of his on then you'll probably also be wondering what to do with the little ones and all those exciting garden toys you bought in anticipation of summer. I have simply brought those toys inside and am making the most of what we have to hand to keep Dylan amused as I personally find that the noise of frustrated whinging is 100% more effective at grinding down my nerves when trapped within the same four walls for any length of time. Here I am gonna share some ideas we have explored using our sand/water table, minus the sand!

First of all the most obvious and straight-forward use, water. I added an extra visual element using bath water colour tablets which can be purchased at Tinti along with some other fun bath things.
I purchased these water changing tablets as I was concerned about food colouring staining the bath and more importantly my son! I certainly didn't want to have to explain to a passing stranger why my son was bright blue or face concerned mum's when I turned up to class with a scarlet Dylan. I have since discovered that only a miniscule amount of colouring is needed to colour a bath and we have experienced no staining of the tub or otherwise but please check your own before diving straight in as it where.
We explored all shades of red by letting Dylan pour different amounts into the two halves of the table with a watering can which he got very, very excited about and which now needs to be hidden out of sight when water play isn't an option! I tried to show him the difference between objects that sink and those that float but splashing was far more interesting and not every idea I have is "fun" in his eyes!

 Now for something all together less wet. We uhm'd and agh'd for some time about wether to put sand in the table indoors but decided it would not only be easily trod into the entire house but it would also be near impossible to transfer out of the table when we felt the need for something else. After searching the web for ideas I came across coloured rice it was perfect, it would be easy to remove and store and also let me play with food colouring again! I found several conflicting ways for colouring the rice and in the end settled on vinegar and food dye. Its a really easy method and gave great results, all you need is a ziplock freezer bag (there slightly stronger than regular food bags and trust me you don't want to find out why that is important, its messy) approx. 1 tbsp of vinegar, some greasproof paper and a few drops of colouring. Lay the paper out ready to put the freshly dyed rice on and then pop everything in the freezer bag and shake till its all evenly coated. Its that easy! The instructions said to dry overnight but we found it only took a few hours and surprisingly didn't smell too strongly of vinegar.


We made 2 colours, one for each side of the table and then chucked in some beach toys - a rake, a spade and some moulds.  The colours didn't stay seperate for long but thats ok and the great thing about this is we can just pour the rice into an airtight container and store it away till the next time. I have to say I really enjoyed this activity as the rice feels really nice to run your fingers through and although we spent a lot of time the first day saying "On the table!" and "Keep it in the table!" it was really good fun and we have returned to it many times since.

I couldn't finish this post without mentioning that these tables are also great to have in the house purely to be used as tables as silly as that sounds. We use ours daily for arts and crafts such as painting, drawing and play-doh. Dylan also occassionally demands a layed back breakfast as you can see below...

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