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Pirate Castle

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This was definitely more of a mummy and daddy made activity activity as although easy to make is a bit fiddly. Older kids would enjoy painting and decorating it though.

You will need:

4 equal sized rectangles of cardboard (mine were about 5 x 7 inches)
4 cardboard tubes
Black paint
Tape (I used black duct tape)
Scissors
Straws

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First of all take one of the rectangles of cardboard and place one cardboard tube to the side of it.

Cut a slit roughly half way up the tube

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Cut a slit halfway down the rectangle

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They should slot together. Repeat this for each ‘wall’ of the castle – so each tube and each rectangle will have two slits in, so they all fit together. Don’t forget to cut out an archway in one of the pieces as a doorway.

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Cut little squares out of the top of the cardboard tubes to create turrets.

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Paint it all black (might be easier to take it all apart to do this). I used for the inside of the castle. I did this because I had used toy packaging for the cardboard and the one side was shiny and printed on, which is a nightmare to paint! It also gave it a little bit more strength.

I then wrapped black duct tape (can you tell I love the stuff?!) around drinking straws, although you could just paint art straws black, and created a flag out of the tape (yes I’m obsessed!!) but black paper would work just as well. I did intend to finish it off by adding some skull and crossbones stickers but, as with a lot of things when two toddlers are about, they disappeared!

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Harrison immediately wanted to play with it, so in our big play tub I tipped out our tub of lentils, some sparkly gems as treasure, and added in a cardboard ‘x’. Our pirate small world/sensory tub was finished with some Happyland pirates and our sponge sail boats. We dug for treasure by scooping up the lentils with spoons and poured lentils down the turrets of the castle.

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Lots of fun!

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Chinese New Year: sensory play

Today we did something we haven’t done for a while – a sensory box! I tried to link it to our Chinese New Year theme as much as possible.

We used the Rainbow Rice we made back way before Christmas. Because it was red and yellow it was vaguely Chinese coloured. I added in some bits of black and red wool, red and black pom poms of various sizes, red and black feathers. I chose red and black as these colours suggest China to me. I also found some laminated red fish from the days when I was a teacher that had basic sight words on. Harrison and Alex are too young to read them but fish ate symbolic in Chinese culture so it just added to it. They also have paper clips attached to make them magnetic to play magnetic fishing games with.

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I gave them the tub inside another, larger tub to try and contain the mess (still ended up everywhere!). The large tub is an underbed storage box – a smaller and cheaper alternative to a tuff spot. They had all the usual equipment that we use for activities like this – accessories from the play kitchen , cardboard tubes and bowls. I also gave them some chopsticks which our local Chinese takeaway kindly gave us for free!

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Their imagination soon went wild. They had great fun trying to pick things up with the chopsticks and stirring the rice. The bits of wool soon became noodles and then we ended up bringing the play kitchen into the lounge so they could ‘cook’ the noodles and rice. (Excuse the fact Harrison yet again has no trousers on, we are potty training!)
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This activity led to some maths investigation. We counted how many cups of rice it took to fill a bowl, talked about which bowl had more rice in and started to look at ‘more’ and ‘less’.

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