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Under the Sea: dioramas and counting octopus

Well, we’ve kept to the plan so far!
Today we made two things – dioramas and counting octopuses.

The diorama was fab to make and looks brilliant. It was only meant to be a crafty ornament type thing but Harrison has loved using all his sea creature toys in it as a small world backdrop.
A diorama is a 3d picture or scene created in a small space. Ours was an ‘under the sea’ scene to fit in with our theme.
We used a shoebox as a base. Last night I painted the inside blue and painted on some seaweed, but older children could do this themselves. I had also printed out some sea animals from here and cut these out. Harrison had a bit of a scribble on them but then asked me to colour them in. Whilst I did this, he stuck on some little crab stickers that came in his sticker book. Alex was quite happy in his highchair playing with sea creature toys.
When the pictures were coloured and cut out, Harrison chose where he wanted to stick the octopus and crab. I taped some blue thread to the back of the star fish and jellyfish and taped it to the inside ‘roof’ of the diorama. However,they did twirl round so we coloured some more in and stuck them back to back.
We then glued in some grey pom-poms as rocks – we used the glue gun to do this so they stayed put. Harrison finished by sticking some crabs on to the rocks, remembering them from our trip to the Sea Life Centre

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We also made a counting octopus. I cut a paper plate in half and we glued on some googly eyes. We drew on a friendly smiley mouth. I’d cut out some strips of coloured paper. We chose eight strips and glued them on to the back of the plate for tentacles. At the end of each tentacle we glued on a circle and labeled each one from 1-8.
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Harrison adores his octopus, having lots of fun counting the tentacles and even cuddled it when relaxing for his nap!
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Mini Creations
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Invitation to Play: Playdough and Pasta

I was looking through the pictures on our Facebook page (link( and found photos of our very first ‘invitation to play’.
When we did this activity back in January there was absolutely no planning involved. I just remember there being thick snow outside, Gray was working 12 hour shifts, I had a 9 week old baby and 19 month old toddler to amuse! This was a spur of the moment activity before I’d ever heard of Pintrest or anything like that, and it kept Harrison amused for ages!

The set up was really easy and quick. On his little table I gave him a pot of play dough, and a tub with dried pasta tubes and dried spaghetti and left him to it. Within minutes he was making balls of dough and sticking the spaghetti strands in, and then threading the dried pasta onto the stands. It was a perfect activity for developing fine motor skills!

Now he’s a year older I’m going to do this again,and let Alex have a go. I will challenge him more this time by asking him to count the pasta tubes. I’m going to provide a bowl of cheerio-type cereal for threading as well, and see if we can thread x amount of cereal on the strands of spaghetti.

A brilliantly simple and quick activity that kids will love!

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