Hi everybody! Emma has been kind enough to let me take pop over from my blog, The Natural Momma in Me, to share with you the nursery rhyme inspired activity I completed with my 19 month old daughter, Isabelle, as part of her nursery rhyme week.
The nursery rhyme I focused on was Oranges and Lemons:
“Oranges and lemons,
Say the bells of St. Clement’s.
You owe me five farthings,
Say the bells of St. Martin’s.
When will you pay me?
Say the bells of Old Bailey.
When I grow rich,
Say the bells of Shoreditch.
When will that be?
Say the bells of Stepney.
I do not know,
Says the great bell of Bow.”
I knew straight off that I wanted an orange and yellow coloured and scented base. Isabelle adores moon sand so it was the perfect choice for this activity. If you’ve never made moon sand before, it is a silky smooth type of sand, which is crumbly between your fingers, but moulds amazingly well which means you can build amazing sculptures.
I make my moon sand by adding 1 cup of baby oil to 8 cups of plain flour and mixing until it is a ‘breadcrumb’ consistency. In the past we have played with it plain, scented and with glitter, but have not yet coloured it, so this was new territory.
For the lemon moon sand, I grated the rind of 1 lemon into the flour and then squeezed the lemon juice into the baby oil. I added a generous glug of yellow food colouring and mixed. It gave a lovely soft lemon colour, with a nice strong scent too. The orange didn’t go so well at all. I again grated the rind of an orange and added the juice, however in the absence of orange food colouring I mixed yellow and red, to no effect. I then added powdered orange chalk and eventually got the tiniest hint of peach in there, but was is a far cry from the vibrant orange I had anticipated.
I set up the sand on our tuff spot before adding yellow and orange utensils, some slices of real lemon and segments and peel of an orange as well. The second verse of the rhyme talks about farthings, and Isabelle adores her “monies”, so I threw a generous helping of coins onto the tuff spot to encourage her explore. A few minutes into the activity I remembered to add in some of our musical instruments, including our orange bells, and some yellow and orange sand pit shapes.
Isabelle loved this activity. The first thing she did was to try and eat the lemon, which she wasn’t a fan of at all, before she sat down in the tuff spot and began to play. For the first while she simply lifted the sand and dropped it into one of the scoops – her transporting schema in action – before she and I made some shapes together. She loved plunging her hands in and crumbling the sand between her fingers, and even enjoyed having it on her toes and stamping in it. She wasn’t as interested in hunting the coins as I had thought, instead she simply enjoyed the sand itself. We got one of her big buckets out and she loved filling that with the sand before making castles – over and over I heard “More castle! More castle!”. Isabelle loves to sniff, so we spent some time sniffing the sand and talking about the colours and the feel between our fingers.
We played for well over an hour – jangling our bells, sniffing the smells, picking out the colours, building up and smashing down castles. It was a perfect way to fill a quiet morning and it was a lot of fun adding the nursery rhyme theme into our play, which definitely made me think of some different items to incorporate in the activity.
Moon sand is always a winner in our house. It is one of the less messy ‘messy play’ activities, and it’s so simple to make, easy to customise and stores really well. Isabelle loves it, and her daddy and I do to!
This guest post from The Natural Momma In Me is part of World Nursery Rhyme Week. Click on the picture below to find out more information and to take a look at the other toddler friendly nursery rhyme activities and crafts:
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