Play - The Book Reviews

So you may recall that I wrote a couple of previous posts (here and here) about my search for play ideas for BB. I have now found heaps of ideas, so I thought I would share.

Firstly, the two books that ordered arrived quite quickly and both were good.

The Encyclopedia of Infant and Toddler Activities pictured left has hundreds of activities organised into different categories (literacy, sensory, outdoor etc) and then further organised by age (infants, younger toddlers, older toddlers). Although some of the activities are obvious and don't need writing down, most are really great. As soon at the book arrived I opened it and the first great idea that I saw was for No Mess Painting. This involved using large (1 or 2 inch) paintbrushes and water and 'painting' on the pavers outside. Brilliant I thought  - that's exactly the kind of idea I was looking for. Simple, easy, fun. I raced out to the shed to grab the paint brushes, only to remember that I recently cleared some space in the shed by putting all of that stuff in the loft! Perhaps that was good thing as I am not all that good at cleaning brushes so there could well be some traces of paint left behind. We went to a budget store a couple of days later and bought 5 brushes for 99p - money well spent I think - though BB was just as interested in sucking the water from the bristles as he was in developing his artistic talents. A new and fun experience of his own making though and so just as valuable as the intended task.

The second book was Developing Play for the Under Threes. This is quite a different book as instead of listing huge numbers of activities like the previous one, it focuses on the value of giving babies and toddlers natural and household objects to explore and play. As an education professional I am really getting in to this book as I am once again exploring educational theory but at a very different level (I have previously worked as a teacher secondary students, and also in proving teacher trainer training an professional development). The book focuses on what is known as Heuristic Play (a term new to me).  Apparently this term comes from the Greek work eurisko which means 'I find', or 'I discover' and is also where Archimedes exclamation of Eureka comes from. The book focuses on developing a treasure basket,  which I haven't done yet, but I will. If you are interested in finding out more read this.

I am loving this book so far, not least because it is making me feel like I actually am regularly doing many things which are really valuable for BB's learning and development already. He is always playing with real things and natural objects. He loves to explore outdoors and I have no problem with him getting dirty. His favourite activity when we visit my Nana at the moment is to play with the pots and pans in her saucepan cupboard. I will definitely finish the book and then hopefully I'll be able to provide him with opportunities to make his explorations even richer.

On this note I thought I would share some photos of fun he had recently exploring rice.  The hardest part of the day here is that time between his afternoon nap and dinner. He needs entertaining, which makes cooking dinner quite a challenge. On this day I had chicken curry in the slow cooker, but we still had to cook the rice. I gave him a little pot of rice to shake, thinking this might amuse him for a minute or two. It did, but getting the pot undone became his clear goal. When I realised this was going to happen I had a small moment of regret (the mess!) and then got I over it. I got out a metal bowl for him to pour it into as I thought it would make a great sound.
You can taste it 

You can shake it

You can spread it around the floor and lay in it

You can put it in the bowl and hear the sound

You can move it around with your hands

You can tip it all out again

There was a little rice to sweep up when he was done, but to be honest, a few grains of dry rice is fairly insignificant compared to the mess he makes when he eats it! Well worth it as it amused him for as long as it took the rice to cook!

Hello, and thanks for stopping by. My name is Emma and I am a lifestyle entrepreneur, writer, teacher, coach and mentor. I am passionate about eating real food, learning, travel and health. I get to spend my days with my amazing son who has chosen to learn from the world rather than at school. We write to share the life we love and to help others create a life they love too.


  1. Sounds like great books I am now going to have to order! Thanks for sharing!

    1. My next post is going to be about some great websites and blogs that I found too - so if you wait a bit I there are lots of ideas out there for free too!

  2. Dried rice and pasta are great for play. I really like the sound of that book too.