## Pompom Hockey

Keep the kids entertained with Pompom Hockey.  It is a super simple activity you can set up at home for the kids, that is fun, challenging and exciting.  It also gets little bodies moving!

What you will need?

You will need, pompoms, any size will do, masking tape, paper plates and cardboard tubes.
To make the scoops we just cut the paper plate with 3 straight edges and stuck it onto the end of the cardboard tube with masking tape.  We also made square shape boxes on the floor with the masking tape as the goals for the pompoms.

Let’s Play:

The challenge of Pompom Hockey is to get as many pompoms into your square!  The rules of the game are to not use your hands, that only the scoop can be used to move the pompoms around the floor and into the squares.

The Pompom Hockey then developed into sorting the pompoms into groups according to colour.  It was fun to watch as they concentrated really hard to separate the coloured pompoms from the mixed coloured group in the centre of the floor.

As my girls were playing and sorting the pompoms into groups according to colour, I thought that this would be a great and fun way to encourage learning about numbers.  I placed a number card into each square and the challenge was to put that number of pompoms to match into the square.  Depending on the age of the child, you will use smaller numbers and higher numbers for older kids and school age children.

There are many leaning benefits for kids with Pompom Hockey:
• Gross motor skills – scooping, navigating, gliding
• Developing movement, coordination and control
• Eye & hand coordination, focus and concentration
• Developing an understanding about number and collections of how many
• Developing an understanding of colour and the challenge of separating them into groups.
• Building strong bodies: muscles, bones and hearts
• Loads of fun and laughter!
Eye Spy with my Little Eye………other AWESOME pompom activities I have ’spotted’ around the web!

## Great Places to Play at Home!

There are so many wonderful places in the home where children can play imaginatively and creatively.
Kids will create imaginary worlds to explore and play using the most inexpensive and simple things you can find right at home.  Here are a few ideas for you to try!

COUCH CUSHIONS OBSTACLE COURSE

Play at home using the pillows from your couch, you can make some fabulous obstacle courses for the kids to navigate.  It encourages gross motor development through crawling, climbing, jumping and rolling.  You could try island hopping with some small cushions laid out in a line or make a track with the larger ones connecting up to a tunnel.  We have made tunnels to crawl and navigate through, a pile of pillows which the kids called rocks to climb over.  The ideas and endless!

COUCH CUBBY HOUSE
There are different ways of creating a couch cubby; we have used our base cushions as walls with a blanket thrown over the top for a roof.  So simple and the kids will play in it for hours.  Miss 20 months at the time enjoying a book in her couch cubby!

CARDBOARD BOX BUS
I love cardboard boxes because the imagination and the things you can do with them are endless.  Here is Miss 21 months’ pretending to drive a bus with her box and a lid  for a steering wheel.  We were singing ‘The Wheels on the Bus go round and round’.  Boxes do not require setting up, just leave them out and the kids will make magic happen in them!

TABLE CUBBY HOUSE
I am sure we all have memories of doing this when we were kids.  Remove all the dining chair and throw a blanket over the top of your dining table to make an indoor cubby house for the kids to play underneath.

WARDROBES
My kids have made some wonderful imaginative play stories happen in our wardrobes.  One that I remember is a ‘Lift Off’ which is what they called it at the time but it really was an elevator.  Set up a little tea party invitation to play in a wardrobe!

PILLOW STACK
This is Miss 6 back when she was not even 2 years olds, playing in a stack of pillows.
We just piled pillows up around her leaving an opening in the middle, a bit like a donut.   She would climb in and out giggling and laughing while building up her gross motor skills.

Collect up all the pillows around the house and pile them up and see the fun of play, imagination and learning happen.  With older children you can turn this into a bit of a maths lesson by counting how many pillows are in the house.   Pillows are so much fun to play with!

BALL PIT

Make your own ball pit at home with a small blown up swimming pool or fill a kids play tent with them.
BEHIND THE COUCH
Behind the couch is another fun place to play at home.  Lay blankets on the floor and somehow create a roof with pillows or blankets.  Make a door with more pillows or a tunnel to enter the behind the couch cubby.
Here is Miss 22months with a bowl of popcorn and her little chair playing behind the couch.

BLANKET SWING OR RIDE
Play at home by making your own blanket swing and ride.  Using a strong blanket or towel, have your child lie in the centre and carefully pull them along the ground for a blanket ride.   A blanket swing is similar but you need two adults to hold one end each of the blanket or towel to carefully swing your child, a bit like the game ‘A Milk Shake’. Sometime my kids have placed a pillow underneath their heads for the added protection.
All my kids have loved this and still do even though my two older girls are getting too heavy to pull around on a blanket or a swing.

PLASTIC CUPBOARD OR DRAWER
We have so many plastics ware at our house and the kids love to play with them.  I have a separate box for the plastic containers and lids that I just pull out for them to explore and play with as they like.

DINING CHAIRS
Play at home using your dining chairs and make a car wash tunnel using scarves and stockings for your child to crawl through.  You can read more about this activity here: Car Wash Tunnel

Washing baskets are fabulous much like cardboard boxes, where kids love to climb in and out of them.  They are great for creating games and imaginative stories such as a boat by placing blue towels or blankets around the washing basket and a small broom or stick for a sail.
Bring a washing basket out into the lounge room with pillows and blankets and see what fun can be made with them!

Have fun creating wonderful play opportunities and memories right in your home!

## Kids Car Wash Tunnel

I truly believe that the simplest things bring the most fun!   We have been making a homemade Car Wash Tunnel for the kids using simple items you will find around the house.  This is such a fantastic activity to do with toddlers, older babies and pre-schoolers to help build up gross motor skills and have lots of fun inside when it is raining outside.

What you will need?

You will need dining chairs, stockings, long socks and scarves, and a large blanket to throw over top to create an enclosed tunnel effect.
We wedged the scarves and stockings between the chairs pushed together and to make sure they didn’t fall through I also placed a cushion on top to hold them into place.  I found the scarves to be the best for the car wash because they flop over the chair seat hanging over both sides, making it less likely to fall during play.

Miss 22 months had a wonderful time, giggling and laughing as she crawled, wriggled and pulled herself through the car wash tunnel.  She loved the feeling of the clothing touching her face and when she came through each part she would say ‘peek-a-boo” and wave hello.

Miss 4 also got involved with crawling and pulling herself through the tunnel with Miss 22 months but when Miss 22months went down for a nap she had other play ideas in mind.  Miss 4 played in a different way and was pushing a toy bus through the tunnel car wash to see if she could get it to come out the other end without crashing.  This did take some practise and as her accuracy improved she managed to push the toy bus all the way through the car wash tunnel.

Kids Car Wash is great for learning:
• Lots of gross motor skills – crawling, sliding, pulling, wriggling and navigating objects.
• Sensory exploration – touching, feeling and looking for a way through.
• Developing movement and coordination
• Building strong bodies: muscles, bones and hearts
• Language development – using repetitive words, such a ‘wash’ and ‘peek-a-boo’.
• Loads of fun and laughter!

## Getting Active with Dice

Active Dice is a fun game to get little bodies moving!

It is much like a blend of the games Simon Says and Twister.  The game involves rolling two dice, one with numbers and one with different parts of the body, then rolling the dice and following the directions as to what is shown on the dice.

What you will need?

You will need two dice, I picked these large foams ones up in a craft store.
You will also need to print off the Active Dice Game Cards to attach each body part to each side of one of the dice.

How to play?
Roll both dice; they land on 3 and body.  Give the instruction; “the dice say to wriggle your body three times”.  “The dice say to wave your arms 6 times,” and so on.
You can speed up the momentum of this game by changing from one instruction to the next quickly.

This active play game is great for;
• Developing movement and coordination
• Building strong bodies: muscles, bones and hearts

## Pillow Case Hoppers

Rolling around on the grass in hysterical laughter……what fun!
My two eldest girls (3 and 5) enjoyed a sunny winters day playing with their pillow case hoppers and this reminded me of how the simple things can bring so much fun, while being active. This game is an oldie but a goodie replacing the hessian sacks with a pillow case……simple hours of fun!

We laid out a stretched rope for a starting place and another at the end for a finishing post. Hopped from one end, then we turned around and started again!  Amongst the falling to ground and giggling to!
Tip: use the folded flap of the pillow case at the front of the body as this gives kids more gather for their little hands to hold.

Pillow case hoppers are great for getting kids physically active and;
Developing movement and coordination
Building strong bodies: muscles, bones and hearts
Encouraging self esteem and thinking skills
Developing social skills

Go hop to it and have some fun!