May 15, 2013 in Uncategorized
Well the weather here in not so sunny London is quite frankly dismal and I have been trying to find ways to at least bring a taste of summer to the boys.
Toys were carefully selected to attend and they were all told to be on their best behaviour, no squabbling or food fights. We had a couple of wobbly moments with Captain Hook and then Elmo had to have a short time out but on the whole they were pretty well-behaved.
The most important job for the boys was to make all the food for the picnic and this is where our Cutting Fruits and Party Cake came into play! The boys took it in turns to cut up the pieces of fruit and slice the cake, it took Sam a little bit to get the hang of getting the knife in the grooves but he concentrated hard on what he was doing and with a little help from his big brother he got there in the end. The pieces were all nice and chunky and easy for even little hands to hold. The fruit is all different shapes so it involves different skills of holding and cutting, there is simple pieces like the apple and the watermelon but then the pear and the orange can be a little more tricky to master with their curves.
Our fruit and cake was shared between the stuffy friends - George the Pig was given some rather preferential treatment from Sammy and got some rather large portions.
Next we set about making paper pizzas. At this point Sam went off to do his own thing but Elliott seemed very engaged painting “sauce” onto his paper and sticking on the paper cheese and pieces of tomato to it, in fact he enjoyed doing it so much he made 2!
Sam did eventually come back and decided to have a short painting session but he wanted to have a bit more freedom of expression in his creative work.
Once lunch was served Elliott busied himself collecting the pieces of fruit and cake back up so he could fit them all back together and cut them up again. The cutting fruit in particular makes simple mini 3D puzzles giving a younger child an opportunity to explore their problem solving skills. I wasnt hugely surprised by how much Elliott enjoyed cutting and slicing the play food as he is a big fan of cutting things with scissors and at least this way he wasnt making a mess of my living room floor or using sharp scissors
The food all had a lovely tactile quality and the Party Cake makes me hungry every time I look at it!
Over the course of the afternoon Elliott and Sam have both been revisiting the cutting fruits and have had a few cake related squabbles. The paint quality on the play food is really good and the velcro holding the pieces together appears sturdy and unlikely to be coming off anytime in the future. The velcro sits within the fruit itself so when it is sliced it will not be sliced off by repeatedly getting caught on the knife.
A couple of Christmas’ ago we purchased a play kitchen for the boys and I am sure that all the play food will be used for years to come in conjunction with that. I also aim to use it when I am cooking to give Sammy something to “chop” whilst I chop the vegetables and keep his little fingers out of harms way.
My only real critic of the products would be the little apron that comes a long with the cutting fruits set. The product itself is aimed at those over the age of 3 years old but the apron was so small that it only just about fit Sam, who is still wearing clothes in 12-18 months. Also although it was easy to put on it needed to be knotted to keep it in place and then when I came to take it off the knots were very difficult to undo and had they have tightened I think we would have needed to cut it off! The other issue we had was that one post play biscuit later and we have a dirty apron needing to be washed and no instructions on how to do it. It is a lovely idea to include the apron with the set but it does need some improvements making to it as it ends up letting the rest of the product down a little.
The final results of these products has been 2 happy and engaged little boys who have been able to practice their problem solving, turn taking, creative play and sharing as well as learning a new skills without even knowing it and isn’t that what a lot of play is all about.
As for the teddies, well they were so stuffed after their picnic they had to sleep it all off!