Helen Barker Painting

Category Archives: Toddler Activities

Tinfoil toys


IMG_6058My daughter loves unwrapping presents, so for a fun independent activity I wrapped her toys in tinfoil! I chose toys that were easy to wrap and small enough to fit in her little box. She loves taking the lid off the box and discovering what’s in there.


I found that she even turned the familiar toys over in her hands, exploring them anew. This was a great activity for when I needed a few minutes to clear the kitchen after breakfast! She did get a bit obsessed with the tinfoil and we ended up scrunching it into balls to play catch with too!

P..P..P..P..Play Dough + recipe!


IMG_6117Confession. I LOVE PLAY DOUGH!  So on a recent haul round local craft shops I made sure to pick some up. Actually, I made some last week – recipe at the bottom – but I have to admit, it wasn’t as luminous as the stuff I bought today and that won out for me. I like things bright and shiny. Like a magpie. But the home made stuff is really fine too! And cheaper 🙂

Ok so this stuff wasn’t for me it was for my 14 month old daughter, but I think I had the most fun with it! In the end though, she got into the swing of pressing down cookie cutters and rolling the squidgy substance around her palm. (Mostly she wanted to pick bits off and flick them onto the rug…)

It’s definitely an activity I’ll be returning to and which we’ll both be getting more out of as she grows. Try it out – great on a rainy day and really helps little ones to focus, use fine motor skills and experiment with touch. Just watch out for their experimentation with taste – not an activity they can do unsupervised!

img_6026.jpgHome Made Play Dough

Little ones can help you make this soft, fun play dough. Here’s what you need:

  • 1 cup of flour
  • 1/4 cup of salt
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • a few drops of food colouring

Here’s what you do:

  1. Mix the flour and salt
  2. Slowly pour in the water, stirring as you do. Knead until the mixture is combined and the dough is soft but not sticky (add more flour if it is).
  3. Make a well in the centre of the dough with your thumb, add a few drops of food colouring and knead until thoroughly combined and the colour is even.
  4. Add more colouring if required!

As you can see my play dough was a bit pale – I ran out of time to add more colour, but adding more blue would really brighten it up!

Opening the mail


This is a post I’ve been meaning to write for a while, but just haven’t got around to. Lately it struck me that, although I spend as much time as possible on my painting business, I am for the most part (for the moment), an at-home Mum. And as such I spend a lot of time coming up with activities for my daughter to engage with. I thought it would be good to share them with you from now on! So, I’ll try to blog about them as much as I can and share with you any tips or ideas I have for entertaining toddlers!


My daughter is 14months and she loves to open things. Cans, boxes, packets, bottles… envelopes. So, taking advantage of this, and to help her fine motor skills along, I created an Opening the Mail activity with her toys.


I took a dozen small envelopes and put a toy or activity card in each one, folded them over and placed them in a small box with a lid. In the morning after breakfast, when she is happiest to concentrate on such things, I sat her in the lounge and let her explore.

She had a lot of fun ripping open the mail! She even examined the toys again as though they were new, and we talked about what they were called and looked like etc. She didn’t do these all at once but it was an activity she came back to throughout the day. As an extension to the activity I tried to encourage her to put the toys back in the envelopes/box afterwards. She wasn’t so keen on this part – maybe one for a future date!