Doctor Sprog is in the house!

One of the gifts in my goody bag from BritmumsLive in the summer was a kids magazine with some freebie toys attached. At the time Sprog was not 2 yet and I felt that they were a little small for him still.

This week however, I finally cracked them out and oh my…did he love them?!  The set included a stethoscope, some stickers shaped like plasters, a tube of medicine which Sprog quickly identified as being ‘cream’, a notepad and pen, along with a thermometer. I’m sure that if you don’t have these things lying around that you could compromise… How about a cardboard thermometer or a cheapy notepad from a pound shop?!

I’d managed to get home a little bit before Sprog was dropped home when I set this up for him to play and I labelled different areas of the lounge with signs saying “Medicine cupboard”, “Waiting room”, “Doctor Sprog’s room”. I didn’t even have to say much when he walked in and saw it set up with a sofa full of patients quietly waiting.  His reaction was simply “Wow” before snatching up his stethoscope and getting to it.



It was fabulous to see Sprog letting his imagination go crazy. It turned out that Woody had a poorly knee which he needed a vast quantity of different colour plasters for… at one point, I did think that we might have to delve into my stash of actual plasters! He also had a temperature and was “Too hot” according to Doctor Sprog.


Sprog eventually turned his attentions to Makka Pakka and Jessie.  It seemed that Makmak (!!!) had a poorly tummy and needed a large amount of cream applying to his tummy and then he needed to drink some.  When it was Jessie’s turn, I was charged with writing Doctor Sprog’s notes for him so that he could keep them in his pink doctor tub afterwards.  Jessie had an unfortunate accident where she’d fallen/been pushed off the sofa! After further investigation Doctor Sprog found that she too had hurt her knee… cue more plasters! I was convinced she’d hurt her face and needed a plaster there but Doctor Sprog was adamant that this was not the case!


My favourite bit of this imaginative play was that Sprog led the whole session once I’d set it up and I just did want I was told! It was great to see the change in his thinking and this kind of play is what I had been craving since he was about 18 months old. Now we’re here, I blooming love it!  I think it helped him that our cat had been poorly (only a couple of teeth taken out, nothing too major) recently so we’d already been using some of the vocabulary needed.

I was also amazed when Hubby took Sprog to the out of doctors with him on Saturday morning.  He took his stethoscope with him and as he sat down in the Doctor’s room with Hubby and he told the Doctor “My Daddy poorly” … he is genuinely making my heart burst with pride at the moment with the developments in his speech and in his ability to recognise and empathise with other people’s emotions.

Dinosaur free play session

I have been racking my brains for history related activities to do with Sprog and whilst I may have a lot of ideas (I am a History Teacher!) none were really appropriate for someone who cannot yet grasp the concept of time.

On Friday, Nanny and Sprog had a great time exploring some shells that they’d collected off the beach a few weeks ago (by which I definitely don’t mean that they took them home from the beach, apparently that’s totally not allowed!). They’d been talking all about the different types of shell and how they had become that shape and what they were used for.

So today, we managed to squeeze in a bit of spontaneous play which I’m classing as “history” based because I introduced some new dinosaurs for first time.
We have some amazing leaves in the garden at the moment after hubby trimmed the trees back.

This just serves as an example of what amazing play and discovery can come of experimenting and free play. But also a reminder that whilst you might be desperate for your little person to get on and start doing things, give them space and they will get there eventually.

We pulled the dinosaurs out of the bag and off we went playing about 10 rounds of hide and seek around the garden…dinosaurs are a perfect leaf colour and really difficult to find! Oops, nasty Mama!


Making Sprog dig through the leaves to find some dinosaurs


Oooo, there’s one under there!


When they were found, they had to be lined up on the bench


This little one had jumped on to the waterimg candle



Toddler airplane crafts

This week, I decided to take a bit more of a free play approach to our crafting session which was utterly terrifying but so worth it as Sprog entertained himself Forfar longer than if I had been trying to get him to produce something specific.

As we sat down at the table I asked him about what he sees in the sky to which he replied “aero”, I expected nothing less from my airplane obsessed boy and then we tried to talk a bit about birds but he was eager to get going.

The first thing that I did was cut 2 foam shapes out and insert the wings through a hole in the body of the plane.  You can see it at the front of this picture. He loved zooming it around over his head whilst I got a few bits organised on the table for him to play with.

aero4As I set the paints out, I had a loose idea that we would make some lolly stick airplanes but Sprog wanted to paint paper plates for a while too so we went with it.  I made these into a helicopter which is proudly stuck on our fireplace now.  He also got really involved in playing with a cork and a kitchen roll tube.  There was paint everywhere but he was giggling all over the place from throwing the cork around inside the tube, dropping the cork through the tube and onto his face, squishing the tube so it couldn’t get out – a whole world of fun apparently!


Start and middle of painting time – I even Instagrammed the reality!

We ended up with quite a selection of airplanes in different shapes, colours and materials which were dry by the next day and Daddy got treated to a beautiful acrobatic display as Sprog whizzed them all over the place.  This was so special to see as he has developed his imagination recently and can now pretend that the toilet roll with a lolly stick stuck on top is actually an airplane and he doesn’t look at me like I’m crazy for suggesting the idea. He’s the one picking stuff up and going with it.  Yesterday for dinner, a piece of pitta bread became a “Choo choo train” and went all over the table on it’s journey and I just love seeing this side of him develop, it’s amazing to watch.

aero 2 aero1


Imagination Matters Shapes

Every week we share our ideas for imaginative, creative and free play with our babies and toddlers. This linky is the place where we share them.

As a full time working Mama, I have limited time with Sprog. I get the expected Mama guilt’s about not being around all of the time and not making always making the most of our time together for Sprog’s developmental benefit but I have a plan to change all of that and I want your help.

I have a prompt or theme for each week and I want your inspiration when it comes to free play, creative activities and imaginative play. We must be a creative bunch if we able to write wonderful posts and maintain blogs but how are we sharing this with our kids? Show me your ideas?

Imagination Matters prompts

The Linky will launch every Monday and I will keep it open all week for link ups so that you have loads of opportunity to be inspired by other posts and record your amazing activities.

This week the theme is “Shapes” and I’ll link up my post to get us all started. There might be a slight delay this week as we were away at the weekend and I haven’t had any writing time.

Here’s a preview picture from what we got up to.

Here are the rules:

1. Link up any posts that are relevant to the week’s theme… old or new, I don’t mind.

2. Attach the Imagination Matters badge to your post. I am not technological competent, it took me a while to create this so please use it!

3. Comment on the post before yours and another one. It’s only fair that we share some imaginative love around.

4. If you tweet me @mamavsteacher and use the hashtag #imaginationmatters, I will retweet them and share the creativity.

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I can’t wait to see what you’ve all been up to!

Investigating the weather with Sprog

At 23 months old (yes, he’s almost 2) Sprog is well and truly earning his Toddler strips, he makes me so proud every day with the new things he learns and the warmth and love in his heart.

This week for #imaginationmatters our theme was the weather. And for once the great British weather did not let us down.


One thing that we were able to get stuck into was a homemade rain catcher.

I used a snack pot that we haven’t used in ages, marked a couple of lines on it using a Sharpie and left it out on the table. Our lines were imaginatively called ‘little’, ‘a lot’, and ‘uh oh’!

When we got home from our rather wet day out, Sprog and I headed out to the garden where he was super excited to see that there was plenty of rain in the cup. He was so excited that we had to go to the front garden and water the bushes with the rain water immediately… Even though it was still raining!!

We also did our obligatory craft session by making clouds and sunshines.


Sprog was loving the PVA glue which is something that we haven’t used at home yet. He was not so keen on the sticky aspect of it which is somewhat of a problem. He really disliked the feel of the cotton wool once it had the glue on and didn’t want to touch the tissue paper either.

Our finished items have been stuck to the fireplace so that we can continue talking about the different types of weather.


What Sprog has learnt this week 

  • lots of new words including ‘rain catcher’, ‘wellie’ and lots of repetition of what we say
  • To manage new textures and sensations
  • More role play with his toys… Makka Pakka has featured highly in this
  • That we still have fun in the rain but that we just have to wear wellies and a Thomas coat… Mine is just not as exciting!

Fireman Sprog

We’ve been upto a few fireman related activities in the last week and with me feeling a little under the weather, I’m sure we could have developed these a bit further.


The first was this invitation to play which I set up for when Sprog got home from nursery. I really quickly sliced up some black card from the craft box, stuck it to the rug and drew the dotted lines on with chalk. I placed the fire engine and police car on it.

I also put some car stickers at the side. Needless to say my boy loved this!


We also got stuck into a bit of craft for which I used an idea that I borrowed after seeing it on Toddler Approved Tuesday.

– Paper
– Coloured tissue paper
– water

1 – Wet some plain paper with water
2 – Add the tissue paper on top and let it absorb the water
3 – Let it dry out and then remove the layer of tissue paper.
4 – We then cut the paper into flame shapes.



Finally, the weekend saw our local fire station open day and we were so excited to take Sprog out. We knew there’d be lots of engines of all kinds and couldn’t wait to take him. However, on the day, we were battling some molar teething so he wasn’t in the best place.


Imagination shopping play time

We’ve been having fun this week with our shopping theme as we have explored real and imaginative play. Sprog and I spent quite a while at Tesco at the weekend, I had to get some birthday cards and some food to take to a picnic with us. We’d walked round in the buggy and Sprog sat contently for a little while but I don’t really like using the buggy so I ditched it after a while and let him roam freely.


Sprog helped to choose birthday cards that need sending out this week… One relative received a card with knitted potatoes on the front as a result.


We ended up sitting on the floor in front of the snacks whilst we discussed all the different colours of the snacks and the shapes. Sprog finally settled on the purple packet of stars.  He was less decisive about the Pringles tubes but eventually settled on smoky BBQ flavour.

For our imaginative play I set up the lounge with little signs and displays of books/magazines, toys, drinks and there was also an animal stand.

I gave Sprog 5 post-it notes each with a number 1 that I drew on where he could see it. I told him that each item was £1 and that he could have 5 things in his toy trolley.


We’ve played this a couple of times over the course of the week and each time he has understood what is happening more.  When he played later in the week with hubby he tried to buy 6 items, hubby explained that he only had 5 pieces of money so he could only buy 5 things, he went and put one back without argument.


Nanny N got in on the action this week as she played the cashier role beautifully, once Sprog had managed to hand over the items that he wanted to buy.

I was impressed at Sprog’s numeracy development as the week went on. He became much better at understanding the concept of needing the money to pay for the items.

If you are hesitant to try something out as you aren’t sure that your small person will understand it yet.  My advice after this week is just go for it, be prepared for it to be a disaster and let go of expectations. They will do something with the materials you set up, whether or not it’s what you wanted is part of the experience and their journey of discovery of how everything works.


“At Sea” with a fishy mobile

at sea 2

For those of you who are new to me and my blog, let me introduce my world… this is Sprog! Born August 2013 and therefore fast approaching his second birthday. This is his shark face, and his shark t-shirt.  This week myself and my husband have started on a new adventure with him to get our imaginative and creative juices really flowing.

You can read about why I’ve started this adventure over the at #imaginationmatters linky page but for now, sit back and enjoy the fruits of our labour in this debut week.

at sea

Our first “At Sea” adventure was very much a team effort and made me extremely proud of both of my boys.  The hubby is not a creative type, he’s from the “throw the child around and tickle them” school of fatherhood which Sprog can’t get enough off.

Hubby was home early on Wednesday so we cracked out the paper with a bit of a poorly Sprog.

1. The fish for this were coloured on Monday evening after work/school/Nanny day care and I simply got to cutting them out.

2. Sprog chose what colour paper he wanted for each shape that we cut out and started to grab the glue stick to help out.

3. As he was so interested in the glue stick, I adapted the plan and we pulled some tissue paper out of the craft tub which he stuck wherever he wanted…including my knee!!

4. We used some tin foil to create strips on the funnel as Sprog helped to put the glue on. (Excuse the topless Sprog, he had a raging temperature at the time).

5. Daddy and Sprog created some foil “shiny bits” (that’s definitely the technical term) and stuck together the sea.

6. I strung together the fish on to 3 bits of string and put buttons on the bottom to weight them.

7. We assembled the whole display.

8. Sprog stood back in amazement and proclaimed “Fish” very loudly.

funnell    at sea3

This idea was based on something found in a library book so I can’t take complete credit for it but what I particularly love is how the morning after we made it, Sprog came downstairs, stood in the lounge, look at it and just went “Wow” and spent ages playing with it again.


Left: The diagram in the book. Right: Our version.

It has been a great focal point for our discussions about the sea this week as we’ve talked about fish, boats, the sea and the materials that we used to make it.

We have done several other activities this week which are sea themed (some are very loosely linked) which have included;

  • Seen the fish at the free aquarium/fish shop!
  • Read about the animals along the seashore from a library book.
  • Drawn and painted a seascape complete with sun, boat, turtle and dolphin.
  • Tried to draw waves rather than straight lines (unsuccessfully at the moment but it’s the effort that counts).
  • Played with a new bath time inflatable which has penguins and sharks all over it.
  • Water play in the garden with his big blue boat.
  • Learned “Ring-a-ring of roses”…. remember that second verse with the “fishes in the water” … there’s my tenuous link!

Changes in Sprog

  • He knows the words and will start the actions for “Ring-a-ring of roses”
  • Become more confident in his pronunciation of some words such as “fish” and “shark”.  “Shark” definitely sounds less like “Shat” than it did at the start of the week!