Get busy, making your own wonderful creations from child friendly cooking, goop experiments and creative art projects for every age.

Activities, recipies and inspiration
Cubbyhouse - easy to make
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Sometimes, children need their own special space to rest and play.

Ages: generally 2 years and up

Learning benefit/skills developed:

  • Emotional & social: children are able to rest and play in their own space.
  • Cognitive skills: children are able to use the cubby space to be whatever they imagine it to be,: a house, spaceship, a cave etc. children are able to dress the space up to suit their play needs. This also provides opportunities to problem solve and use their creativity

What you’ll need: 

  • table
  • sheet
  • battery lamp or torch
  • pillows

Instructions:

  • With your child, throw a large sheet over a table. Add cushions and rugs to make it comfortable. Provide the children with a light source for reading and play. If you have glow in the dark toys or stick-on stars, use them to add decorate the underside of the table.
  • Provide the children with space to the resources to make the cubby their own space. With everything always supervise and check on your child throughout their play.
  • When finished, encourage your child to help pack away all the materials and explain that we can make it again another time.

Additional recommendations:

  • This can also be done outside with an outdoor table and sheet or extended on a tree branch or cloth line.

Download or print activity here.

DIY Lava Lamp
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A great way to incorporate safe and effective chemical reactions and liquids as well as the children’s interest in volcanoes.

Ages Children aged 3 and up 

Learning benefit/skills developed

  • STEM learning (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) teaching. 

Tips and advice

  • Any oil you have on hand is fine to use as it will always sit on top of the water.
  • Try and have the jar 50/50 with water and oil. We used edicol to colour our water but food colouring is fine too.
  • Try half water half oil and a couple of tablespoons of bi-carb. And as much vinegar as your heart desires!

See below instructional video from SDN Lady McKell on how to make your own

Sensory bins - explore the senses
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An awesome hands-on tool for children to learn about their world and their senses. For children who love to explore different textures, sensory bins may calm, focus and engage your child.

Ages: Children 1 and up.

Learning Benefit / skills developed:

  • Practical life skills - sensory bins let a child learn valuable play skills as well as explore, discover and create play using practical life skills through activities such as dumping, filling and scooping.
  • Play skills (emotional development) - great for both social play and independent play, sensory bins allow children to play cooperatively or side by side.
  • Language development - sensory bins increase language development by children experiencing with their hands all there is to see and do, which leads to great conversations and opportunities to model language.
  • Understanding the body’s senses - many sensory play bins include a few of the senses! Touch, sight, sounds, taste and smell are our body's senses. Children can experience several at a time with a sensory bin.

Fruit Skewers - a fun healthy snack
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Looking for a simple, healthy snack to create at home? Look no further as resident cook at SDN Milperra, Jaman shows us how to prepare Fruits skewers at home.

Learning benefit/skills developed:

  • Children learn to try new foods
  • Develops a child’s knowledge and awareness of a healthy lifestyle
  • Supports healthy eating habits
  • Supports building mathematical concepts for a child, such as big/small pieces and numerical concepts as they count how many fruits can fit on each skewer

What you’ll need:

  • Skewers
  • Assorted Fruits
  • Knife (Plastic Knives will cut well through softer fruits with children)
  • Chopping Board
  • Don't forget to wash your hands

Rainbow chickpea foam – sensory play
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Encourage your child to explore different colours and textures, as well as early mathematical concepts through this experience.

Ages: Generally children 1 and up

Learning benefit / skills developed:

  • Helps visual awareness through colour
  • Assists in understanding textures
  • Promotes language development (using words like full, empty, soft, in, pour) 
  • Introduces early mathematical concepts like spatial awareness and capacity

What you’ll need?

  • ​2 x tins of chickpeas
  • Food colouring
  • A plastic tub
  • Electric mixer (can be done with a whisk but will take much longer)
  • Assorted cups, bowls, small containers and spoons
  • Art smock/old clothes (in case colour stains)

Method:

  • Drain liquid from chickpeas into a mixing bowl
  • Mix on high for 5-10 minutes or until liquid foams up and turns white (should resemble shaving foam).
  • Separate into smaller portions and mix through food colouring.
  • Pour into tub and its play time!

N.B the foam will melt if left in the sun

Download or print activity here.

Make a ‘mind jar’ – explore thoughts and feelings 
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A simple and fun activity to create a ‘mind jar,’ aimed for children to understand and express their thoughts and feelings. 
 
Ages: Children 2 and up 
 
Learning benefit / skills developed: 

  • Science: why does the glitter swirl around and then fall? (extension for older children). 
  • Health & wellbeing: this activity supports children to tune into their thoughts and feelings as well as empowering them with strategies to support their own wellbeing. 
  • Fosters children’s curiosity  

 What you’ll need: 

  • 1 empty jar with a lid and no labels 
  • Depending on the age and ability of the child you may want to use a plastic container instead of a glass jar (such as a juice bottle).
  • Hot water 
  • 2 tablespoons of glitter glue 

Instructions: 

  • Fill the jar almost all the way with hot water (adult supervision required). 
  • Add the glitter glue. 
  • Tightly secure the jar lid. 
  • Shake and then watch what happens!  

The bits of glitter will swirl around in the jar. Imagine these are like all the thoughts and feelings in your brain and body when you are excited or overwhelmed.

Notice how when you keep the jar still the glitter starts to settle down; this is the same for your thoughts and feelings if you take some deep breaths and keep your body still. 

You can shake the jar up and watch the glitter settle to help you calm your thoughts and feelings anytime you feel you need it.

Download or print activity here.

 

Stir Fry - packed with goodness
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Quick, easy, healthy and delicious.

Adequate nutrition is crucial for all young children and those affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are five times more likely to have difficulties during mealtimes than those unaffected by the disorder.

Playdough - make your own fun
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A recipe for uncooked playdough to create with your child

Ages: Children aged 3 and up (suitable for children affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Learning benefit / skills developed

  • Develops hand and eye concentration and their coordination
  • Teaches children how to follow a process and guided structure
  • Enhances children’s creativity and imagination as playdough can be used in so many ways!
  • Develops children’s fine motor skills. By squishing, rolling and flattening the playdough, it helps strengthen children’s hands and fingers

What you'll need: 

  • 1 packet of rice flour
  • 5 teaspoons of oil
  • 1 packet of corn starch
  • 5 cup of salt
  • 3 tablespoons of cream of tartar
  • 3 cups of hot water
  • Food colouring as the desired method

Method:

Mix all the dry ingredients together.

Add the vegetable oil then add the food colouring to the first cup of water and add into the bowl, mixing it in. Add the rest of the water, a little at a time to get the right consistency. You may not need all the water.

Store the playdough in a large plastic snap-lock bag or airtight container.

This recipe can be cooked. Just place all ingredients into a pot and add all the water, cook over a low heat for 3 to 5 minutes until the dough comes away from the sides of the pot. Turn out onto a lightly floured board or bench and knead until smooth.

Download or print activity here.

SDN is committed to the safety of children and families and encourages the safe undertaking of activities on the hub. For more information read our terms and conditionsFor more on child safety at home visit Raising Children network.

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