Creative Activities
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7 Activities To Help Develop Fine Motor Skills

paint pots and paint brushes
Little J has just started a new year in school and whilst I think he has developed so much over the last 12 months socially I think physically he still has a lot of developing to do. I know children develop at different rates and it's only natural that we compare our children to their siblings or other children of a same age. When little J was younger he never reached his milestones on time, he was always months late. It was a worry at the time but with help and encouragement he did get there in the end and when he did there was huge feeling of relief. Developing his fine motor skills is something we are still working as he still struggles to hold a pen or pencil correctly. Here are 7 activities that we are using to help develop fine motor skills and they are perfect for those looking for home schooling ideas too.

a child painting
a child painting
Painting is fun but finger painting is better. Most kids love paint on their hands and painting with your fingers can help hand eye coordination and manual dexterity. Painting with your fingers encourages the child to move and guide their fingers in all ways to create a painting.

Colour Sorting 
If your child is struggling to hold a pen or spoon then you could create a nice activity using child friendly tweezers. Fill a bowl for of coloured pom poms and ask your child to use the tweezers to colour sort the pom poms in to piles. Tweezers help to develop tripod grip when holing then between the thumb and first two fingers. Once they have mastered tripod grip they can then use the tweezers to focus on pincer grip. If you don't have the child friendly tweezers then you can encourage the same movement squeezing pegs instead.

playing with playdough
playing with playdough
Playdough Bugs
Playdough is brilliant for little hands and helps to build up strength. Squeezing, stretching and rolling the playdough can help with fine motor skills. Using playdough cutters to create shapes can enhance play. Make playdough bugs such as worms which will encourage your child to roll or a ladybird were your child has to squeeze a playdough ball to create a body. If your child is confident using child friendly scissors then cutting playdough is also great for the muscles in the fingers.

Wash the Car
Children love water play and washing the car or something very similar is a great way to build up strength in the fingers, hand and arms too. Using a big sponge ask your child to dunk the sponge in to a bucket of water. Once the sponge is wet it will become heavier so they will need a tighter grip on the sponge. Get then to use lots of arm motion to wash the car and then to squeeze the water out of the sponge back in to the bucket, and repeat until finished.

Depending on the age of the child threading is a great way to get those fingers and hands moving. It takes a lot of concentration but can help enhance tripod and pincer grip. You can create your own threading activity my punching holes in to a piece of card using a hole punch. I would recommend using something strong like a lace to thread as string or wool can be too flimsy. You can also thread a lace through a trainer too.

Song Time
Action songs are a great way to get the fingers, hands and arms moving but are also lots of fun. You may already have some favourite action songs but a few of our favourites are Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Wind My Bobbin Up and Tommy Thumb. This activity should be done daily for at least 10-15 minutes.

squishy toys
squishy toys

Squishy Time
Squishies are everywhere at the moment so you will probably have some somewhere in the house. Squishies are really good for helping develop fine motor skills. If you can get your child to squeeze a squishy or something similar for 10-15 minutes a day it will build strength in both the hand and arm too.

You can make the activities as fun as you like whilst still helping to develop those fine motor skills.

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MockUps - What Are They and Why Would You Want To Use Them? | AD

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Disclosure - This is a paid collaboration with Design Bundles

flatlay of clothes
I have often heard friends talking about using mockups within both their personal and business lives and never really knew what they meant.  Within my blog, I have used backgrounds that I have created and often wished I was gifted at graphic design so that I would be able to have the perfect logo, or the perfect backgrounds for my imagery.

I came across Design Bundles, who offer design packs which contain all kinds of great design goodies such as fonts, hand drawn quotes, images, artwork - that all come with a license allowing you to use the designs as much as you want on whatever you may want to use it on.

When browsing the site, I also found some detail on mockups. The name mockups is actually really accurate for what a mock up actually is. In plain language the mockup template allows you to buy a background, which could contain a model for you to then add your template detail to.  This would be perfect for business who sell unique clothing for example.  The business owner would be able to buy the background, add whatever design or logo they had created to the background using, for example, photoshop and then have the rights to use the final image for promotion before having to spend lots of money on getting the product made, paying a model and photographer, only to find that nobody buys the product!

I have often wondered how small business owners, especially clothing designers can get such brilliant promotional material for their designs when they may not yet have made a great deal of money.  Now I know, and actually its a brilliant way to get some ideas for your own clothes, if you want to have a unique T- Shirt or Sweatshirt, you could use of the sweatshirt mockup designs available from Design Bundles to see exactly how your design would look before committing the funds to something that may not look quite right when it is made.

There are many bundles available on the site, and many of the mockups allow you to not only add your design or logo, but also change the colour of the product and add designs to both front and back.

Each bundle includes the following as standard

Premium License Included With Commercial Use Allowed.

Five Star Technical Support Provided by Contact us and our team will help you 24/7.

Unlimited Downloads Your purchases are kept secure by us and can be downloaded an unlimited number of times.

Design Bundles began in July 2016 as a way to provide customers with affordable digital products such as Graphics, Templates, Mock Ups, Patterns, Illustrations and Craft Files. They now have over  1 million users. They boast over 150,000 Marketplace Products and often have free bundles available.  Design Bundles pride themselves on their outstanding reputation for Quality at affordablePrices with Customer Service being a core focus.

Have a browse through the site and not only will you see what is available but you will learn a lot about how much use a bundle could actually be for you.

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Hape Anywhere Art Studio | Review

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Disclosure - We were sent the Hape Anywhere Art studio for the purpose of this post. All thoughts, opinions and photographs are our own.

Hape Anywhere Art studio
We have been very lucky this Summer to be able to get away for a few days visiting different parts of the country. I usually pack a variety of toys to keep little J busy when we are travelling or staying over in a hotel but this time I only took with us the Hape Anywhere Art Studio that we had been sent to review.

The Hape Anywhere Art Studio is a portable tabletop easel which has a whiteboard on one side a chalk board on the other.

Hape Anywhere Art Studio
When you are ready to play you prop the easel up turning the adjustable knobs tightly so that the easel holds in place.

That is it. Your easel is ready to play with and all you need to do is to decide whether you want to use the whiteboard or the chalk board side.

Hape Anywhere Art Studio
If using the whiteboard side then you can choose to use whiteboard markers directly in the board (whiteboard markers are not included) or you can use the magnet to hold a piece of paper in place and draw directly on to the paper. The choice is yours.

Hape Anywhere Art Studio
If using the chalk board then you can use one of the two chunky chalks that are included to create your drawing. When you are finished you can use the eraser to rub it out and start again.

The Hape Anywhere Art Studio is perfect to play with at home or even when you are out and about. Little J absolutely loves drawing, painting and any other creative activities he can think of. The Anywhere Art Studio is completely portable and also very easy to set up. It's been ideal for us this Summer while we have been travelling around and little J loves it.

For more information visit Hape. The Anywhere Art Studio is available to buy in most good toy stores or online


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Little Brian Paint Sticks 2-in-1 Art Station | Review

Disclosure - We were sent the Little Brian Paint Sticks 2-in-1 art station for the purpose of this review. All thoughts, opinions and photographs are our own. This post also includes affiliate links.

Little Brian Paint Sticks
I have mentioned a few times recently that due to a few rainy play days at home and school little J has really started to enjoy lots of different creative activities. He has brought home a variety of drawings and paintings from school and now has an art drawer at home filled lots of different materials to allow him to be as creative as he likes. We were recently introduced to Little Brian Paint Sticks and I have to say they are an amazing invention. Looking like a glue stick you can use the solid paint stick to create lots of mess free paintings. 

Little Brian Paint Sticks
We were sent the Little Brian Paint Sticks 2-in-1 Art Station which is perfect for the Summer holidays whether we are at home or out and about. The art station opens up to reveal a double sided easel with a white board on one side and a chalk board on the other. 

Little Brian Paint Sticks
The 6 coloured paint sticks can be used on the white board directly or you can use the clip to hold a piece of paper in place so they can paint direct on to the paper. All you need to do is twist the paint stick and the solid paint will appear at the top and just start painting. 

Little Brian Paint Sticks
The chalks that are included in the art station again are completely mess free and do not leave a chalky residue that you get with normal chalk. You just twist the chalk and you are ready to go. 

Once you have finished playing it all packs away neatly and can be carried using the handle. 

Little Brian Paint Sticks
The Little Brian Paint Sticks 2-in-1 art Station is ideal for playing with at home however it is compact enough to take away with you to on either holiday or a day out to keep the little ones busy.


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Parenting | The Very Hungry Caterpillar Activities

It is World Book Day today and although little J's school isn't offering the chance for him to dress up, we have been making The Very Hungry Caterpillar activities for him to enjoy at home.
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