Frugal Finds

I love my charity shops.  With N’s birthday coming up on Saturday, what better time for a forage?  My first idea was to put together a dressing up box, and I have!  Princess dresses galore, ballerina tutus, snow white, a snowman, an elf, a hairdresser, a doctor (nicely cancelling out the gender implications of a hairdressers outfit, I feel).  I added some beads, and a tiara, and some old handbags of mine.  Plus an old Buzz Lightyear costume of L’s, a ladybird costume she already owns, and a home made pirate outfit, again outgrown by L, although the idea is for them both to have fun  dressing up.

There is so much I want to add to this – an old shirt (artists smock), and some “job” related things – fireman and policeman’s hat for example, but for now, I have something she will love to open on Saturday, play with endlessly, and can be added to infinitely.

I also found this little beauty:

Which I thought would make the perfect bed for this creature:

In case you’re wondering, this is Wilfred the Mouse, inspired by the Brambly Hedge books (beautifully illustrated stories about the adventures of some charming little mice) and made out of felt a couple of evenings ago.  Now picture the wooden bed painted, with a home made quilt and pillow, and Wilfred the “cheeky little mousey” snuggled inside.  This image pleases me greatly.  Nancy has been carrying around an imaginary “cheeky little mousey” for some months now, occasionally looking for him when he runs away and generally stopping him getting into trouble.  I wanted to give her a cheeky little mousey to hold and cuddle, and I’m thrilled that he has his own bed!  I’m thinking there may be more Brambly Hedge mice joining us at Christmas, perhaps with little felt clothes and acorn teacups…

The other thing I found today was this:

They are not for N, but for baby F, and are Wonder Cubes , originally from the Early Learning Centre.  The other day at a baby group, I noticed F playing happily with some stacking cups, and was quite surprised that she was ready for them.  I seem to remember this with the others too, that when you see them day to day you almost “forget” they are developing so quickly and it is easy to miss the opportunity to introduce new toys.  F was enjoying putting a smaller cup inside a bigger cup over and over again.  So, while she waits for me to get some toys out of the garage at the weekend, we have these.  And i love them for many reasons.
I like toys that can be played with in different ways and develop with the children.   And also toys that all three will play with in different ways, and encourage them playing together.   These bring opportunities for stacking, counting, colour recognition, learning the names of animals, making noises, learning rhythm…and no doubt other things i haven’t thought of yet that the children will discover for themselves.  They also have some beautiful visual effects incorporated – holograms, a kaleidoscope, transparent coloured plastic, confetti, a mirror – perfect for a six month-old’s sensory development :-).  And even as I write I’m thinking of emotion recognition games involving the mirror, as well as F learning to recognise herself.  For the moment, she seems to like the way they reflect light in patterns across the floor.
I also found two wooden-handled skipping ropes, something I’ve been intending to buy for a while, since L’s sports day last year when I noticed that most boys couldn’t skip!  I see opportunities for exercise, developing co-ordination and co-operative play – but most importantly, fun!
Watch this space for a post on learning to skip!
Last but not least, we bought a trampoline a few weeks ago off a second hand website, as a joint birthday present for L and N.  We had originally planned to get it out on L’s birthday, but then thought that N’s birthday deserved some excitement all of its own, seeing as she has already had her party.  So we’re crossing our fingers for decent weather and looking forward to the excitement on their little faces when they discover a trampoline in the garden.  I think it will burn off some of their energy in those winter months when we don’t get out and about as much, as well as providing endless fun for all three next Summer!
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