- Tips and expert advice
Screen-free festive play inspired by Don't Tickle the Polar Bear!
We are excited to be partnering with Claire Russell of playHOORAY! to bring you some wintery play inspiration. Claire is a mum of three, early years expert and big fan of Usborne books and she has shared five brilliant play ideas for all ages inspired by Don’t Tickle the Polar Bear!
Whether you have a baby, toddler, school child (or all three!), here are some ideas to extend the fun of Don’t Tickle the Polar Bear! into play for all the family.
Baby (0-1 year)
Continue the fun after reading and set up a themed treasure basket for your baby to explore. Offer your baby a variety of textures to touch, stroke and even tickle! Which items can you find around the house that offer smooth, bumpy, furry, cold or hard textures? Present these items in a tray or shallow basket for your baby to discover.
Sit with your baby as they explore the different items and talk about the various textures. If you have an older sibling at home, invite them to help you gather the items together.
Toddler (1-3 years)
Toddlers love to explore and discover, so let’s make them something to keep their hands busy! Save the lids from your baby wipe packets, or cut doors into rigid cardboard to make your own lift-the-flap board with pictures hidden underneath.
Behind each door, stick various textures for them to discover, or perhaps pictures of animals, just like in the book. If drawing is not your strong point, cut out images from magazines or print some out from the internet. Place your DIY lift-the-flap board at child height to encourage your toddler to independently explore and make their own discoveries!
Preschooler (3-5 years)
At this age, your preschooler will be working hard to master their hand eye co-ordination, so let’s make it playful! Invite your little one to use tweezers, tongs or even a peg to pick up ‘snowballs’ and drop them into a bowl. The snowballs could be any small item such as pom poms, balls of tissue or even marshmallows, and must be supervised at all times!
Challenge your preschooler to use the tool with coordination and control to pick up and move the snowballs from one place to another. It’s lots of fun, and little do they know they are mastering essential skills for when they learn to write.
Big kids (5+)
Did you know, mixing hair conditioner and baking powder makes a wonderfully, crumbly pretend snow? It’s true, your big kid will love it! Get them involved measuring out the quantities; ½ cup of white hair conditioner and 2 cups of baking powder. Mix them together with a big spoon and then crumble by hand, great for awakening the senses.
Pour your snow into a shallow tray to play with toy animals or use a finger or brush as a fun way to practice writing. Store your snow in an airtight container and you will get plenty of play out of it. Snow all year round? Why not!
It’s never easy entertaining children of different ages, but water play is always worth a try. Why not make an icy water, small world tray for the kids to play with. Add a splash of blue food colouring or paint to the water to make it icy blue, and some ice cubes if you’re feeling brave.
Adding white building blocks and toy arctic animals will make it extra inviting. The kids will be immersed in their pretend play and develop brilliant storytelling skills.
Share your Don’t tickle the… inspired play with us #dontticklethe
Discover more play prompts from playHOORAY! at playHOORAY.co.uk