Active Christmas Countdown


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December is here. The countdown is on and everyone is busy,  busy- rushing around trying to get it all done.  It is so much harder to do active play with your pre-schooler in this busy month when the evenings are dark and the weather is cold and wet. Dinoduo have the answer. The have an Active Play Christmas Coundown just for you. Print it off and put in on the fridge for some active play ideas every day. Get this free Countdown  here.
Copyright DinoDuo 2018

Active Play and Long Dark Evenings

Photo by Gabby Orcutt on Unsplash

Dark Mornings.   Long dark evenings .  Cold and wet outside.  It can be a real challenge to include Active Play into your pre-schoolers daily routine this time of the year. Yet the recommended amount of Active play per day is 3 hours. Dinoduo want to help. Over the next few weeks Dinoduo will bring you fun games and movement activities that can put some action into your pre-schooler day, no matter what the weather is like.

It’s all about music this week.  Hankle and Roary love moving to music. Here are some fun ways to get some active play, everyday. Choose some of your favourite catchy tunes that have a rhythm and get Moving .

  • Dance off- Put on the music, push back the furniture and let the rhythm take over. Encourage your pre-school child to move to the music, make up dances, swing the arms, shake the body, jump up and down. It doesn’t matter how it looks, just have fun.
  • Musical Statues- have your child move around to the music. Stop the music at intervals. When the music stops, your child must be perfectly still. You can catch them in lots of strange and wonderful poses.
  • Musical cushions- like musical chairs except using cushions (less chance of falls and bumps) dance around to the music. Stop the music at intervals. When the music stops, sit on the cushion as fast as possible. Dinoduo prefer to play this game with enough cushions for all players. If you prefer or with an older age group you can have one less cushion than the number of players.
  • Marching – March to the music, all around the house, upstairs, downstairs, everywhere. Lifting the legs and swinging the arms. Marching is a great co-ordination exercise. Bang pretend drums, play the flute or saxophone and twirl your imaginary baton in a marching band.
  • Animal dances- Dance to the music using animal poses, big steps for the elephant, legs turned out for the penguin, wriggle like a snake, jump like a frog, hop like a kangaroo, on tip toes scuttling very fast for a mouse. You have the idea.
  • Dance Routine-Learn a simple dance routine , put together some simple dance steps and have your pre-schooler copy them. Great for learning motor planning and gross motor imitation skills
  • Dance with scarves – pull out the chiffon scarves and have your child dance while moving the scarves in lots of shapes and sequences. Over the head, behind the back, under the legs, throwing and catching in the air.





Autumn Leaves

Leaves are falling thick and fast at this time of the year. The colours are magnificent and the ground has a beautiful carpet of leaves underfoot.  Dinoduo love nothing better than a crisp autumn day walking through the leaves. Autumn leaves are great for active play.  Here are some activities to do with your pre-schooler with all the lovely autumn leaves over the coming weekend.

  • Walking through the dry leaves, enjoying the rustling sound the leaves make as you and your child make your way through them.
  • Kicking the leaves as you walk through them, creating lots of crunchy noises is a great way to develop single leg balance.
  • Sweeping leaves. Yes, your child will actually enjoy this job!!! Give your child a small sweeping brush or rake and have them sweep the leaves into a big pile. Working with two hands on the brush, pushing the leaves along is a great bilateral co-ordination activity and a great way to build up the muscles of the arms and shoulders. The weight of the leaves as they sweep the leaves gives your child lovely feedback to their muscles.
  • Now that there is a big pile of leaves, have your child jump into the pile to scatter them all around again!! Jumping is a great bilateral co-ordination activity. Autumn leaves provide endless active fun of sweeping and jumping.
  • Provide your child with a box or a wheelbarrow to gather the leaves into. All that bending down, scooping up and putting the leaves into the box is lovely active play idea. It is also great for strengthening legs, arms and trunk muscles and develops co-ordination.
  • Once the box or wheelbarrow is full, have your child carry the box (with some help) or push the wheelbarrow to another area and dump it all out again. Lots of muscle feedback and strengthening with this activity
  • Autumn leaves are also great for making lovely collages. Picking up, sticking and pasting leaves to paper is a great activity for fine motor development and a lovely sensory activity

Have you any good Autumn Leaves ideas?

Photo by Nick Nice on Unsplash

copyright Dinoduo 2018





Dinoduo’s two step approach to the Fussy Eater

Is your child a fussy eater?   There are lots of reasons for a child to be a fussy eater. It can be very frustrating when you spend time preparing a delicious dish and your child refuses to eat it. One possible reason why a child can be a fussy eater is because they do not like the sensation of the food; this can be the touch sensation or the smell of the food.

Does your child dislike messy play on their hands?

Does your child have a strong preference for dry, non-messy foods ?

Does your child prefer you to feed them just in case some food might spill?

Does your child dislike finger feeding foods?

Does your child become upset if food spills onto their hands or their face?

Does your child dislike tactile experience to their face, hats, face paints, scarves, etc?

If you answer yes to any of these questions, your child may be a fussy eater because of the texture of the food.  Dinoduo would like to help.  Understanding your child has a difficulty with wet textures is the first step and can help your child feel more supported when eating.  Dinoduo recommends the following two step approach to reduce your child’s negative response to messy food.

Step 1

Desensitise the face and hands to messy textures.  The following activities calm your child’s sensory systems and make it easier for your child to tolerate messy textures.

  • Deep pressure massage to the hands and body, apply long deep strokes to your child’s arms, back, legs and hands. Give a little massage and see how your child responds to it, if they like it, give them some more.
  • Deep pressure massage with your finger applied to your child’s face may help your child accept a variety of textures. Use your index finger and start at the forehead, applying deep pressure downward strokes. Again, give a little deep pressure massage and the wait to see your child’s response, if they enjoy it, offer them another little bit.  If your child tolerates the strokes to the forehead, slowly move downwards, side of the face, side of the nose, along the chin until eventually you are providing some deep massage to your child’s mouth area. Only do as much as he/she tolerates, do not keep going if he/she want you to stop.
  • Heavy work activities have been shown to be calming on a child’s sensory system. Dinoduo recommends lots of crawling, climbing, pushing and pulling activities for a few minutes prior to the messy play. These heavy work activities can help settle your child’s tactile system
  • Gentle, rhythmical repetitive movement can also help calm a child’s sensory systems. A gentle rock on a rocking chair or rocker, a gentle swing on a swing or a softly moving to a song  can all soothe an irritated sensory system.

Different children have different preferences. Dinoduo recommends trying some of the above and see how your child responds to the different input to discover your child’s preference .

Once you have soothed your child’s sensory system, your child is ready for the next step.

Step 2

Offer lots of tactile play, start with drier textures and then gradually make the textures more wet and sticky.

If your child is reluctant to get stuck in that is ok, they may not like that particular texture. Show him/ her how much you are enjoying the messy play.  Provide some utensils to allow your child to play with the messy play-stuff without having to touch it; gradually they will begin to get more involved. Provide a wet facecloth or wipes and allow your child to wipe their hands if they are upset by the messy play on their hands. They will gradually build up their confidence as they have more and more exposure to the messy play.

Dinoduo have lots of great Messy Food play ideas. –

Photo by Rainier Ridao on Unsplash



DinoMam’s best “no cook” playdough recipe

As promised, DinoMam shares her best “no cook” playdough recipe, it is super easy to make and great for little hands to help with.  The playdough will stay fresh in an airtight bag in the fridge for up to 1 week. It takes about 10 minutes to make. If your little one tends to eat the playdough then this recipe is perfect as it is all non-toxic.


  • 8 tbsp plain flour
  • 2 tbsp table salt
  1. Mix these two dry ingredients together in a large bowl
  • 60ml warm water
  • food colouring
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  1. In a separate bowl mix together the water, a few drops of food colouring and the oil.
  2. Pour the coloured water into the flour mix and bring together with a spoon.
  3. Dust a work surface with a little flour and turn out the dough. Knead together for a few minutes until you have a smooth, pliable dough.

Add more food colouring for a deeper colour.



Dinoduo get Messy

Dinoduo get Messy!!


Hankle and Roary love messy play. They love spending time with their friends getting “stuck in” and getting messy. Here are their top 5 messy play ideas.  Have a go at home. Remember wear old clothes!

Not all children enjoy messy play. If your child is reluctant to get down and dirty that is ok, they may not like that particular texture. Show him/ her how much you are enjoying the messy play.  Provide some utensils to allow your child to play with the messy play-stuff without having to touch it; gradually they will begin to get more involved. Provide a wet facecloth or wipes and allow your child to wipe their hands if they are upset by the messy play on their hands. They will gradually build up their confidence as they have more and more exposure to the messy play.

Top 5 messy play ideas (remember, if your child tends to mouth items then ensure you are using  nontoxic messy play)


  1. “Gloop” – cornflour and water make a lovely sticky gooey texture that is soft on the hands. You can add food colouring to give it some colour. Add sparkles or grains of rice to give it added texture.
  2. Playdough- DinoMam makes her own playdough. She will share the recipe with you. Hours of fun can be had with playdough, rolling, modelling, cutting, making shapes and letters. Making pictures. The  possibilities are endless
  3. Shaving Foam (Whipped cream from a can if your child mouths everything). Spray a little foam or cream on a table or a surface you can wipe clean. Dinoduo often use the fridge or their easel. Get stuck in, drawing faces, shapes, letters, anything that takes your fancy. The fun is in smoothing it off with your hand and starting again. Just like a tactile Magna Doodle!
  4. Sticky stuff- put some PVA glue in a small container and provide your child with lots torn up colour paper,  cotton wool,  feathers, leaves,  wool, string, material , coloured pieces of plastic……………. Give them a big sheet of paper and let them create their masterpiece, using their fingers to spread the glue and then sticking the items onto the page. If your child is very reluctant to touch the glue, use a paintbrush.
  5. Hankel’s favourite is finger painting. Give your child a big sheet of paper and some colours in a small container and let him/her The more she/ he spreads the paints the more creative the masterpiece. Little sprinkles of sand, rice, sparkles can add to the tactile experience

So come one , get messy.

©Dinoduo 2018



Dinoduo get Touchy Feely

Dinoduo get Touchy/ Feely

Children are tactile creatures. They love to move around, reaching and touching objects all around them. They love to be hugged and to hug. It is through the tactile system that the child interfaces with the world around them, both people and objects. The tactile system is a very large sensory system – there are sensory receptors spread throughout the whole of the body.  Some areas of the body are more sensitive to touch than others.

The tactile sensory system is actually made up of millions of different types of sensory nerve endings. Information from these sensory nerves passes to the brain where the information is processed and helps the child

  • To detect where on their body they were touched
  • Was the touch light or forceful?
  • Was the touch painful or not?
  • What was the texture of the item they touched?
  • Was it cold or hot?
  • Was it rough or smooth?
  • How long was the child in contact with the tactile input?
  • Did the child like the texture or not?

The information from a large variety of sensory receptors will be integrated in the brain to answer the above questions instantaneously. This all happens while the tactile sensory system simultaneously filters out competing sensory textures such as the clothes on the child or the pressure of the chair they are sitting on.  The more exposure the child has to a variety of tactile experience the better able the child is to process and interpret the meaning of the tactile experience. This in turn impacts on how a child develops their fine motor and gross motor skills and their ability to plan motor activities

Reluctant Walkers!

Does your pre-schooler have loads of energy, running around and jumping everywhere?  Yet as soon as you want him to walk from A to B it becomes a chore, whining and complaining “I’m tired”, refusing to walk and looking to be carried or use a buggy.   This can be very frustrating and it can be hard to keep your patience.  Dinoduo has a few ideas to help those reluctant walkers.

  • Start with short, achievable distances and loads of praise when they finish. Once your pre-schooler  develops their walking endurance you can begin to lengthen the walks
  • Add in a variety of activities to make the walk more interesting, jump over the lines in the footpath , jump onto their shadow, twirl around every time they pass a sign.  Add a little story to add to the drama, the ground is breaking”,  “Quick, catch your shadow before it gets away on you” or  “ There is a strong wind blowing, twirling all the leaves around”
  • Play the counting game, pick a colour car and count each time that colour car passes and see how many cars you have passed when you reach your destination. Count signs, count bicycles, count dogs. There are endless possibilities
  • Marching along to a song or marching rhyme. Dinodad has a little rhyme that goes “I had a good job and I left , right!”. Marching songs such as “The ants go marching” or “ the Grand old Duke of York “ are great marching songs
  • Push along a toy, pram, wheelbarrow, trundle toy
  • Pull along a toy on a string or even your dog! (with supervision)
  • Stop to enjoy the flowers or blow some dandelion clocks

Remember! Lots of encouragement and praise for your child. Your child is more likely to walk another day if they have had fun!

Like and share   to help get all those reluctant walkers on the MOVE!

Photo by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen on Unsplash

Active Travel

Photo by Sue Zeng on Unsplash

Congratulations to all you pre-schoolers who have just started preschool!
Dinoduo hopes you are all settling in well and having lots of fun with lots of new activities and making new friends. Dinoduo loves to see all the bright new faces starting fresh or returning after their summer break.
It is recommended that a preschool child gets 3 hours active play every day. This can be hard to fit into a busy schedule. The start of a new preschool year is a great time to consider including some active travel into your child’s day as you travel to and from preschool. The mornings are lovely and bright. It is wonderful opportunity to lay down good foundations of active travel for life. Make wonderful memories as you hold your child’s hand while walking together or chat as they scoot or cycle alongside you. It is so much easier to give your child your full attention when you are not negotiating traffic.
Dinoduo loves to see children skipping beside their parents, touching the leaves as they pass a hanging bush, smelling flowers or jumping into a puddle as they make their way to and from preschool.
Try the following Active Travel ideas to and from preschool
• Scoot or cycle
• Walk
• Park the car a little further from the preschool so you get to walk or chat for a few minutes longer
• Skip along with your child
• Jump over the lines in the footpath
• Start a walking bus with other parents. Designate a suitable gathering point and a suitable time and walk together with other parents and children. A wonderful way to get to meet other parents