Recently I've been cleaning up my art and craft drawers in preparation for opening a family day care at home. I set up many of these drawers and supplies when Miss Teen was the same age as the toddler twosome are now!
I don't mind telling you that it has been a little wander down memory lane and more than once i have wondered where the years have gone and how my little girl can be in her final year of schooling already!
I have come across some forgotten treasures though….these homemade wooden shape stampers hold particularly fond memories. They were Miss Teen's absolute favourite when a toddler and they have also been carted to many different child care centres i have worked in over the years (hence the initials on the top as they were a popular resource to borrow!)
They have been so durable and withstood the test of time. When we first made them many (ahem many…)years ago paint stamps weren't a common tool (ahh, if only i had thought to patent our idea first!!)Today there are so many options and variations you can buy quite cheaply…but i haven't found a set that compare to the feel and frugal nature of my shape stampers…and i am so pleased to be now using them with the toddler twosome.
As i watched the twins having fun with their ‘new' stamps I could almost see Miss Teen as a 2 yr old standing there beside them stamping away with that look of glee on her face!
There is nothing too exciting to explain about this activity, what you see is pretty much it….but it is always a lot of fun!
I simply set out our well used paint sponge pads, added a little more paint, pressed the stamps into the paint and let the girls explore the way they wanted to!
As they stamped they were excited to start naming the shapes they could see and then began looking at the stampers more closely to choose their favourites!
Fantastic fun for fine motor skills as well as shape recognition and also letting out a little of that pent up toddler energy and aggression!
Ruby decided to challenge herself by ripping off the holes along the perforated side of the paper …yes i found that in my old drawers too…don't see paper like that much anymore do you?!
Shame because that paper provides such a good opportunity for toddlers to practice their hand and wrist skills!
The stamps really are simple to make if you want to have a go yourself. You just need some thick wooden dowel (easier for little fingers to grip!) from the hardware store…I saw some the other day in Bunnings at a similar size to these so it is still around i promise!
Simply gather some shapes of your choice cut from wood offcuts or whatever is in the shed…a little glue and screw to join the two together and the base and handle is ready. We lacquered these to enable them to withstand a lot of use and lower the chance of any splinters!
Then all you need to do is cut some kitchen sponge to match the shapes and glue them to the wooden bases using a waterproof resin. You need to rinse them well and dry completely after each use or they will perish quickly.
I have also used offcuts of carpet underlay instead of sponge which dries a lot quicker and is a little thinner. I had quite a few different stamp themes but unfortunately they were all lost over the years in different childcare centres.
I am so glad to still have my shapes though…and to be able to watch a new generation use them with such enthusiasm and excitement. I really do love how the simplest of experiences can make a toddler's day!