• Five Fun Activities for Motor Skill Development

    Babies and toddlers learn and develop everyday through play by experiencing new textures, sounds, colours, patterns and tasks. You don’t need to buy expensive toys in order to encourage their development. There are tonnes of fun games and activities you can play with your little one, using items from around the home. Something as simple as a saucepan and wooden spoon makes an excellent drum kit or can be used for cooking roleplay!

    To help develop these skills through play, we’ve come up with five fun activities that will help to develop fine motor skills whilst playing at home.

    1. Colouring

    Colouring pictures and being creative with stickers or stamps are not only an essential part of arts and crafts, but they are key for your child’s fine motor development too! If you search ‘line drawings for children’ on the internet, there is a huge resource of free colouring-in designs to chose from, which you can print out at home.

    Keep broken crayons for slightly older toddler and pre-schoolers! Because colouring with small, broken crayons encourages your child to hold the crayon correctly i.e. in a pincer / tripod grip between thumb and forefingers rather than in a ‘palmer’ or fist grip. Small pieces of chalk and the pencils used on mini-golf courses also work well. No matter what you use, this activity is a fun way to challenge your child.

    2. Sticking

    Playing with stickers is another great activity for encouraging fine motor skill development, as it requires finger and thumb coordination to peel off the stickers.   Little ones can get creative by decorating a large piece of paper stuck to a wall, a scene quickly drawn by mum (see my recent attempt below!) or cut out shapes to decorate – stars work really well. For slightly older children drawing thick wiggly lines on a large sheet of paper and asking them to stick dots side by side along it, is a great activity that will keep them occupied whilst at the same time developing concentration and coordination.

    3. Stamping

    Stamping is another great way to open up the hand and develop finger strength and control. A great fun and cheap method is the good old potato stamp, where you cut a potato in half and carve out a pattern or shape on the flat, freshly cut surface, before letting your little one dip it in paint and stamp to their heart’s content. Alternatively, you can buy stamp sets for a few pounds online or from larger supermarkets, if you want a quick activity without mess of paint!

    4. Play Dough

    Play dough has been a childhood favourite for decades. Not only is it great fun, but handling play dough also develops some important skills. Squeezing, stretching, pulling and shaping all helps to strengthen finger muscles, and touching it is a valuable sensory experience. You can make play dough at home and follow the link for a great long lasting, homemade recipe: https://theimaginationtree.com/best-ever-no-cook-play-dough-recipe/

    5. Pasta Necklaces

    Stringing together necklaces is a great way for your child to be creative while working on their hand-eye coordination and developing ability to manipulate objects. The best way to start is with thick string and large pieces of tube-shaped dry pasta. Over time you can reduce the thickness of the string and use smaller pasta shapes to make it more complex. This is a great activity for both boys and girls.  Alternatively, you can swap string for pipe cleaners in order to create fun shapes. Another option is to paint the pasta and let it dry before assembling to make it more colourful.

     

    The clever and innovative design of Doddl cutlery helps develop children’s fine motor skills whilst they are learning to feed themselves. These skills are essential for a wide variety of tasks such as writing and drawing, using scissors, doing up buttons and any task that involves coordination and control between the thumb and fingers.

     

    Good luck and happy making!!

  • A sizzling summer…

    Well it may not have been the hot summer we had all hoped for, but here at Doddl HQ we have had a summer sizzler!                                               

    Whilst we had thought we may take some time to enjoy the summer sun, we made the most of the bad weather and got busy with some new and exciting things we want to share with you…

    It’s a Podium of Awards for Doddl

    We are delighted that we have been awarded an entire podium of awards so far this year! We kicked off our awards season by winning a Bronze award in Bizziebaby’s Feeding Bowls and Cutlery Category in July. This was followed by a Gold in the Lovedbyparents awards on 21st July in the Best Innovative Feeding Product category.  To complete our podium, we were delighted to receive a Silver award for Toddler Cutlery in the Best Baby and Toddler Gear Awards last month. We are over the moon with our haul of awards this season and Doddl Cutlery is truly multi-award winning this year!

    Doddl goes Worldwide

    Since our launch last year, Doddl cutlery has already sold into 28 countries worldwide. With so much demand from overseas, we made our debut at Kind und Jugend -Europe’s largest trade nursery fair in September, which was held 15 – 18th September. It was a great show for us and we even got to meet Touker Suleyman from the BBC’s Dragon’s Den! We received huge interest from international distributors and retailers, and we hope that our customers will be soon be able to by from retail outlets in other countries!

    Doddl Cutlery endorsed by Baby Led Weaning Cookbook!

    From the 1st September, Doddl became an official partner of the Baby Led Weaning Cookbook app founded by Natalie Peall. They have over 100,000 followers on social media and their BWL recipe app is ranked in the top 10 for lifestyle app downloads! Doddl cutlery is the natural progression from Baby Led Weaning as it supports little ones self-feeding behaviour and continues to develop the pincer grip as well as coordination and control. To celebrate our endorsement, BLW Cookbook are running a competition to win a set of Doddl Cultery and a free download of their BLW Cookbook App – for more details please visit @babyledweaningcookbook

    And we aren’t stopping there….

    We are set for an active autumn, with the first stop being our launch into Boots!

    We are excited to announce that from next month, Doddl Cutlery will be stocked by Boots.com. For more news and announcements, including our official launch date with Boots.com, please keep an eye on our Facebook and Insta pages @doddlcutlery.

    That’s it for now! Look forward to catching up again next month.

  • The Great Bank Holiday Escape – Travelling with Toddlers

    Travelling with  a Toddler

    With many of us making the most of the last week of August with the great Bank Holiday Weekend escape, Rosie, one of the founders of Doddl shares top tips for making life easier when travelling with a toddler.

    Snacks – Take plenty of them! Ideally ones that don’t make too much mess! Raisins, bread sticks, crudities such as cucumber sticks are ideal, and don’t forget drinks!

    Toys – a small selection of toddler’s favourite small toys.   Cards, books, etcher-sketch are ideal – basically anything that doesn’t make too much mess!  It is worth investing in a lap activity tray with edges, especially the ones designed for car seats.  These are great to allow toddlers / pre-schoolers to busy themselves with puzzles, drawing and games and helps keep everything contained. All singing all dancing lap trays or simply a baking tray, plastic box lid or a high chair tray will do the job!

    Naps – it’s not always possible, but if you can try to time long car journeys or flights to coincide with your little one’s normal nap routine, it will make the journey much easier for you and your toddler, and will help ease meltdowns and cranky children when you reach your destination!

    Technology – I know it is frowned upon to stick your child in front of a tablet or handheld device to keep them quiet. I even found myself judging parents that did this before I had children of my own! As a parent on a packed flight, there is nothing worse than a screaming child, and as a parent you can feel everyone glaring at you to keep control of your little monster. So if Peppa Pig or the Teletubbies is going to keep them quiet and entertained just go with it and don’t torture yourself by resisting! An hour or two of extra screen time isn’t going to ruin them for life and it may be your lifesaver! And don’t forget to download their favourite programmes before you travel. Audio books and nursery rhyme playlists are also a great way keep little ones entertained on long journeys.

    Make flying easier…

    Try to travel light! Easier said than done with a toddler! If you can take one max sized cabin bag with all your essentials it is so much easier than battling with a toddler and armfuls of hand luggage.

    Give them their own bag to wheel, carry or pull – they will love copying you pulling your cases along, but be mindful of the point above as you will end up carrying it onto the plane! Trunki and Litelife bags are fantastic and often come with straps so you pull along or keep hold of your toddler –  great in a packed airport!

    For long haul flights, you can sometimes book a bulk head seat with travel cot or seat. On BA the travel seats are like baby bouncers and it is worthwhile taking a large muslin, small sheet or thin blanket to lay on the seat before placing your infant on it – as they tend to be well used! Also take a light blanket to tuck over the top.

    For landing.  When flying give your child something to suck – bottle, breast or dummy to regulate their ear pressure, especially when starting the descent to land as the pressure change from 8,000ft (normal cabin pressure) to the ground is significant, especially the last 2000ft. Swallowing helps to regulate babies and toddlers ear pressure.

    Lastly, relax and enjoy…

    We know how stressful journeys can be with little ones in tow.  Just remember there are many of us going through the same stresses and strains and the end gain of some special time with your family will be well worth the effort!

    Happy Bank Holiday!

  • bubble fun Activities to entertain a toddler

    Help, I have a toddler!

    Did you wake up one morning and think…OMG where did this toddler come from?

    Were you caught up in the blur of feeding routines and nappy changes that before you knew it, a game-changing toddler appeared?

    We are not for a second trying to suggest that looking after a young baby is easy, just that they usually stay put. They can be relatively easily placated.

    A toddler? Well, let’s just say it’s little wonder parents of toddlers are in bed not long after their little ones. Or much later as they put their house back together!

    bubble funIf you thought the baby phase was tiring, the toddler phase will have you reminiscing of those days you used to just sit down. In silence.

    As toddlers discover their increasing independence, they will understand a lot of what they’re hearing but won’t always be able to communicate what they want. So when it comes to meal times, this can be particularly challenging!

    Talking, singing, reading exploring, eating, playing indoors and outdoors, napping, creating, getting messy, helping…these are all things that will help stimulate, educate and entertain your toddler. Everything you do is an experience.

    playdoh

    An essential tip – allow twice as long for everything! Everything takes longer than it ever did before.

    Here’s some ideas to help keep you going through the toddler years….

    • Chores can be fun. Don’t think of these things as chores to be done before you go and play. Chores are play! Helping strip beds (make time for bouncing, hiding in covers, playing superman with pillow cases, pillow fights, snuggles, cuddles and tickles).
    • Washing baskets make great cars. If it keeps your little one entertained for 5 minutes, embrace it!
    • They can join in with washing up. Once you’ve got the pots and pans cleaned, get you toddler to stand on a stool and wash their plastic plates and Doddl cutlery. Always have an old floor towel ready to wipe up inevitable spills quickly.
    • Creative play is fun. Playdoh, crayons, paints, spaghetti hoops and jelly in the bowl – all helps develop fine motor skills.
    • Play in the bath. Take up plastic tubs, pots, watering cans, sponges, plastic cars. Anything can be fun to play with!
    • Do something outside everyday. Plant something, go to the park, take a walk, play with ride-ons, kick a football, go to the beach, chalk on the patio or drive, play in a sandpit, wash the car, post a letter, walk to the shop, feed the ducks, kick a ball, rake the leaves, build a snowman, go for a picnic, go for a boat ride, a bike ride, blackberry picking, collect wild flowers, leaf collecting and make a collage, learn to cross the road safely, go for an ice cream!
    • Keep one of your kitchen cupboards child-friendly. They can open it, empty it and play with child-friendly utensils again and again.
    • A box of dress ups is always fun. Don’t throw away old hats and scarves – toddlers love dressing up in fun items. It really pushes their creativity and imagination.
    • Rotate their toys. It stops them and you getting bored. It’s always fun to rediscover long-forgotten toys.
    • Always have entertainment and food options in your handbag. A car, a doll, snacks, drinks, a notebook and pen.
    • Playdates are essential for toddlers and adults.  Invite friends over and any parents you get to know from nurseries or play groups. It will keep you sane and help your child to learn to share.

    As you can see, having a toddler means that you need to rethink situations and how you approach them!

  • Keeping track of your weaning journey

    When your baby was all shiny and new we’re sure that you had times where you couldn’t remember what time you’d last changed their nappy, given them a bottle or put them down for a nap.

    There’s so much to remember that it happens to the best of us!

    So when it comes to introducing solids, you’ll be trying so many different foods it’s understandable that you might also forget what your little one had eaten, how much had actually gone in (and not on the floor), and whether they’d liked it.

    As busy working Mums ourselves, we know how overwhelming this can be, and that’s when we’re lucky enough to be getting a bit more sleep!

    3 kids

    To combat this, we kept scrappy notes that we quickly lost or that got covered in mushed up broccoli.

    We also tried various apps on our phones to help us track patterns, but inevitably found that this led to getting easily distracted on social media instead of actually making the notes. As advocates of ‘no-tech’ at the dinner table, we found that this began contradicting our values for family mealtimes.

    Enter the tiddler weaning tracker, from tiddlers & nippers.

    Born out of exactly the same experience, tiddlers & nippers journals started by trying to keep some order following the arrival of a new baby. The inventors couldn’t find a physical product that combined functional format and good design to do the job, so they came up with their own range of baby and toddler tracking journals.

    In a world where technology is beginning to take over every aspect of our lives, there is a resurgence of making notes and appreciating stationery. Journaling is very on trend at the moment as a way to bring structure and routine, as well as to record and keep special memories that we might otherwise forget.

    The tiddler weaning tracker does just this. Keeping a journal of baby’s transition from milk to solids, with space for logging each new taste and reaction whilst baby is being weaned, as well as sleeping pattern, feeding routine, and nappy changing frequency helps to bring order to the chaos that can sometimes ensue with babies and toddlers!

    We think this idea is a great partner to our educational children’s cutlery as part of your weaning toolkit, allowing you to keep a handy record of what your little one eats, likes, dislikes and also any changes in sleeping pattern or fluid intake.

    So we thought we’d buddy up with tiddlers & nippers to give you the chance to win a set of our Doddl children’s cutlery, and one of their clever Weaning Trackers.

    Enter below for your chance to win with Doddl and tiddlers & nippers

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

  • Pancake Day ideas for toddlers

    We love a good pancake.

    Delicious, easy to make, and usually a hit with the whole family, pancakes are also brilliant for baby-led weaning and little toddler hands too. Continue Reading

  • Mess-free Christmas mealtimes (kind of)

    Mess-free Christmas mealtimes (kind of)

    As a parent, you can’t guarantee that you’ll be early for anything again, or that you’ll have had a good night’s sleep, but there’s one thing that’s a given when it comes to babies and toddlers… MESS.

    Mess is just part of the job description.

    via GIPHY

    And whether we like it or not, it’s also part of our child’s development.

    When it comes to our little ones though, we always like inventions to help to reduce just a little bit of the inevitable mess.

    In fact, that’s why we made Doddl childrens cutlery; to make mealtimes easier (for both kids and parents).

    The way we have designed our cutlery helps children to hold and direct the utensils, meaning that more food goes into the mouth, and less on the floor. Well that’s the idea anyway!

    So when we came across Hippychick’s Lite Cup and Splat Mat, we loved the concepts.

    The Little Lite Cup offers mess-free drinking preventing tips with no fiddly spouts or straws to clean. It also has an in-built night light to avoid spills in the middle of the night.

    The Bumkins Splat Mats protect floors and tables during feeding time, so if by any chance your little one did drop something from their Doddl cutlery, you can catch it easily.

    Put the three products together this Christmas and you’ll give yourself the best shot at reducing some of the mess in your house.

    We’ve teamed up with Hippychick to offer you the chance to win all 3 products! Click here to enter.

    hippychick competition

  • Doddl heads for The Baby Show

    The team at Doddl HQ is packing up, ready to head to our first Baby Show at the NEC in Birmingham. We will be positioned at stand C61 and we are excited to share our cutlery with the thousands of visitors that are planned to attend this weekend. The show runs from Friday until Sunday. We look forward to welcoming visitors to our stand, where the kids will be able to participate in some play-doh modelling, have a go at testing our cutlery and vote for their favourite meal (and perhaps win themselves a new set of doddl cutlery in the process!) If you would like to attend, use the code ‘DODDL’ to receive savings on your entrance tickets.

     

  • doddl spoon Doddl announces Bebelephant as their UK retail distributor

    Doddl is pleased to be joining forces with nursery sector distribution specialists Bebelephant, who will oversee the distribution of Doddl cutlery into major retailers in the UK. Bebelephant is already in discussions with a number of major retailers and we will provide a link to stockists from our website as and when available.