Tuesday, November 6, 2018

More Bakery Themed Fun with Art & Sensory Play

Our Bakery Dramatic Play setup has been loads of fun so far. Both boys have been busy baking, boxing, delivering and serving sweet treats around the house. And the fun has extended beyond our kitchen set and playroom to the art table and our sensory bin! These sweet activities are sure to please the little bakers-in-training in your home or classroom...

When school ended last Spring, S really missed "Morning Work" each day, so I started setting up a simple Table Time activity each morning at home. Y immediately took to it as well, and even once school started up again in the Fall, I knew there was no turning back. Every morning, the boys are eager to see what's set up at the table for "Morning Work." Sometimes it is related to a play theme or the season or an upcoming holiday or family event. Sometimes it's a journal activity or related to letters numbers, writing/coloring practice or even process art. Playdough and clay are always popular ones and I try to make the activity developmentally appropriate and enjoyable for each of the boys at his own level.

This week, it has been natural that we would include a bakery theme to our Morning Work set-ups. We are in need of some new artwork to hang up around the house after a recent swap out, so I set out an invitation to create cookies using colorful card stock, oil pastels, glue, glitter and tiny circle stickers for decorating. For S, I traced a circle (using a roll of masking tape) onto some squares of card stock that he could cut. For Y (and S if he wanted as well, though he loves cutting and chose to cut his own) I set out some pre-cut circle shapes. You can choose other shapes to add or have children trace/draw and cut their own. I set out a bottle of glue that S can squeeze and use independently but also a plastic container of glue with some brushes for Y to be able to work more independently. I always allow for both boys to try any of the materials that are out. That means Y may need some support to squeeze from a bottle and be safe with scissors and that S can use the more "challenging" options intended for his level or use the alternatives. I also filled a couple of salt and pepper shakers from the Dollar Tree with glitter. You have to really love glitter to do this--especially before 9AM! Admittedly, I closed up shop at 8:35 once the boys and surrounding areas were sufficiently covered in sparkle. Alternatively you can forego the glitter altogether or use/make glitter glue. To help minimize the sparkle factor, I used a pre-cut portion of a plastic tablecloth so I could take it off and toss it at the end. Instead of our usual art mats or work trays, I set down some leftover party plates to work on. This was festive, fun and functional for collecting extra glue and glitter spills and tossing out at the end. The boys loved this activity and each of them made a few cookies to decorate our play space. You could also use the finished work in your kitchen set for play.

Speaking of art that can be used in play, both of the boys have loved creating play food from Model Magic air drying clay by Crayola. Model Magic can be a bit pricey, so I waited for a lightening deal on Amazon recently and bought a bulk set intended for classroom use. Coupons from craft supply chains are also helpful. You can also make salt dough at home and use this instead. This week, the boys made clay donuts from Model Magic. S made the world's biggest donut and Y had fun working with my help to make a couple of his own to contribute. We are waiting for those and some clay cupcakes to dry now so we can add puffy paint and glitter decorations and then add them to our bakery shop setup. 

Meanwhile, in the sensory table... 

I tried out a recipe for Birthday Cake Dough  that I found at Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails
You can click on the link for the full recipe. 
You'll need:
  • a box of cake mix (I used yellow cake mix)
  • a box of baking soda (I actually added a little extra at the end because the dough was a bit wetter than I wanted it)
  • a cup of vegetable oil
  • a bit of vanilla extract 
  • sprinkles

This dough smells heavenly and I would definitely classify it as "taste safe" being that the ingredients are all food ingredients. Nonetheless, it will not taste good, so I'd refrain from calling it edible

It mixes into a sticky and rather moist but malleable playdough and is super soft and fun! We added it into the sensory bin along with some baking tools, ice cream scoops and birthday candles for making cakes and cupcakes. You could definitely do this tabletop style instead, but I like our sensory bin for dough activities sometimes, especially some of the messier ones. Little ones can definitely help with making the dough as well and no cooking is involved. To store between play sessions, I would recommend using a ziploc bag or airtight container and refrigerating for longer shelf life. This recipe would also be a great one for Ice Cream themed sensory play and you could use other flavors of cake mix as well.
And nothing goes to waste (even and especially when we are using food products in play) here. I saved and sealed the empty ingredient boxes in clear packing tape so the boys can use them in play at their bakery shop. Nowadays, toy companies market all kinds of great play food and accessories. Nonetheless, these can be pricey and using/creating your own play props is a great alternative. As an added bonus, recycling real food containers and boxes promotes a naturally print rich environment and also feels more "realistic" to young children at play. 
Hope you will enjoy some of these sweet little activities. Dramatic play themes can extend well beyond the playroom and incorporate so many areas of play and development. We will be back soon with more and until then...

Happy Playing!

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