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.
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...
You can click on the link for the full recipe.
- 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
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...