Birthdays, Play dough, Baking and Loose Parts

As Lily explores loose parts, she says, "This one's so pretty!"
As Lily explores loose parts, she says, “This one’s so pretty!”
Did you know a rice bin helps regulate the nervous system? Which sometimes can feel so good! Cora not only played with measuring cups, but also enjoyed burying alphabet letters.
Did you know a rice bin helps regulate the nervous system? Which sometimes can feel so good! Cora not only played with measuring cups, but also enjoyed burying alphabet letters.

For the past couple months, play dough and the rice bin have been very popular among the children’s play. During their play in these activities we document their language as well as demonstrate language used in math such as full, empty, pour, measure and scoop. In play dough, lots of food related items have been created, especially bakery type items like cupcakes, cakes and cookies.

Exploring loose parts seems to intrigue the children recently as well.  As the children explore loose parts, they naturally sort objects and use open-ended materials to experiment, engage, construct and invent. Specifically, our kids used open-ended materials to create a gift for their friend, Camden because it was his birthday. In addition to loose parts, I placed various recyclable materials, glue, paper,and other various objects on display for the children to use to make Camden a birthday present.

Lily and Zai made Camden a birthday cake out of creative abstract objects. Zai used play dough and a pipe cleaner while Lily used a foam block with beads strung on a pipe cleaner. They used their imagination and creativity, but best of all, they experienced joy in giving their creation to a friend on his birthday. For more on Loose Parts, check out: The Theory of Loose Parts Here.

A chocolate birthday cake and cupcakes were being ordered and prepared in our pretend play kitchen area.
A chocolate birthday cake and cupcakes were being ordered and prepared in our pretend play kitchen area.
Penelope makes Camden a birthday present using tissue paper and a glue stick.
Penelope makes Camden a birthday present using tissue paper and a glue stick.
Penelope presents her gift to Camden with giggles and laughter!
Penelope presents her gift to Camden with giggles and laughter!
Zai gives his "birthday cake" to Camden made out of combined play dough colors and a pipe cleaner.
Zai gives his “birthday cake” to Camden made out of combined play dough colors and a pipe cleaner.
Lily made Camden a birthday cake out of styrofoam, pipe cleaners and foam beads.
Lily made Camden a birthday cake out of styrofoam, pipe cleaners and foam beads.
A closer look at the birthday cake creation.
A closer look at the birthday cake creation.
Penelope also made Camden a birthday cake out of these recyclable materials and scraps of yarn.
Penelope also made Camden a birthday cake out of these recyclable materials and scraps of yarn.

Displaying these materials for the children and leaving the activity open-ended resulted in creative and higher level thinking. It was the children’s idea to make Camden a birthday cake and no two cakes were the same…very different actually! A delight for us parents to witness… from the creation process to presenting the gifts to their friend…very precious.

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