play dough cupcakes - an invitation to play
I think it's pretty safe to say that kids love to get involved with baking. I'm also confident that all kids love play dough. Therefore, this invitation to play is guaranteed to bring lots of fun, challenge, creativity and sensory experience; to any kids who really enjoy playing with tea party sets, play dough tools and helping bake in the kitchen.
Expect mess, chatter, ideas. Children aged 3+ may, depending on their current play interests, engage with the activity for up to an hour. Younger children will engage with the materials but will most likely require much more adult supervision, their play will not be as constructive and methodical and they may even lost interest quite quickly.
Our invitation to play table has featured this theme a few times over the past year. Each time the set up is reasonably similar, with some homemade play dough and tools; including rolling pins, play dough shape cutters and play dough knives. The set up from these images also included rainbow rice, a real sensory favorite material with the kids and some pot potpourri, which contained lots of pretty dried flowers, leaves and other interesting plant parts.
Finally I added various sizes, colors and types of muffin & cupcake cases as well as a really neat plastic tired cupcake holder; which the kids love stacking and displaying their creations on.
It really doesn't take the kids long to settle into this invitation. I love sitting with them, watching their creativeness and the different approaches they take with their play ideas. It's a real treat to listen to their conversations about their creations with me and each other, as they manipulate the play dough and tools, discussing what they are currently making and how they are going to decorate it.
We ended up with cookies covered in sprinkles, cupcakes decorated with flowers and sprinkles; and even bliss balls rolled tightly and packed with sprinkles. Throughout their time at the table, their was lots of chatter, turn taking, sharing and some disagreements over who could place their creations on different parts of the cupcake stand.
We love invitations to play for their open ended nature. Kids can use their creativeness and imagination to lead the play in the way that best meets their current interests. Here, our rowdy rascals extended their play by bringing their dolls to the table. They set up the dolls high chair and brought over an extra chair for the other dolls. Next they collected up other items from the tea party and play kitchen area. We then had lots of tea party play. They chose goods from the cupcake stand, placed them onto little plates, cut them and offered them to the dolls.
By the end of the afternoon their was lots of mess around the table and floor, which I really don't mind as the clean up is part of additional 'fun' for the kids as they are given small tasks to do. We minimise the 'mess' being spread to other areas of the house as I have a rule that the invitation to play equipment can be added to 'at the table' but nothing can be taken away until clean up time at the end.