Play with natural and everyday objects is a great way to get children exploring and learning how to use every day objects.
Tuff trays and sensory baskets are perfect for this.
Last week we made some playdough, an activity within itself, and then incorporated this into an animal tuff spot.
Home-made playdough is super easy. I use the following recipe-
2 cups of flour
3/4 cup of salt
2 cups warm water
4 teaspoons of cream tartar
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
Food colouring (optional)
Mix all of the ingredients in a saucepan over a medium heat and continually stir until it starts to thicken and form a ball. Leave it to cool slightly and then knead until smooth.
I find with this recipe the playdough usually lasts a good couple of weeks stored in zip lock bags.
For this activity we decided on green playdough for the animals to make foot prints in.
In our safari tuff tray we also had:
Natural wooden blocks
And of course animals.
I simply set up a scene with the resources and left them for Olivia to explore. That day she played and explored for a good length of time, comparing the footprints in the playdough and developing her imaginative play.
When it came to bed time she didn’t want it to be tidied up and in the end it the tuff tray stayed out for a week with her playing with it each night after nursery. I know this isn’t always possible space wise but if you can leave something out that their enjoying ensure that you do. You may find that they add more of their own resources along the way, developing and extending on what you have provided.