Be my Valentine…Chocolate Playdough play

Playdough, you just got to love the stuff. It is in the top ten of play ideas in this house and I always seem to be making the stuff, either at home or at work. I am a Reception teacher ,not an office worker, just imagine… so it is not at all odd behaviour. It can be basic or themed to match children’s interests or a time of the year.

Chocolate play dough is a wonderful way to explore Valentines day with young children. It gives you time to talk about why the shops are suddenly full of red heart shaped balloons and chocolates.

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I made the Chocolate Play dough by using our basic play dough recipe. However this time instead of 1 cup of plain flour I used half flour and half cocoa powder. It smells amazing. I added the water very slowly to avoid the dough becoming too sticky. Next I gave Pook and Meemoo the new dough along with an empty cardboard box for those chocolates, some different shaping tools.

Now the fun begins. Pook and I spent a delightful time creating our chocolates, talking about the flavours we were creating. It was a another way to develop those all important fine motor skills, using a variety of tools to make, shape and decorate the chocolates.  It was too invaluable talk time, time to just stop and share the moment. If you had an older child you could get them to then write a menu card for the chocolate box or set up and sell them in Chocolate shop , an opportunity to practice real life maths skills.

Pook has enjoyed every minute of playing with the dough making chocolates for the box and asks each day to get it out. So get out the cocoa and embrace chocolate play dough.

A child’s review of the year


Life is so busy with each week whizzing by in a flash. Well that’s how it feels for me let alone the small people in my life. Its not often that we sit down with them and take stock of the year. Now seems like the perfect time as the year comes a frenzied end with whirlwind of celebrations to let it all sink in.


I started this process with Pook by going through a selection of photos on the computer. I had up until this point not used the computer for a specific purpose with her other than watching Youtube. Needless to say she loved it. I had pre selected them from the year making sure I highlighted the main events.  It was a real opportunity to sit down and have a good chat about all the many things we had seen and done the past 12 months. After spending some time looking at the photos I then gave her a selection of them printed out along with some card, scissors and glue. The invitation was for her to cut out her favourite images and add to the card to make one big picture for the year. She did however need a little help cutting out the pictures. Pook really enjoyed choosing the photos with great care and attention.

This is definitely going to be a new family tradition. I am planing to keep them all and give them to her on her 18th birthday as a keep sake of her view of her childhood.

Chinese New Year inspired playdough

A fun way to explore playdough and the Chinese New Year. It is almost time for Chinese New Year so I thought I would use it as an opportunity to open Pooks eyes to wonderful amazing world that is out there. She is currently fascinated with maps, globes and other places as she begins to make sense of her world.

I made some playdough but this time added red food colouring and gold glitter, two of the important colours for the Chinese at their New Year.

Next we explored the dough using some chop sticks. It was a opportunity to talk about different types of food and ways of eating. Fun was had trying to pick up balls of play dough using them. This is an excellent way to develop a child’s fine motor skills, getting those muscles ready for writing.


Meemoo has just about begun to explore play dough without always eating it! She enjoyed sticking the chop sticks into the dough and exploring the possibilities that were offered.

An exciting afternoon was had by all!


Pancake Day Play

Pancake day is nearly here again so in order to celebrate with have been role playing making pancakes.


It was a easy activity to set, making use of toys and odd bits most of us had. After having talked to Pook about this activity she decided we had to have real flour to add to make them. This got me thinking…


I  used some clear bottles to put each of the ingredients in and then sealed the lids with some clear gaffa tape. I put labels on the bottles to encourage some early reading skills and recognition of the first letter of the word. The milk is not real, but some cornflour and water. It does look effective.


I then added the eggs from the kitchen and some spoons and measuring cups as they looked like frying pans.


A great time has been had by all making and eating the pancakes. Pook decided we needed a recipe which was again a wonderful opportunity for some early reading and writing. She wrote her own making arks as she said the words.  I then wrote one which we read together pointing out the matching words from the labels on the bottles. Meemoo has enjoyed role playing shaking the bottles and stirring too.


Arctic Small World Play

An Arctic Small World Play is quick and easy to set up, using simple items around the house.

Small World Play refers to when children are playing with small imaginative toys in many different ways.

Our Arctic Small World Play was created in the sand tray. I started by covering up the green plastic with some white muslins. There has to be another use for them all now the baby stage has passed, right?!


Next I added some bubble wrap to create texture. With this in mind Pook and I hunted through our loose parts box for anything white. We added cotton wool balls, pompoms and some shimmery white stones.

The addition of these small items led us to explore with some small containers, which Meemoo loved emptying and filling. She also explored placing one shimmery white stone into an ice cube tray. She has come back to this activity many times.

I added some Duplo so that we could build icebergs for the animals to float on. This then prompted Pook to add her Octonauts so that they could explore the Arctic too.

A fun time has been had by all.



Snowman Dough

We have been making and talking about snowmen for the past few weeks as we hope for some snow so we can make a real one. While we are waiting we have been making some out of dough.

I made a new type of dough primarily because I had no salt to make regular play dough. I followed a 2 ingredient dough recipe from The Imagination Tree. It used only cornflour and a topical cream for treating eczema. I used Doublebase cream as we have lots of it in this house.I added a load of glitter to give our dough some sparkle. I kneaded to cream, cornflour and glitter together until it formed a dough. I found it needed more cream than the original recipe.

After having made the dough I gave Pook some buttons, googly Eyes, pompoms, a rolling pin and a cutter to make snowmen with.


She had great fun experimenting with all the resources.