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Sunday 24 January 2021

Valentine's Day Tuff Tray | Sensory Play | Playdough Recipe

Whether you celebrate Valentine's Day or not, this sensory tuff tray is sure to provoke some language and discussions around love and kindness whilst offering lots of learning opportunities in a very child-led and open ended exploration...

Valentine's Day sensory rose playdough tuff tray activity

This sensory play opportunity actually starts before the tuff tray activity, in making the Valentine's Day playdough together with your child/children! This post explains and demonstrates how to make this together, and then moves on to the resources and the learning opportunities this provides....

Valentine's Day Tuff Tray | Sensory Play

Valentine's Day sensory rose playdough tuff tray activity

Would you like to know how to make this Valentine's Playdough?
You will need:

4 Cups of Flour
2 Cups of Salt
8 Tsp of Cream of Tartar
4 Cups of Water
2 tblsp Oil

Optional extras:

Pink food colouring
Rose essential oil

(links to products below)

Quick Video Demonstration of how to make the playdough: 

Valentine's Day sensory rose playdough tuff tray activity

Resources for the Valentine's Day tuff tray:

Click on the links below for more product info, price and to purchase from Amazon (affiliate links)

Hot pink food colour - https://amzn.to/42E9G8t

Cream of tartar - https://amzn.to/3SGlQJe

Organic Sunflower oil - https://amzn.to/3uBheMs

Refined salt - https://amzn.to/3UCbtJ8

Plain flour - https://amzn.to/4bIWgMC

Rose Essential oil - https://amzn.to/3SLjIzM

Pink Marble placemats - https://amzn.to/3ONyxRg

Wooden heart tray plate: https://amzn.to/3OLlDDy

Silicone flower cake moulds - https://amzn.to/3T1c7i4

Nesting heart cutters - https://amzn.to/48lUPAK

Star cutter - https://amzn.to/3wllMqU

Heart shaped sandwich sealer - https://amzn.to/49i2l0K

Pink gems - https://amzn.to/3OJr1a0

Quartz pink lustre gems - https://amzn.to/42F2poN

Heart stickers  - https://amzn.to/49cWpWK

Acacia scoop - https://amzn.to/3I2BNod

Olive wood bowl - https://amzn.to/3I4sxQk

Silver mini keys - https://amzn.to/3UG85gg

Acrylic hearts - https://amzn.to/3wm9XAP

Pink acrylic hearts - https://amzn.to/49ihe2W

Silver flower spoons - https://amzn.to/3wiG5W3

Artificial rose - https://amzn.to/3wrILQV

Dried rose petals and rodebuds - https://amzn.to/3SJKpVx

Children’s wooden rolling pin - https://amzn.to/3uI75xu

Tuff tray - https://amzn.to/3I0uKw6

Hopefully the image links above have helped you to source the resources you need and you are ready to get started!

Now, if you want some good examples of how to GIVE LANGUAGE to babies and toddlers, during play, and some pointers of things you should try and avoid saying, pop over and have a read of my post all about developing speech and language in babies and children here and also this post all about developing language through sensory play.

As there are so many things to explore in this activity, it's a great one for developing the senses:

  • Touch - feeling the playdough and the different resources, their temperature and how hard or soft they are. 
  • Smell - especially whilst making the playdough, but also afterwards with the addition of the rose petals and the essential oils.
  • Sound - Listen for the noises whilst pouring the ingredients. Do the resources make any sounds when you interact with them?
  • Taste - this is mainly for whilst cooking the playdough, I wouldn't encourage eating it as it is very salty, although it is taste safe.
  • Sight - Using objects of varying transparency and  brightness offers opportunities for language. As does the use of shapes and recognisable objects.

Valentine's Day sensory rose playdough tuff tray activity

Here are some examples of describing words that could be used on some of the sensory resources above, depending on age and stage of development:

  • soft / hard
  • rough / smooth
  • sticky
  • fuzzy
  • squishy
  • shiny
  • sparkly
  • cold / warm
  • round / circle / sphere/ heart/ love heart
  • see through / transparent
  • opaque
  • 2d / 3d /flat / solid
  • small / little / short / smaller / shorter
  • medium sized
  • big / large / wide / tall / bigger / larger / wider / taller
  • heavy / light

red wooden heart bowl on tuff traywooden bowl ith scoop and pink heart beads on tuff tray

acryclic flower bowl with purple heart beadssilver mini skeleton keys with hearts

sandwich heart press on tuff trayblue mini beads in small metal dish

acacia wood dish with pink heart beadswooden heart dish with heard cupcake holder and heart press

Here are some example of verbs that could be used on the sensory resources above:

  • rolling
  • squashing
  • pushing
  • squeezing
  • pinching
  • peeling (stickers)
  • poking
  • lifting
  • holding
  • patting
  • pressing
  • scooping
  • pouring

scooping on the Valentine's Day sensory rose playdough tuff tray

Rolling dough on the Valentine's Day sensory rose playdough tuff tray activity

cutting hearts on the Valentine's Day sensory rose playdough tuff tray
Pushing and Pressing

pressing feet into the dough on the Valentine's Day sensory rose playdough tuff tray

Extending the tuff tray activity beyond child-led

tuff tray with pink playdough pizzas with heart beads

If you would like to extend this activity beyond the child-led explorations by modelling an extension activity, I decided to make a 'love heart pizza'. I talked about what I was doing as I was carrying out the task, using the verbs and describing words mentioned above, and Charlotte soon began to attempt her own.

As you can see, the idea of producing a love heart free hand using small beads as a 2 year old is quite a task, but she got the general idea by selecting the correct beads for the middle and the outer shape to produce her own version - great for fine motor skills!

Scaffolding and supporting an extension activity:

putting heart beads into pink playdough on the tuff tray

You can still offer scaffolding or support when working with children in a child-led way. After Charlotte had attempted her own version independently, I wanted to show her how she could be more successful in her attempt at a love heart shape by giving her a guideline to work to. I gently pressed a heart cutter into her dough in order to make an outline and placed two beads on top of the line to demonstrate how this can be done. I then left her to try for herself....

valentines day playdough pizzas on the tuff tray

As you can see, she did a pretty good job didn't she? You'd be hard pressed to say as an outsider that one of these heart pizzas was made by an adult and one by a two year old!

Remember, offering support does not mean doing an activity for them, holding their hand or walking them through the entire activity. It means giving them the tools to be even more successful in their attempts at producing a certain outcome. 

Of course, it is important to note - it is the process, and not the outcome, that is the most important thing when it comes to learning through play. 

Would you like to see what we did next? Pop over to my instagram post and have a look...

Whenever we have a tuff tray activity, once the excitement has died down, I like to repurpose the resources to be used in a different way, or as part of our continuous provision, either by setting up a new play shelf or adding them to the non-messy tuff tray like here. . Without the playdough, these resources can be explored in an alternative way - like here with filling, pouring, serving and scooping. Charlotte added an extra pot and a large scoop herself during play. . You can buy the heart pasta here: https://amzn.to/2t0r3nl . All other resources and info over on the blog: https://www.arthurwears.com/2020/01/valentines-day-tuff-tray-sensory-play.html . . . . . #january_play #playbasedlearning #learningthroughplay #montessoriathome #openendedplay #handsonlearning #earlylearning #toddleractivities #montessorikids #playmatters #playislearning #learningathome #eyfs #tufftrayactivity #activityoftheday #earlyyearsideas #eyfsideas #learningbydoing #playideas #toddlerinvestigations #sensoryplay #invitationtoplay #tuffspotideas #tuffspotactivity #sensoryplayideas #physicaldevelopment #finemotorskills #childdevelopment #playingtolearn #importanceofplay

Love Sarah x 

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