Last weekend we celebrated the baby’s 2nd birthday and I guess now is as good as any time to re-name her ‘The Toddler’. Gosh, that sounds wonderful but so sad! No more baby!
We threw The Toddler a dolly’s tea party for her birthday as there seemed to be no other party as fitting as that. She is a true ‘girl’ (which leads me to want to write about girls and boys and their toy preferences and how gender makes no difference at all. That’s another post!) and she loved every minute of it. Since then, we’ve been going tea party crazy and I thought I would expand on it a little further in our play. So we had a messy tea party!
We made tea infused play dough as the focus of our play as it’s a material we don’t use all that often and I knew that there would be opportunities to make cakes and biscuits with it. To make it we :
- mixed two cups of plain flour, half a cup of salt, one table spoon veg oil and one table spoon cream of tartar in a bowl
- poured one cup of boiling water onto 4 tea bags
- mixed the dry and wet ingredients together (after squeezing the tea bags!)
- once we had a dough like consistency, we emptied another 4 tea bags into the mixture for added aroma and a speckled appearance
The play dough was a huge hit! We set it out on the tuff spot with various other materials:
- sugar cubes
- loose tea (from tea bags)
- tea bags in packets
- plastic tea set
- biscuit cutters
- rolling pin
- wooden cup cake stand
Straight away The Toddler wanted to play tea parties and set to work with Iron Man (don’t ask!) in his high chair. She fed him dinner and used lots of different tools to manipulate the dough. This was a lovely chance for me to sit back and watch her play- she really is into domesticated role play like this- and listening to her chatter away was lovely!
We re-created her birthday party too, and she was delighted to be sung to once more!
This was also an activity that The Preschooler enjoyed and, as ever, I took the opportunity to extend the play in his direction too. I spread loose tea on the tuff spot and wrote ‘tea party’ with a plastic knife. Then I asked The Preschooler to tell me about tea (we also discussed where it comes from and how we make a cup of tea) and whether or not it was hot or cold. The Preschooler decided it was hot, and wrote the word unaided! Hooray! He then helped me to write ‘teapot’ by writing ‘pot’ too. This was a wonderful reminder of how far he has come with his letters and sounds and writing skills and lovely for Ghostwriterdaddy to witness too.
One of the most wonderful aspects of this messy tea party play was the creativity the children showed. They really took to the playdough in a way they never really have before- making food, cakes, biscuits and patterns. They used loose tea to decorate their creations and they used sugar cubes to build simple constructions too.
We’ve had the messy tea party play out for a few days this week and the children have enjoyed dipping in and out as they please but I think that it is The Toddler who has got the most from this. She’s indulged in all the sensory elements with the playdough- the aroma, the texture, the malleability and the creativity. She’s run her fingers through the loose tea, investigated the tea bags and practised scooping and pouring the sugar cubes from pot to cup.
What a wonderful messy tea party we’ve had!