Sunday, August 18, 2019

Picnic & Play: The Muddy Farmyard

This time around we focused on Sensory Play. Zac has especially been enjoying all the new additions to our outdoor play kitchen area!

We did Circle Time and then followed it with different activities each day.

Circle Time

Saturday, August 17

Today I told the story "The Muddy Farmyard" from The Breathing Circle, pages 126-127. We used our rainsticks to make the sound of rain at the beginning and end of the story. For the set up I had our wooden stable, a green silk scarf with flowers embroidered on it (for the farmyard), and a deep brown play silk (for the mud). For the figures I had a wooden chicken, cow and calf, pig, and horse, as well as our tiny little green glass frog.

After the story we went outside for some sensory play at the mud kitchen. I gave Zac a large bag of (expired in 2012) ground flaxseed meal and he mixed it up with water to make wonderfully gelatinous mud! We rolled all of his little plastic animals in it and then he washed and scrubbed them clean. And played and played to his little heart's content.

Sensory play (in the great outdoors, in the bathtub, or in an indoor sensory bin) is the best thing around for when someone gives you little plastic animals, trucks and construction equipment, etc. It's also a wonderful use for a long-ago opened, forgotten about in the back of the pantry, and expired food ingredient which you don't want to just throw in the trash.

Sunday, August 18

Today we again did the story of "The Muddy Farmyard" from The Breathing Circle, pages 126-127. Nell Smyth talks about helping children develop flexible thinking by replacing some of the formed animals in the storytelling with more abstract representations (such as a feather, a stone, a pinecone, and so on). I replaced the little green glass frog with a marble. Zac had no trouble at all seeing it as a froggie.

We continued to use our rain sticks for the rain sounds, and also added in frog rasps for the frogs singing joyfully at the end of the story. I have four different sizes and each one makes a different sound!

For our sensory play activity today we made Chocolate Play Dough. This is my absolute favorite no-cook play dough recipe. It's quick and simple and smells amazing. Because you add boiling water to the dry ingredients, wait a few minutes before kneading it. You can spread a small amount of flour on the table and let the children draw pictures in it while they are waiting.

    Chocolate Play Dough

    1 1/2 cups water
    1 1/2 cups flour
    1/2 cup salt
    1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
    2T cream of tartar
    2T vegetable oil

    Bring water to a boil. In a large bowl combine all remaining ingredients. Stir in boiling water and knead the dough until it is well mixed and no longer sticks to the bowl. Keep working at it and you should get a soft, squishy dough that smells terrific and doesn’t leave any mess behind. If it is too sticky, add a little extra flour. If it is too dry, add a little extra water.

And I've also typed up this play dough recipe as a printer-friendly PDF.

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