Flour tray: Simple sensory play for toddlers

Mar 16, 2016

All you need to do this activity is a tray and a few spoonfuls of flour: it’s that simple. For a toddler, it’s a chance to explore the sense of touch, experiment and, of course, talk. I set this activity up after naptime expecting a few minutes of curious play, but my two-year-old was still playing with it an hour later!

flourtray

I put a tray with deep sides on a large mat, and sprinkled about five generous spoons of flour inside. My little one got to work, touching the floor, creating handprints and patterns, scooping it with the spoon and so on.

We talked about how the flour felt soft on his hands and fingers, the actions he was doing (touch, stir, sprinkle, draw etc.) and the shapes we were making (circle, square, line etc.). What he loved most was having me fill his hand with flour so he could then squeeze and sprinkle it. (Try it yourself: it feels surprisingly pleasant!)

He introduced a few small toys to the tray: a Playmobil motorbike, horse and girl (his choices, not mine!). They made tracks, we covered them with flour, and they slipped in the pretend ‘snow’.

Meanwhile, my three-year-old was not so fascinated by the activity. He’s seen it before, and he’s not as interested in sensory play as his brother. But once we introduced the imaginative play he got more involved, acting out rescues, pretending the motorbike was a snowmobile.

After an hour our play became messier (flour was thrown, and by now my toddler was sitting in the tray), so I decided to wrap it up. We sprinkled the flour with water and mixed it in, gradually adding more and more water and turning the flour into dough. We talked about the different textures we made (sticky, slimy, dry, stretchy…) and also how this kind of dough is used to make bread.

Slowly experiencing the transformation of flour into dough was fascinating seen through toddler eyes. Plus it helped transition my toddler away from the flour and onto less messy play!


For many more sensory activity and pretend play ideas, check out my book: Word Boosting: A practical guide to encouraging your toddler’s language skills, with 365+ easy playtime activities. The book includes suggestions and strategies for supporting language learning as you play.


 

Shared at Practical Mondays and Let Kids Be Kids.

 

bwflourtray

6 Comments

  1. swapna
    April 4, 2016

    Man! You’re brave! I would never ever give flour to play with ! I’ve given boxes of rice, coffee beans, wheat etc but never flour! too messy!!:)

    Thank you for sharing at the Practical Mondays!

    Reply
    • Kathleen
      April 5, 2016

      Ha ha! I was really surprised at how un-messy this turned out to be. (Well, apart from having to change all clothes afterwards and vacuum – but at least no stains!)

      Reply
  2. Let kids be kids
    April 5, 2016

    Love sensory activities, they are so much fun and the conversations you can have during them is great. Sounds like your children enjoy it.
    Thanks for sharing with #LetKidsBeKids

    Reply
    • Kathleen
      April 7, 2016

      Thanks for the opportunity to share!

      Reply
  3. Lola
    April 6, 2016

    Oooh I love sensory play which can be vacuumed up afterwards. I may have to take a look at your book too!
    #LetKidsBeKids

    Reply
    • Kathleen
      April 7, 2016

      Yes – it could actually be quicker than clearing up Lego 😉 Thanks for stopping by!

      Reply

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