Baking Sensory Tub (Mix and Mess)

31 Jan

I saw this activity idea on The Imagination Tree and loved it. It looked so inviting and the creative /imaginative play possibilities were endless. Thomas’ friend H. was here today so I thought we would do something a little different…

What you need:

A large tub (We used a medium sized storage container)

Dry ‘mix and mess’ ingredients – we used pasta, rice, sunflower seeds and hundreds and thousands for a little colour (the kids enjoyed adding the hundreds and thousands out of the container!)

Baking materials – we used whisks, silicone patty cases, paper patty cases, cup measures, spoons, baking trays and a scale. You are only limited by your imagination in what you put with it, see where your child takes the activity and you might like to add things like cook books, oven mitts, cookie cutters etc.

What you do:

My suggestion is that you do this activity outside as it can get quite messy, although it is quite easily swept up.

Combine all the ‘ingredients’ in the tub and have fun!

It was interesting to see the 2 children playing with this activity today. Thomas immediately wanted to use the scales while H. got right into making some “biscuits” using the trays and patty cases. They both used the spoons to scoop the dry ingredients out of the tub and put them into the bowls and patty cases.

We added our oven that we made a couple of weeks ago too which allowed the kids a place to cook what they had made.

At one stage Thomas said to me “What do I do now?”. I guess he is used to ‘real’ cooking, following a recipe and achieving an outcome so it was quite different for him to be doing this ‘unstructured’ cooking. I was pleased to be able to offer him a different dimension to cooking and allow him a little freedom to explore his own creativity and imagination. I’m looking forward to playing with the sensory tub with him again to see where it might lead now that he has more of an idea of the concept.

Some of the learning that was going on:


Exploring size using the big and little patty cases, problem solving which ones went in which trays.

Talking about measurement and using terms such as weigh and grams.

Counting and recognising numbers on the scales


Sharing materials.

Initiating and engaging in conversations.


Introducing new words

Engaging in conversations

Fine Motor:

Manipulating and using utensils to scoop, pour and mix

There are so many learning outcomes that can be achieved from this activity, it just depends where your children take it….



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