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Millones Man

19 Mar

I know, I know I’ve been VERY quiet lately! I’m finding it difficult to blog now as Thomas no longer has a day sleep and by the time he goes to bed I can’t think any longer! My brain (and body) is dead and just wants to zone out.

My little man is 4 now. He is still as busy as ever and so curious about everything! You know, things the average 4 year old wants to know like how does the water come out of the tap, where does it come from, how does the rain fall from the sky, how did he get out of my tummy, what does that sign say, what does that word mean… The list goes on and on – and so do the questions!

Did you know the average 4 year old asks between 430 – 450 questions each day??? I think Thomas asks that before breakfast! 🙂

Anyway, we have still been cooking although, until recently not as much. I don’t think the mixing and measuring was quite challenging enough for him!

Last week he decided he wanted to help me cook a real meal. So together we cooked broccoli and chicken pasta. Just as we were about to serve it, Thomas decided he wanted to set the dining room up as Millones – his favourite restaurant! He made a sign up and set up some tea light candles (battery operated) and set the table. It was very cute and took our cooking to a whole new level. It also made him a lot more interested in sitting at the table!

He has since decided that he is going to have his own restaurant when he grows up that serves garlic bread and lemonade!

What have you been cooking lately with your kids?



Pizza Party Playdough

12 Jul

Thomas and I made this playdough before our Pizza Party with the thought that we would play with it at the pizza party. We didn’t. We just didn’t get time! There was too much pizza making going on to play with playdough!

So, we brought it home and after a rest, Thomas and I created our own pizza restaurant. He had a fantastic time role playing making the pizza and exploring the making of the pizza’s all over again. My little guy loves imaginative play at the moment. He’s always thinking up new games that involve his dolls or little people so this was right up his alley!

Now pizza playdough isn’t at all difficult. I used the Imagination Tree’s 4 minute no cook playdough which I LOVE! It lasts for so long and is so versatile I don’t think I’ll ever bother with another playdough recipe!

And to this recipe, we just added some oregano leaves that we picked from our garden. You could use any herbs you like really. Rosemary and parsley would also be good ones. I kept some leaves and Thomas enjoyed adding them as he was making his pizza.

We also used our cardboard oven that we made ages ago. It has stood the test of time and comes in handy when we do imaginary cooking like this, although it is a bit of a pain to store!

We had a great afternoon playing with this playdough. Thomas used his fine motor skills and large muscles to cut and roll the dough. The language and conversation being had was wonderful. To extend this experience we might make some menus and have some paper and pens to take orders – and make a ‘real’ restaurant. Or we might make some different coloured playdough to add different toppings to our pizza’s.

Valentines Day Chocolate Playdough Fun…

15 Feb

I saw this recipe on The Imagination Tree. If you’re looking for some great activities to do at home with your kids, be sure to check out this blog. There are some fantastic ideas that look like so much fun!

I thought chocolate playdough sounded like something fun to make for Valentines Day, although the play turned into a birthday party – all good :-).

I talked in my last post about sensory play being great for brain development. If you’re looking for a different kind of sensory recipe, this is the one for you. It was really quite bizarre when Thomas and I were making it. It smelt delicious and looked like chocolate cake… but it wasn’t. Maybe a bit disappointing because there was no spoon to lick 🙂 but fun none the less.

The recipe is no cook (although involves boiling water) and is a really lovely texture. I think we’re going to have a lot of fun with this one in the days to come. Thomas wasn’t really in a playdough mood this morning but his friend H. had a great time making cakes and they both enjoyed singing ‘happy birthday’ to each other.
Playdough is a fantastic activity, there are so many learning outcomes that can be achieved through playing with playdough and most children love the experience. Apart from the sensory aspects of playdough, children are using their fine motor skills, developing their language and literacy skills by taking part in and initiating conversations, basic maths skills (counting, size), colour recognition – there are many more depending on what other aspects your playdough play incorporates too.

Chocolate Playdough Recipe:

  • 2 cups plain flour (all purpose)
  • 1 cup salt
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsps vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsps cream of tartar
  • 2 cups of boiling water
  • 4 drops of glycerine (optional extra for increased shine and stretch)


  1. Combine all of the dry ingredients in a bowl
  2. Stir in the vegetable oil
  3. Mix together
  4. Stir in the boiling water (adult only) and mix until combined
  5. When it has cooled a little, knead it on a clean surface until it loses all stickiness and becomes smooth and stretchy. No residue should come off on your fingers. If it is still sticky add a little more flour, if too dry and crumbly add more water, a tablespoon at a time.

I’m a bit slow in getting this post up, but since I made the playdough we have been having lots of fun making all different sorts of birthday cakes. We have been exploring numbers making number cakes and making chocolate biscuit cakes and letter cakes, making little cakes and big cakes, tall cakes and small cakes… Lots of fun that is only limited by your imagination! 🙂

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….