Queen of Hearts jam tart play dough recipe

We took our favourite play dough recipe and transformed it into some fun messy play, making jam tarts for the Queen of Hearts in our Valentine bakery.

play dough recipe valentine messy playJam tart play dough recipe

We made some dough using our favourite easy play dough recipe adding in almond essence to the plain batch to get a great pastry dough, and red food colouring to another batch to make our jam tart fillings. Then I set out some bakery equipment for the children to use in their play: rolling pins, cookie cutters, silicone cake cases and muffin tins.

play dough recipe I’m using every opportunity to add in words to our play and this written invitation gave the children a little reading practice – it’s quite exciting to  get a note from the queen! {Click the photo below and you can print the invitation}

valentine messy playI also gave them a set of bakery order sheets along with some pencils – red and pink of course – so they would write down their orders. {Click the image below if you’d like to print some sheets too}

messy playAdding in these extra little elements is a fun and gentle way to encourage the children to read, write and explore maths as they play. It shows them that these ‘school’ skills have real and practical importance in life.

play dough recipe valentineProviding a variety of cookie cutters is a very easy way to include a maths lesson in their play, letting them explore shape and size. They worked out they needed a big cookie cutter for the base of their jam tarts, and a small one if they wanted to make a lid.

valentine messy playThey practised using a rolling pin…

play dough recipe valentine and created a menu of imaginary cakes, pies and biscuits.

play dough  valentine Of course, they’re chatting all the time they play, pretending to take orders and work out recipes.

valentine role playAnd the addition of some favourite small world characters gave them plenty of customers to serve.

play dough Even slicing the cakes into fair shares is a playful way to work on fractions. Of course, then children don’t know this was a maths lesson – they just thought it was super fun!

super sensory footerSuper Sensory Invitations to Play

Ready for a whole year of exploring through the senses? Super Sensory Invitations to Play is a delightful resource that encourages your children to explore the five senses through the year, using a wide variety of sensory materials. It includes 52 invitations to play, linked to the festivals and seasons of the year, and including water, ice, dough, rice, paints, sand, sensory tubs, and more.

They are easy, simple, and fun ideas that you can use right now to give a multi-sensory boost to your play and learning. It comes with a printable recipe book featuring all our favourite recipes for play. Come and see more here.


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