Reading books from birth that represent all abilities, cultures, beliefs, & skin colors help children be exposed diverse experiences. Books are a window to the world & representation from a young age matters. It lays the foundation of seeing others & makes it easier for a child to accept themselves & understand that there is nothing wrong with them.
Sensory & loose parts exploration is a great way integrate this literacy experience through cooking “homemade love” through play.
To create this invitation you can make homemade chocolate play-dough:
2 Cups of Flour
2 Cups of Salt
2 Cups of Water (add food coloring or liquid water colors to create the color desired)
2 TBSP Cream of Tartar
2 TBSP Oil
2-3 TBSP Hot Cocoa Mix
Heat a non stick pan to very low, pour flour, salt, water, cream of tartar, hot coca mix, & oil on the pan all together. A little trick we do for the color to evenly disperse is add the Liquid Water Colors or Food Coloring to the water prior to putting it in the pan. Continue to mix the ingredients until it hardens. Typically 4-5 minutes. Remove from pan and roll the play dough around on a cutting board until it cools down. Store in Tupperware/Ziplock.
Then set out a tinker tray with loose parts materials (most are from @tinkeringtoddlercrates, post coming soon), cupcake liners, mini pie pan, & utensils. The Inspriemyplay PlayTray has amazing compartments for loose parts & the top is great to establish boundaries with where the play-dough can stay.
This type of play enhances a child's free creative play, exposure to sensory elements, requires concentration, fine motor enhancement, while also being relaxing & stimulating. These invitations are perfect for limitless possibilities, fostering problem solving skills, creativity, exposure to new materials, & decision making. Through this kind of play children are really creating: using what they have & what they already know, & combining that to create a whole that’s greater than the parts.