"Happiness is knowing,
there is cake in the oven."
The joy of cake! When I think of cake I remember the joy of creating and designing my children's birthday cakes. Each year we would carefully consider their interests and then my husband and I would bake and decorate a very special cake for each of our children. When my son was a toddler he was very much into tractors and animals. It was so much fun making these marshmallow sheep for his haystack cake.
Our daughter loved the Little Mermaid and this cake was a team effort for sure.
The children's cake play at school reminded me of these special times with my own family. Birthdays are a tradition that often includes cake. Most children have had the experience of eating cake at a birthday celebration. The children's experiences with cake were observed in the kitchen play area. They began to design and build cakes using the materials in the loose parts tray and the small wooden blocks.
After observing this play for a few weeks and documenting their cake designs, the return to school after the Christmas holidays seemed like the perfect time to offer this cake decorating invitation.
Loose parts play offers the children an opportunity to express their creative thinking. The materials placed within this divided tray were carefully selected for their potential to be used on the cardboard nesting boxes. Materials for loose part trays can be collected from right within your home or classroom. Save the caps from your Crayola markers and applesauce pouches for loose parts play! I also included some interesting shaped beads from an old bracelet in this tray along with the gems and LED candles. This type of play is open-ended. It allows the children the freedom to manipulate the materials and develop creative thinking. There is problem-solving, the elements of artistic design and mathematical thinking all within this play. As the children collaborate in the design process they are also communicating ideas and developing social skills. So much learning happens everyday within the classroom.
Here are a few images of their play that was documented this week!
Sensory Sprinkles Play
Next to this invitation to decorate cakes, we placed the sensory bin and filled it with sprinkles. Adding the silver baking tins, a variety of kitchen utensils for scooping and the cutest little covered serving dish made for great fine motor play.
As the children continue to explore and play items and materials will be added if needed to extend their thinking. As the children clean-up after play block, I am always amazed at the care and pride they take in arranging the materials for tomorrow's explorations.
If you have a cake loving child in your house I hope this invitation inspires your own creative play!