Every Tuesday on my Instagram account (abcdoes) I invite an Early Years Practitioner or setting to take over my page for #TakeOverTuesday. I have had takeovers from all over the World that have shown a huge range of Early Years provision. Pop over any Tuesday and have a look for a bit of interest and inspiration!
This week on #TakeOverTuesday, it was the turn of Laura and her team from Yarm School in the North East of England.
As part of her takeover she posted some photos of their self service dough station, which she had made after reading one of my blog post.
Her takeover photos got a lot of likes and interest, so I thought I would share the blogpost again. If you create a self service dough station, don’t forget to share it with me. You can message me on Facebook or #abcdoes on Instagram.
The first time I did this was in Middlefield Nursery in Speke, Liverpool about 10 years ago. With a group of Nursery children it was always going to be messy to start with. But, once they got the hang of it, the mess factor was significantly decreased. Since then I have also improved some of the basic equipment making things a lot easier!
This is a Self Service Dough Area
The essential items are:
- A dry food dispenser – a basic one like this will cost you around £25
(You can usually find them on Ebay, Amazon and Betterware. Search for cereal dispenser as well as dry food dispenser. Catering suppliers also stock them. Small word of warning…the REALLY cheap ones don’t have a tight seal around the opening and when you turn the handle you get an avalanche!
IMPORTANT TIP YOU MIGHT FIND USEFUL: The food dispensers are made for chunky stuff like cereal. When you turn the handle some plastic ‘fins’ that look like paddles turn around and let what is in the dispenser drop out of the bottom
You can see the fins better in this photograph.
There is a gap in-between the fins and the case of the dispenser. When you fill the dispenser with small grain stuff like salt, it falls through the gaps and so when you turn the handle you get an avalanche!
I have found this easy to remedy by getting some strong tape (like Duct tape) and adding a piece to the top of each fin, folding it over and sticking it to the bottom. This extends the fin and makes it brush up against the dispenser.
If you haven’t got a food dispenser you can always just measure with cups from a container. This is equally as effective, but increases the potential for spillage!)
- A water container with a tap – this is a vintage copper urn that I was using to set up this charity shop and car boot water play space.
usually I just use a plastic camping jerry can like this.
It will cost you around £8.
- Colour and scent – I use salt and vinegar dispensers which you can get for as little as 25p each! For colour, you can use traditional food colouring but I tend to use liquid water colour as it gives you a far more vivid colour and it is washable!
- Containers – These can be any that you have got to hand. For the set up in the picture I was thinking about different textures in the setting. We had used a lot of wood, tin and brass so I thought enamel might be a nice touch.
- Utensils – You need things to mix with and roll with – the usual stuff!
What to do
- Fill one side of your dispenser with salt
- Fill one side of your dispenser with flour
- Fill your jerry can with cold water
The dough recipe that I use is a very basic 2 cups of flour, 1cup of salt and 1 cup of water. It is not an exact science! We are letting the children experience a process, so we want them to think about how to make their dough wetter or dryer depending on the consistency they end up with.
The children (not the adults) turn the handle on the flour twice and then the handle on the salt once. (One turn is about one cup (ish)).
They then fill their water container to a given mark.
Add their scent and colour
Then you can play with your dough!
Because it is a simple dough mix and doesn’t include anything like Cream of Tartar or Glycerine it doesn’t last for ages, but will keep for a couple of days in an airtight container.
Of course, there will be mess. But you can’t really teach ‘process’ without a bit of mess. To be honest, there is not much you do in Early Years without a bit of mess! Mess is where invention, creativity, thinking and exploring starts – so let’s embrace the mess!
Go on, have a go! You know you want to!