Over the course of the next week I will be posting some ideas for things that you can do to extend the play in you texture/mud kitchen. Today I just wanted to give you a quick overview of the set up and some of the items and enhancements that we used.
On Monday I will be posting about setting up the Transient Art Station
On Tuesday, the Clay Station
On Wednesday, making Berry Paint and Potions
On Thursday, making Mud Paint and Mud Pies
and on Friday I will be doing a GIVEAWAY from Cool Canvas of these gorgeous wooden lockers. To be honest, wouldn’t mind them in my house!
So, worth checking back for on Friday for all of the giveaway details…
When you are setting up your texture kitchen then one of the first things that you need to provide for the children is some ‘texture’ for them to work with. This can be mud, sand, bark, gravel, leaf mulch…anything you can find that is a)safe and b)has some texture.
Next you need some containers and tools for the children to work with. The more diverse the containers you provide the more diverse the children’s play is likely to be.
If you just provide pots, pans and muffin cases then you will get kitchen play. The more ambiguous and open ended your resources then the more more ambiguous and open ended the play possibilities are.
The school that I was working with already had invested in some really nice resources from TTS to go into their Cool Canvas Texture Kitchen (for examples of Cool Canvas work see here).
One thing that is pretty essential in a texture kitchen is access to water. If you haven’t got an outside tap you can always use a water butt. If you do, be sure that you clean it out regularly and always empty it completely at the end of the day.
The children in this setting do have access to a tap, but it is not next to their texture kitchen. I provided the children with lots of enamel jugs and watering cans for transporting water, but also a plastic Jerry Can (around £10 from Amazon) and my trusty old brass samovar from Ebay!
As well as the larger containers for carrying water I also managed to find some smaller metal ones. I like the fact that this one has got a straight side handle because it requires greater dexterity for pouring.
The more plants that we can provide for children to use in their play and experimentation the better. Not only do they add great interest in terms of colour and texture, they are also great for skills like pattern making and fine motor dexterity development.
Obviously, you have to be clear about what the children are and are not allowed to pick and all of the health and safety discussion that goes alongside picking anything (including your nose)!
At the Friars Primary, they have an old piano in their outdoor area that was just asking to be stuffed with plants and herbs!
As it is Autumn, we also enhanced it with some seasonal vegetables for interest and colour.
The herb piano was a big hit and certainly served it’s purpose. But, if you haven’t got a random old piano lying around that you are able to stuff with herbs…then you can still give children the chance to grow and pick their own. You can create herb gardens using wooden crates or plastic containers, you can also grow your herbs in pots.
In this section of the texture kitchen I just hung some bundles of herbs from strings and the children could help themselves. For some children the experience will be just about picking the herbs and they may well strip the bunch. If that is part of their exploration and development then that is okay. Don’t start going down the road of 3 leaves each! Once they are gone…they are gone. Some children are just as happy with a bunch of grass!
See you on Monday for a bit of Transient Art inspiration!