With the warmer weather in full swing, we have been busy enjoying plenty of outside play. One of my preschooler’s favorite ways to play outdoors is to set up a sensory play kitchen. Her current combination of materials is simple but has led to hours of open-ended play. She loves using the Snap-n-Learn Fruit Shapers for all sorts of imaginative play. She particularly loves to scrub them clean in the sink and then use them to make flavored tea!

What you need:

  • Learning Resources® Snap-n-Learn Fruit Shapers
  • Play sink (this particular one is from Amazon) or just use containers and water.
  • Water
  • Plastic plates, cutlery, and cups
  • Sponges and scrubbers
  • A table (our kitchen is set up in the IKEA FLISAT Children’s Table) or find a shady spot on the grass outside

Let’s Get Set Up

We placed the play sink on the table for this set-up, with the basin full of water. In the two other table bins, we had the Snap-n-Learn fruit and also the sponges and scrubbers. I wanted to keep the invitation to play very open-ended, so I simply left the materials outside ready for my four-year-old to explore on a warm sunny day.

Fruit Scrubbing

My daughter was OBSESSED with scrubbing all of the fruits clean under the running water! She would carefully clean all of the surfaces and then dry them ready for use in the kitchen. This was great for her sensory exploration, as well as her fine motor skills. As she scrubbed the fruits, I asked her to name them and comment on their colors and shapes.

Tea Anyone?

Her absolute favorite way to explore this set-up was to fill the cups with water and take orders for cups of tea. She would let me choose the flavors I wanted before carefully squeezing in drops of the fruit ‘tea’ into the cup. She was constantly creating new flavors of tea!

There are so many fantastic learning opportunities to come from role play like this. The constant conversation encourages young children to develop their vocabulary and their confidence as well. If you enjoyed these materials with older children, you could even add a pad and pencil to encourage them to write down the tea orders. Or why not add the Learning Resources Pretend & Play® Calculator Cash Register to add in some numeracy work as well.

Washing Up

The play sink lends itself so well to having lots of fun washing up all of those teacups after we had finished drinking the refreshments. She enjoyed pretending to make bubbly water, scrubbing the cutlery, cups, and plates clean, and then leaving them on the rack to dry. Of course, all of the fruit also needed one more scrub as well!

Do you have a fun way to enjoy role play outside in the summer? There’s something so fun about taking toys you normally enjoy using inside, outside to new locations and using them for new play adventures.