To start with most of the children pushed each item in to a ball of dough. It always seems to be the first thing they do. Push everything in and see what stands up and what falls over. Once an item is removed, the children suddenly notice the marks and holes that the item has left.
This is where I see much deeper thinking taking place and the really learning through play starts! Selecting items one at a time and pushing them in to the dough and then checking the mark it leaves after it has been removed. Some items are rolled over the dough. Pinecones are good for this and leave cool patterns depending on the type of cone and how open or closed it is.
Acorn cups work well too. Some marks leave recognisable shapes behind. Little “B” noticed that the acorn cups made circles in her dough. She brought it over to me and had great delight in showing me how she could make perfect circles! Reinforcing her knowledge of shapes.
Little “A” spent a long time rolling a pinecone over her dough. She had watched another child do this and noticed the pattern they had made. She tried for herself but you could see the disappointment as she lifted her cone and there were no marks to see. She tried over and over but no marks were made. As she became frustrated by this she pressed a little harder and suddenly she got the results she was looking for. Shouting for the rest of us to look!
She then tried out the acorn to. Little “A” hasn’t yet told me the names of any shapes so I talked about what I could see her doing and included language around shapes and size.
” Wow! You made circles on your dough. Look at all those little circles”.