Post by Contributing Writer Kristen
Pretend play is such a fun and important part of the early years. It is tied to every aspect of a child’s development, helping them learn about the world around them as they develop emotionally, socially, cognitively and physically. Pretend play is also very helpful in preparing children for real-life events that they are or will be experiencing.
With my twins’ second birthdays less than a week away, I thought it would be a good time to prepare them for what to expect at their actual party. New experiences can be exciting, and also a little overwhelming for young children. So this activity is not only FUN, but helps them prepare for the real party ahead, and cut down on anxiety or apprehension they may have. They may even be joining in with their ‘Happy Birthday’ song by the end!
Another great thing about this activity, is that you can use items that you already have on hand (and there can be a lot of variations to what can be used). Please remember that this activity, as with any activity with small parts, needs to be well supervised for young children, especially those who are still prone to putting objects in their mouths.
What you will need:
-Playdough (either homemade or store-bought)
–Cupcake liners (we used silicon, but paper liners will also work)
-Small cookie cutters (we used heart shaped ones)
Let’s start playing!
After giving each child their cupcake liners and Play-doh, we got busy making our ‘cakes’. We talked about how squishy it felt, patting, pinching, and rolling; don’t hesitate to discuss what you or your child is doing while cake making. The more language you engage in with your littles, the more they learn and grow. :)
Next, I gave them a choice on which candles they wanted to put in their cupcake. This is also a great opportunity to discuss colors, textures, and practice counting (and sharing!).
They loved poking their candles into the Play-doh; Summer wanted to add a lot of candles to her cupcake.
I played right along beside them and after my cupcake was put together, I sang each child the ‘Happy Birthday’ song and we practiced blowing ‘out’ their candles.
They LOVED this part. We practiced blowing out our candles A LOT.:)
And then we made more cupcakes.
And we sang and blew ‘out’ our candles some more.
Now on party day, they will be pros at blowing out their candles and maybe even signing along, with the added bonus of eating cake at the end!
Happy, ‘Happy Birthday’ cupcake building!
Kristen Baird is a preschool teacher turned stay at home mom to four sweet and very busy children (9, 6 and 2 yr. old twins). Her family is her constant source of inspiration and need for coffee, as she endeavors to create a joyful, beauty-filled home. She documents snippets of her family’s life at teawithlondon.blogspot.com.