Enhancing child development across the EYFS with the Activity tray-table

How does one innovative, open-ended tool nurture so many key skills? Watch this video to find your creative starting point for endless possibilities. Adam demonstrates how the Activity tray-table, paired with play-dough, can engagingly address every aspect of the EYFS. And if play-dough isn’t your preference, envision the process with a myriad of other materials!

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Today, we’re going to explore the dough station that we’ve got here and the concept and the ideas behind that. And we’re going to do it using the Activity tray-table. And we’re ready for the children.

I’m just using everyday kitchen items to create an engaging and inviting, purposeful play opportunity for the children. As the children are following the recipe, they’ll be looking at the sequence which it follows, as well as looking at the ratios of the different ingredients that they’re putting in there and the impact and the changes that that has.

This introduces a range of mathematical concepts to the children. At the beginning of the activity you’ll see a lot of high quality interactions between the adults and the children. Next up, the children will be exploring the dough using their gross and fine motor skills.

The children really build that knowledge of key words and key vocabulary.

Now we’re moving on to the more creative side of the play where the children are free to explore their own ideas and follow their own narrative. As the children engage with the dough and they start to really, really play with that and really start to touch and feel, it’s not only the texture that they experience, it’s also the smell and the bright colour that the children decided to use as well.

In terms of sensory play, it’s like setting off a firework display in the children’s brains as they engage with the dough and they explore it with all five senses.

As the children are independently playing with the dough, you’ll see the conversations go between them in a high quality interactions that the children display amongst themselves.

This is how children are demonstrating their sense of self and building their understanding of the world around them. And they are playing that through the dough and through that narrative that they’ve created.

The open ended play that the dough station encourages and provides the children with the freedom and the opportunity to be as creative as possible with no limits.

The dough station is one of our children’s favourite parts of the continuous provision.

The children are involved in the whole process from the preparation to the making to the clean up. So it’s truly a teacher friendly experience.

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