This activity cost me 20p and kept my child entertained for over 2 hours. It was so simple and fun that I thought I would share about it!
I had seen an activity involving building towers our of toast somewhere, so I decided to pick up some cheap white bread the next time I was at the supermarket. I found a reduced loaf for 20p so I bought it and used it a few days later when we had a free morning (okay, most mornings are free during lockdown!).
Playing with bread offered:
– Simplicity (most people have bread at home or can buy it for cheap)
– Creativity (the ideas are endless for what you can do with it!)
– Sensory Play (Oscar loves sensory play and this included a lot of squishing, crumbling, crushing etc)
What you need to play
- A loaf of bread
- A Toaster or oven
- Up to you! (knives, cookie cutters, cocktail sticks, paint)
Toast The Bread (Or Not!)
At first I had intended to toast all of the bread, cut the toast into shapes such as squares, rectangles and triangles, and have Oscar build towers out of them. I had hoped to stick the toast together using golden syrup. I toasted about 2/3 of the loaf and decided to first use that, and I’m glad I did because our play then took different directions and plus my first plan did not work!
Let the experimenting commence…
I had hoped to spend the morning building cute toast buildings and towers with Oscar but this didn’t work. The golden syrup did nothing to stick the toast together. Another idea would have been to use cocktail sticks but 1) I didn’t have any and 2) it may have been a bit tricky for Oscar to put together himself. After my ‘glue’ idea failed, we moved onto other things.
Bring on the cookie cutters
I’m not sure about your child but my son LOVES cookie cutters. Lucky for him I have about 100 cutters in my growing collection… and when he sees them it’s like Christmas. He loves baking with me and loves his play doh cutters, I totally understand because I love them too.
I got out the cookie cutters and we began experimenting with them, I realised that most of the cutters I had did not work well with the toast at all! Maybe it was the shape or perhaps due to the amount of toastedness my toast was… but the cutters did not work well with the toast at all! Luckily, we then took out the slices of bread I hadn’t toasted yet (phew, I was glad I had saved a few!) and used the cookie cutters on those and we managed to get some shapes so he was pleased. It was fun to experiment and discuss why it worked with the bread and not with the toast. We talked about the texture change from bread to toast, using vocabulary such as: crispy, soft, flexible, crunchy, burnt, spongy, crumbly. I love any activity where we can talk a lot about what we are doing and I love hearing Oscar using new words or think of his own to describe what we are doing.
time for bread art with The humble knife
I took out the knife (Oscar loves knives, perhaps because his daddy is a butcher or because he likes to cut things up; probably both). I cut out random shapes (he helped cut some too with me watching over) and asked Oscar to make something with it. He is into drawing and making faces at the moment so he immediately put together some eyes, ears and nose with a body. I then helped a bit of the way by adding a mouth and other shapes which he used for arms and legs. He took one of the slices and ripped them up to make ‘fingers’. I held back from being anal about the shapes not having straight edges and ripped some more for fingers on the other hand of the man. He loved his creation and was so happy with it! Please excuse the below photo of him with no shorts on- there’s no time for bottoms when you’re busy playing :)!
Sand and Snow bread
As most toddlers do love creating a mess, I let him have some messy play next. I showed him how to make ‘sand’ from the toast by rubbing two pieces together. We laughed at the scratchy noises it made and he loved watching the ‘sand’ fall down. We practiced writing some letters and numbers in the ‘sand’. Next, to my surprise, Oscar got some bread and began ripping it up and then rubbing it in between his hands to make ‘snow’! I loved how he had seen my idea and used it to try out something with the leftover bread. He had so much fun ripping it up, and me not shouting at the mess he was making!
Hedgehogs, magic tricks and cleaning up
Occasionally I am pretty good at stretching out an activity to use up time and to let Oscar concentrate more on what was in front of him rather than going from toy to toy giving each one 30 seconds of attention each (which he does all too often). Also I find sitting him in his chair definitely helps with his concentration! We stuck small rectangles of toast into bread to make ‘hedgehogs’, and also cut holes in toast and poked other strips of toast in. We then discovered that if you folded a piece of toast it would slowly unfold itself into its original shape (before it breaks!) so we pretended to do magic shows with it. Then finally, we used the longer pieces of toast to scrape up all the little crumbs which was oddly satisfying. It was an easy clear up- I just scooped it all into the bin and hoovered the rest. If we weren’t in lockdown I would have saved some to feed some ducks!
So there we have it, I always knew that bread is life. Bread is the reason I became a baker in the first place (I used to not care about cakes at all *shock!*). But discovering the joys we can have with something as simple as bread/ toast was brilliant time spent with my little one (we have of course baked bread a few times before too which I will also have to document at some point!).
Some other ideas you could do with bread/ toast:
– Paint it (I’ve seen people do this with food colouring)
– Use as stamps (Cut out shapes and dip them into paint to create pictures)
– Make funny faces with it for breakfast and eat it!
I hope you can have fun with bread and toast with your little ones using some of these ideas as another little way to pass time during these hard lockdown days! Aren’t we all running out of activities?!