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The Open School of Creative Arts

The Open School of Creative Arts
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Beach Themed Invitation to Play

You may have seen our sand playdough? If you haven't its a lovely natural textured playdough, go check it out. The week that we made the sand playdough we used it in some invitations to play. This is a simple invitation to play freely with various natural and beach/sea themed props.

 We included a bowl of salt water (omit the salt if you think your little ones will try to drink it!), a bowl of sand, the sand playdough, big shells, a basket of shells, and 4 small pots of tiny shells, a sorting tray, some wooden sea shapes, some starfish bath mats and a basket of sea creatures.
Poppy was mixing the sand and water before I even got a chance to take photos!
We have this basket of shells available to play with all the time too, and we add to it regularly from our beach explorations. 

 These are the tiny shells after Jake sorted them into 4 different pots.

Sea animals, wooden sea shapes, and pebbles. This is one of the playtrays in our playroom at the moment, and the kids love picking through it and talking about and playing with the animals. 

 Jake really enjoyed sorting the objects, and sticking things into the playdough to make little play scenes, which sparked some lovely pretend play.

 We're lucky to live by the beach and its nice to bring elements of it home to play with. This is a great way to play with and learn about the beach, coastal wildlife, and natural sensory materials.

I really enjoy activities that involve both Poppy (18 months) and Jake (3.5 years). Its lovely for them to be able to play alongside each other, or together, using and experimenting with the materials in their own way. Jake can sort the materials, engage in pretend play, create and print patterns and pictures and make things with the playdough. Poppy can mix up the materials, explore the loose parts, scoop and pour, manipulate the dough and enjoy the animal figures.

We're really into playing with loose parts at the moment too, so look out for more posts on this type of play soon. Stay updated with all our latest here:


  1. A great invitation to play idea, I need to try more of these ideas with my boy, 2, but not sure if he's a bit young yet? :) x

    1. No i dont think so at all. The whole thing about invitations to play is that they are open ended and can be played with however the child wants to. Have fun experimenting with different materials and see what your son makes of them :)

  2. What a wonderful idea! Love the pics!

    Hi! Stopping by from Mom Bloggers Club. Great blog!
    Have a nice day!

  3. I love your set-up :) I was thinking of collecting shells while at the beach yesterday but it was a shell-less beach! I think this would suit our Montessori learning time.


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