Sensory trays provide a great opportunity to develop fine motor skills, whilst playing imaginatively and learning about new things. Exploring this Chinese-themed tray is a fun way for children to be introduced to the sights, feels and smells commonly associated with Chinese New Year.
- Chef Wok Set or similar cooking utensils
- Chinese dipping bowls or small containers for scooping into
- Cooked noodles or spaghetti
- Gratnells activity tray or similar
One of the great things about sensory trays is their flexibility – there are loads of ways to adapt them depending on what you have available. In our tray, we replicated traditional noodles by using cooked spaghetti which we found to be firmer and easy to play with once drizzled with a little oil to prevent sticking. Another way to vary the experience would be to use cooked rice, or even a combination of cooked and uncooked.
Our tray offered a number of opportunities for play and learning,with chopsticks and a spatula (as well as hands!) being available for scooping and picking up the food. While young children may not be able to use the chopsticks in the traditional way, they can often create their own methods which can be equally successful. Exposure to foods and implements from other parts of the world is a great way to encourage discussion of different cultures and traditions, as well as encouraging imaginative play.
Early Literacy and Role Play
To add to the experience, you may want to introduce some basic Chinese letters as a way of building awareness of other languages and alphabets. Evidence of Chinese writing is easy to find; you could use empty Chinese food packaging, search online, or take a look at a simple menu. As well as providing an introduction to literacy, these additions can be great for aiding role play and imaginative play.
EYFS learning goals supported by this activity:
ELG01 Communication and language: speaking
ELG04 Physical development: moving and handing co ordination
ELG06 Personal, social and emotional development: Self confidence and self awareness
ELG13 Understanding the world: People and communities
ELG14 Understanding the world: The world
How will you be celebrating Chinese New Year this year?
For more fun activities visit our Chinese New Year page or visit us on Pinterest.