Smash, Crush, Pound, Transform!

"There are no seven wonders of the world in the eyes of a child. There are seven million" ~ 

With arrival of our beautiful new Mortar and Pestle sets I thought I would do a wee write up on why this seemingly simple piece is such an amazing tool for play!


Children love the action of pounding and mashing - changing the state of a material is a natural childhood schema called 'transforming'. The repetitive actions of schematic play allow children to construct meaning in what they are doing.

Some examples of this include changes from empty to full, solid to liquid, small to big, wet to dry. Children want to know - what makes these things happen? Why do they happen? Is the change permanent and what affect or control can I have?

We have selected a teak mortar and pestle for our store, as wooden sets can stand much stronger wear and tear than marble or ceramic ones and are not too heavy for little hands to manage. We have also opted for a larger size - if they are too small the ingredients fall out too easily! 


Our large wooden mortar and pestle set is perfect for the play kitchen, messy play and more! You can also use it in and around the home to include your children in every day tasks such as cooking.

✦ Create magical potions and messy concoctions outdoors with nature finds from your own back garden! Forage for natural treasures and objects that can be ground and crushed - flowers, seeds, pinecones, leaves
✦ Grind nuts to add to ice cream or desserts
✦ If you have home composting - dry and then pound up your old egg shells
✦ Use up broken pieces of chalk - add water and combine to make a sidewalk paint
✦ Dried spices - try buying whole seeds instead of ground, and have your little ones grind them up to store
✦ Use crushed flowers and other materials for art projects
✦ Dry lavender from the garden and grind up to mix into play dough for an added sensory experience   
✦ For a simple cooking experience, make some home made pesto - grind up fresh basil, garlic and pine nuts and mix with some oil
✦ Crush a range of herbs and spices for a sensory tray


A large slab of rock or wood paired with a smaller rounded stone make a fabulous DIY mortar and pestle option outdoors! 

There is so much scope for learning through play - what other transformation activities can you think of? 

If you try any, tag us on our social channels - we'd LOVE to see what creative ideas you come up with! #fairplaynz 

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