Smash, Crush, Pound, Transform!

Posted by Mandy Abel on

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

With the 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 wooden mortar and pestles for our store, as they can stand much stronger wear and tear than marble or ceramic ones, can be used on any surface and are not too heavy for little hands to manage. However, we also love getting the real deal out of the kitchen from time to time too! 


Our wooden mortar and pestle sets are perfect for the play kitchen, messy play and more! They even have fine motor benefits - using a mortar and pestle requires some hand-eye coordination and manual dexterity and are great for little fingers and hands to practice those fine motor skills.

You can also use them practically in and around the home to include your children in every day tasks, such as cooking and baking.

✦ 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 your choice of oil
✦ Crush a range of herbs and spices for a sensory tray

Getting messy in the backyard concocting perfumes and potions with foraged treasures is a great creative play activity, best of all - it's free and causes no harm to the environment. 

MAKE YOUR OWN: A large slab of rock or wood paired with a smaller rounded stone make a fabulous DIY mortar and pestle option outdoors.

A mortar and pestle can be a valuable and enjoyable tool for play, as it engages children's senses, helps develop fine motor skills and encourages imaginative thinking. They are versatile and engaging resources for both play and practical use, that help children learn and explore in a hands-on way.

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