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  • Ashburton Baptist Preschool

Holiday activity ideas

Needing some more fantastic ideas to get your through the school holidays or just to have as a backup plan for those rainy days inside? Look no further each room has given some awesome activity ideas for you to try. We love doing things like this at Preschool and know you will enjoy it at home too! Tuhura have given the first activity as they currently have had a lot of children interested in making volcanoes in the sandpit at Preschool.

Baking Soda Volcanoes

We just love making sandpit volcanoes at preschool. The fizz, the bubbles, the eruption and excitement of watching a chemical reaction in front of your eyes is nothing short of exhilarating. All you need is a few simple ingredients to get the fun started!


  • Sand/dirt/playdough/lemon

  • baking soda

  • vinegar

  • food colouring (optional)

You can also try adding dish soap for an even foamier fizzing eruption. Just a few drops are all that is needed.


STEP 1. Construct a volcano shape mountain in some sand/dirt, play dough or even using the inside of a lemon!

STEP 2. Scoop some baking soda into the top of the volcano mountain.

STEP 3. Pour some vinegar on top of the baking soda (colour the vinegar first with food colouring if you like).

Quick, get out of the way and watch the huge eruption!


A chemical reaction between vinegar and baking soda creates a gas called carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is the same type of gas used to make the carbonation in sodas. What happens if you shake up a soda? The gas gets very excited and tries to spread out. There is not enough room in the bottle for the gas to spread out so it leaves through the opening very quickly, causing an eruption!

Jam drop biscuits

These yummy gooey jam biscuits are a sure favourite and super easy to make! If the weather is not so great outside you can spend the time inside warming up over super delicious biscuits. Baking is a great way to learn mathematical concepts as you measure out the ingredient. The development of a child's fine motor skill is best done through repeating natural actions that come about through everyday activities. Baking offers many opportunities for children to work on their fine motor skills. Pouring liquids requires careful hand and eye coordination and kneading dough strengthens muscles in their hands. They get to expand their language development as they read the ingredient list or method with you, learning new words and making those connections of what the ingredients are called and look like. So much learning comes from a baking experience, not only does it taste delicious it gives children a sense of achievement as they enjoy eating what they have made themselves or helped make with you.


  • 175 g Unsalted Butter (softened)

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • 1/4 cup Icing sugar (sifted)

  • 1 cup plain flour (sifted)

  • 1/4 cup cornflour

  • 1/4 cup raspberry jam


With Mum or Dad’s help, preheat the oven to 180°C and line two baking trays with baking paper.

Beat the butter, vanilla and icing sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer on medium until pale and fluffy. Add the flour and cornflour, and mix for 30 seconds or until a dough forms. The mixture should be like play dough!

Lightly dust your hands with some extra flour, and then roll tablespoons of the mixture into balls. Place each onto the trays about 2cm apart and use your fingers to flatten slightly. Create a big thumbprint in the centre of the dough to create an indent, and then fill each with a small blob of jam (1⁄2 teaspoon).

Ask Mum or Dad to transfer the biscuits into the oven for 10 minutes or until they turn light golden on the edges and the jam is bubbling.

Once baked, allow the biscuits to cool on the baking trays for five minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.


  • If you don't have raspberry jam in the fridge, never fear. You can mix up the recipe with any type of jam, Nutella spread or a chocolate button!

  • Sifting the sugar and flour in this recipe helps to give the biscuits their smooth, crumbly texture.

Another great biscuit recipe is the Chocolate Star ones which are just as easy to make as the jam drop biscuits but instead of rolling ball shapes you can use cookie cutters to create different shapes. Stars, dinosaurs, Christmas tree, letters, numbers you can get so many different cookie cutters from stores in Ashburton such as the supermarket, Kitchen capers, The Warehouse, Goods 2U, Kmart or if you’re creative you can google how to make cookie cutters out of Aluminium Foil - here is one of the tutorials available on line through youtube.

Chocolate star biscuits


  • 180g butter, softened

  • 1 1/4 cups caster sugar

  • 1 egg

  • 1 1/2 cups plain flour

  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder

  • 1/2 tsp baking powder

  • 100g Baking White Chocolate Block/chips, melted


Ask mum or dad to preheat the oven to 180°C or 160°C fan forced. Then you need to line 3 large trays with baking paper. Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then add egg and beat well.

Sift together the flour, cocoa and baking powder, then add to the butter mixture. Mix to form a soft dough. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface until 5mm thick. Using a 7cm star cutter, cut stars from dough.

Re-roll any scraps of pastry and cut out more stars. Place on prepared trays, allowing room for spreading. Chill for 10 mins. The with mum or dad’s help bake them in the oven for 10–12 minutes, until firm. When they are ready to come out ask mum or dad to get them and cool on trays for 5 mins, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Choose any shaped cutter that you like – try bells, Christmas trees or circles. You can sandwich stars together with melted chocolate, or dip half a star into melted milk or dark chocolate. Lining the trays with baking paper will ensure that the biscuits don’t stick to the tray. Chilling the dough helps keep the star shape. You can also drizzle with melted chocolate for an extra jazzed up biscuit.


  • If you are planning on cutting stars, chill the dough before you cut the biscuits – this helps keep the star shape neat.

  • 10-12 minutes baking time per tray is a guide only – depending on the size of the cutter you choose, your biscuits will take more or less time to cook. So keep your eyes on them!

On to our next activity provided by Te Ruma Ako who just love sensory play.

SALT SALT SALT the amazing works of SALT!

Did you know you can have so much fun with salt? Our Te Ruma Ako children get to experience coloured salt activities and the children just LOVE it! They are always presented in different colours and with different items in the containers to play and explore with.

The salt activity is a sensory play that encourages creativity. You will find bags of salt at your local supermarket and to colour it you just need a little bit of non toxic paint, simply mix them together and place it in a container. You can add diggers and trucks, ponies, spoons and little plastic bottles or even hide objects under the salt and the children have to go hunting for them. If the salt is in a longer square tray you can even use dry paint brushes to write letters or numbers in the salt.

Hmmm don’t have salt but you have just been to the beach? Bring a bucket of sand home and it does the same thing as salt! Children here at Preschool spend a lot of time just exploring the mixture, having fun using their imagination. Here are some photos of the different colours and materials we have used here at Preschool.

We hope you have fun with these awesome ideas and enjoy the holiday period making memories with your family and friends. We look forward to seeing you all back a Preshool for 2023!!

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