Making Magic in St Albans

Making Magic in St Albans

Over the last week or so, the Canterbury Playcentre Association has been delivering jars of baking ingredients to local centres. Contained in the jars is almost everything needed to create magic Playcentre bliss balls, a delicious and easily made raw snack. The idea is to inspire some delectable play and to promote The Greatest Game of Tag, which is part of upcoming Playcentre Awareness Week events. Leah from St Albans Playcentre filled me in on the magic that went down at their centre earlier in the week.

The jar of ingredients provided by Playcentre was all the prompting the parents and nine enthusiastic tamariki needed to get baking. The parents laid out all the necessary bowls, utensils and measuring spoons on the baking table before the children were invited to joined in. The kids at St Albans Playcentre “always enjoy baking sessions”, Leah noted, so they knew exactly how to respond to the play invitation. The children then hurriedly ran away with excitement to wash their hands and find their spots at the baking table eager to get mixing.

The children got to work mixing the dry ingredients from the jar with condensed milk. The ingredients - including cocoa powder, coconut, sultanas, mini marshmallows, condensed milk (or alternatively butter or honey) and Weet-Bix - provided an interesting range of sensations for their little fingers to experiment with. Leah commented that “the tamariki enjoyed the texture and feeling of the mixture in their hands, squishing it between their fingers and feeling the crunching of the Weet-Bix and the stickiness of the condensed milk.” With help, they then rolled the mixture into balls and set them out on a big plate ready to be shared later.

In the true spirit of Playcentre there was an abundance of mess made as the children explored and learnt. Leah comments, “there was a lot of mess (but) the tamariki enjoyed licking the sticky chocolate from their fingers.” Mess is always worth making when the outcome is something delicious to share.

The enthusiastic bakers and their support crew finally shared their creations during their end of session reflection. Even though a number of ingredients had been consumed during the making process, there were still plenty of bliss balls to go around. In fact, there were even seconds for those who wanted them.

Thank you to the Canterbury Playcentre Association for providing the inspiration, resources and a reminder of how easy and rewarding it can be to create and share kai on session. Perhaps next week we’ll dig up the potatoes in the garden to make chips, make some fresh fruit smoothies, or knead some dough to make fresh bread? Some of the St Albans members are planning to harvest one of their cabbages to make coleslaw or stir-fry. Yum.

Centres from around Canterbury have been sharing photos of their magic Playcentre bliss ball making sessions online. If you’re interested, check out the baking wizardry at

If you’re interested in visiting St Albans Playcentre please contact them at

Posted: Friday 17 February 2017