Ruth Mitchener and Rachel Sumner

Recipes for Play: Creative Activities for Small Hands and Big Imaginations

Sisters Rachel Sumner and Ruth Mitchener have created Recipes for Play for parents who want to encourage tactile learning through sensory play experiences, but don’t want their lives overcome by chaos. Recipes for Play contains easy and inexpensive ideas for engaging children’s senses with natural ingredients found in a kitchen cupboard or garden. Facepaint, oozy slime, rainbow rice, and pavement paint are just some of the tools for active play that parents can make to provide hours of entertainment for their children. Each recipe has easy-to-follow instructions for set-up and simple steps for clean-up once the fun is done..

Rights available: World, excluding English in North America (Experiment); English in ANZ (Penguin, 2013); English in UK, EU, and Commonwealth ex ANZ, Canada (Vermilion/Ebury), Portuguese-language in Portugal (Presença).

Category: Parenting    Length: 128 pp

Praise for Recipes for Play: Creative Activities for Small Hands and Big Imaginations:

“Embrace a more chaotic home where children are full of wonder and excited by play . . . Aimed at parents of preschoolers, Recipes for Play strongly emphasizes sensory play, laying out 40 different activities . . . and the authors even include information on creating natural dyes so that kids can finally create truly edible play dough. Bright, full-color photographs bring this title to life.”

– School Library Journal

“This book is filled with wonderful, inexpensive playtime activities for children age two and up that will engage all five senses, and spark imagination.”

– San Diego Family

“Fantastic playtime activities provide hours of entertainment with very little fuss.”

– Parade

“This book is filled with really great indoor and outdoor activities that will keep the littles busy all summer long. If you want messy or clean, loud or quiet, portable or not . . . there is something for every need.”

– MariReads

“A great book for parents who are trying to keep their children stimulated with fun activities.”

– The Baby Spot blog

“A great resource for any parent of a young child.”

– Dunedin Family Times

“A completely brilliant book.”

– Kim Hill, Radio New Zealand

“A book that every parent of small children would be wise to pick up.”

– Simon Sweetman, Blogger, Off the Tracks


Ruth Mitchener is a first-class honours graduate of Industrial Design at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. Her final year project won numerous awards including Silver at the Best awards 2012, and national finalist in the James Dyson Awards 2012. Ruth is passionate about creating clean, beautiful and intriguing imagery that not only accurately reflects the written word but translates those words into memorable and intriguing images. She lives in Auckland, with her husband, and works as an interaction designer.

Rachel Sumner is a prolific blogger and book addict. Prior to becoming a mother, Rachel was the children’s books sales representative for an independent bookseller, working with schools and libraries. She has reviewed children’s books for various newspapers and magazines in New Zealand, including The Marlborough Express and The Australian Women’s Weekly. She lives in Auckland with her two wonderful daughters and a ginger cat called Ginger.

Rachel provided the recipes and Ruth provided the photographs for Recipes for Play, their first book.

Follow Recipes for Play on Facebook

Follow Ruth on Twitter at @ruthmitchener

Back to author index

Ruth Mitchener and Rachel Sumner
Recipes for Play