Strawberry Play Dough Sensory Play

fine motor play dough activity strawberries Our house sits on what used to be a huge strawberry farm. Our soil is amazing, it’s really a pity I don’t have anything close to a green thumb. Still learning more about our neighborhood’s history was part of the spark that inspired this activity. Originally we were going to draw the strawberries but my daughter suggested making strawberry play dough. I grabbed the black rice and we were all set. What I love about creating with play dough isn’t just the hand strength it works on , or even the ability to squish “mistakes” and start over, it’s how I have yet to do a simple planned activity that didn’t end in a completely different but equally fun ( albeit messier) play.

Gather your materials. You will need some play dough ( ours is actual Play-Doh because the only homemade stuff we have right now is scented with mint and my daughter made it very clear that strawberries do NOT smell like candy canes… so we grabbed some of our pre-made stash). You will also want a cookie cutter, we didn’t have a strawberry so we used an acorn, as well as some black rice.strawberry playdough supplies

Place all the tools together and let your little creator create!Strawberry playdough play activity for kids

She started creating berries right away. Strawberry playdough for kids

I didn’t even have to tell her what the black rice was for. I loved watching her carefully add them on top. Great fine motor play!fine motor activity strawberry playdough for kids

After she made a handful of strawberries she created a coffee shop. I was lucky enough to get more than a few cups of yummy black rice coffee! This is exactly what I want to see her do with activities, use them as a launching pad to even MORE creativity! strawberry playdough and sensory exploration

Color Mixing with Play Clay – Hand Strength Activity

color mixing free choice activity Who doesn’t love concocting new things? My kids can’t be the only ones making potions with hand soap, mouthwash and shampoo behind locked bathroom doors!  I like to use that enthusiasm for a less wasteful activity like color mixing with play clay. You can lay it out and let them go for it, or make it a more structured activity and have specific pairs to be smushed together.  Kneading the dough is great for building hand strength and mixing two colors together takes a few minutes of good kneading. You can do this with playdough, plasticine, or use the Melissa & Doug modeling compound like we did. What I like about this compound that was sent to me to try out is that it’s super soft and feels great on little fingers.

Gather your materials. You will need a tray with lots of little compartments for different colors. I used an ice tray. You will also want something to protect your table like a tray and, of course, your play clay.

color mixing lesson

Start by putting just a teeny bit of a whole bunch of colors into the compartments. Call your color scientist to come make you some new colors!color mixing with play dough

She was into it from the get-go. Look at those little hands working hard building new muscles. color mixing with play doughHand strength is important for handwriting and other tasks like tying shoes, buttoning shirts and pants, and using utensils. So giving your children opportunities to work on it without making them feel like they are working on it is important.

color mixing vlogging

See that little mirror? That’s her pretend camera, she narrated the whole activity because as she told me ” She was vlogging!” can you tell she has grown up with a blogger for a mom?

colors mixed

After she mixed each pair she decided to mix all these colors together. Before she did I asked her to make a prediction about what color it would be. Then she was off to mixing the colors. Her prediction was gray and she was right!color mixing play clay

Books About Color Mixing

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white-rabbits-color-book-alan-baker

White Rabbit’s Color Book by Alan Baker is a classic in my mind and if you have never read it you must. It’s not a complicated story, instead it’s a brilliant book and lesson about color mixing. The cover illustration of the bunny in the paint always makes me think of dyeing Easter eggs which are another great opportunity to teach about color mixing. Kids love this book and adults reading it will enjoy the fun and dynamic language used to describe the vibrant colors that the bunny plunges into.

little-blue-and-little-yellow

Little Blue and Little Yellow by Leo Lionni is a profound book with underlying commentary about race relations while the surface story is about little blobs of color who when squished together turn into one green blob! You’ll be surprised by how easily your preschooler will pick up on the connection between the two. In my PreK class, I had more than a few kids make the connection all on their own.

mouse paint

Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh is a cute little story about mice that get into the paint and not only make a mess but discover what happens when you mix colors. Great for every day but even better when you are learning about colors specifically mixing colors.

Play Dough with Popsicle Stick Flowers

easy popsicle stick flowers I made these flowers for a fun addition to our play dough area at preschool. My four-year-old saw them sitting out before we went to school and had to play. Still in her PJs ( but that’s normal around here right?) she tested this activity out before I took it into my class. The way she played interested me because she turned each color for flower into a family and matched them all up, giving some names and even creating stories about them. I love seeing how sensory play boosts language and literacy!

play dough activity for kids

Gather your materials. My friends at craftprojectideas.com sent me these mini popsicle sticks and foam flower stickers you can use theirs like I did or make your own with adhesive foam sheets. You will also need some play dough.

 

You need two matching stickers for each flower. Peel the backing off one.easy diy toys for play dough

Press the stick into it.flowers for play dough

Peel the backing off the matching sticker and sandwich the two together.

Told you it was easy.

play dough play for kids

PLAY

matching up flowers

I love her little stories. flower playdough activityThe yellow family was off to the Nutcracker with an auntie  grandma, and a good buddy. By encouraging these stories, you are encouraging storytelling which is an important building block for strong literacy later on.

Play dough activity for spring

Books About Flowers

Click over to our books about flowers book list. Click here or the image.

books about flowers for kids

 

Easter Egg Play Dough Tray Activity

easter play dough Finding that fine line between setting something up that is exciting and interesting for your child ( or students ) and letting go of how they decide to use it can be hard. You envision this awesome idea but when you let go of it and they dive in they don’t always use it the way you intended. Maybe they spend a fraction of the amount of time you expect them to on it, maybe they turn it into a completely new idea, or maybe they ignore it completely. Don’t sweat it. Let them create their own experience and let go of your expectations. Observe and see what they are learning from how they have decided to play with the materials you have put on the tray. I imagined wonderfully patterned Easter eggs like ones she’d been drawing for days before I created this Easter egg play dough for her. Instead what she learned was that if you dip and roll the play dough in the collage materials , they stick. I think her lesson was a lot more exciting.

Gather your materials. I put out a egg mold, some play dough, gems, buttons, and beads.easter play dough

Start by making your eggs. I showed her how to make one then rolled it back into a ball so she could make it herself.  easter sensory

After that she added a few things. Not very enthusiastically.  easter egg sesory

She made a few more.easter egg fine motor

Then her face lit up as she dumped the decorations out and rolled her purple egg in it. easter egg discoveryNow it’s fun! She then took out the pieces she didn’t want, leaving only a few pink ones.

easter egg free choice activity

The white egg was next. When she didn’t do it at all I asked her why ” I am leaving it for you.” So I made it the way I wanted to now that it was my turn and she praised me after noticing my patterns . She still got the lesson about patterns I was angling for and one about me trusting her choices. When we follow their leads not only do they have more fun but they learn we trust their choices and value their ideas. There will be times when we chose to push ahead with our plan for the activity but when you don’t have to be inflexible I encourage you to throw the plan and sit back and watch.

Chocolate Gluten Free Play Dough

gluten free chocolate play dough recipe

Cooking together is one of my daughter’s absolute favorite activities and the only thing that makes it better is to cook play dough we can play with after! This chocolate gluten free play dough recipe was a bit of an experiment because our tried and true Bisquick play dough recipe needs a microwave and we don’t have one. So we changed it a little and the end result was a yummy smelling , soft , and gluten free.  While we don’t have any issues with wheat or gluten many kids do so we wanted to create a fun and easy recipe for everyone.  After making the dough play with it – have some fun chocolate themed tools and materials ready to play.

gluten free playdough recipe

Gather your materials. You will need Gluten Free Bisquick, cooking oil, salt, unsweetened cocoa powder, and water. You will also need a cooking pot, spoon, and all your accessories for playing like some mini cupcake liners, sprinkles, a mini rolling pin, cookie cutters, and empty chocolate boxes.

Recipe :

1 1/2 cups of Gluten Free Bisquick
1/2 cup of salt
1 cup of water
2 tablespoons of cocoa powder
2 tablespoons of oil

gluten free playdough recipe for kids

Start by reading the recipe and measuring out the ingredients with your child. I can’t do this AND take her photo so we measured them out together and then she patiently waited for me to scurry around the island and grab my camera.

homemade gluten free playdough

Add the Bisquick, salt, and water together in the pot and let your child mix it until it’s thick. Add in the oil and cocoa powder.stiring play dough gluten free play dough

Pop it in the stove on medium low and mix. It’s ready to come off the stove when it forms into a ball.chocolate gluten free playdough

Time to knead it. We added a little more Bisquick and oil as we kneaded it. It smelled SO good!kneading play dough choclate factory

Then it was time time to play. chocolate gluten free play dough candy factoryShe made me some cookies, chocolates for Valentine’s Day, and more with the play dough SHE made. chocolate gluten free playdough recipe