This activity is perfect for busy days that you want to do a fun holiday themed activity but you don’t have much time. I used Play-Doh instead of making my own but here is a great gingerbread playdough recipe if you want to make your own. Also if you have kids sensitive to gluten try our awesome gluten free playdough recipe ( it’s my favorite). It’s important for me to find ways of making one activity appropriate for both my kids and their vastly different developmental stages and I think we managed with this gingerbread people play.
- Gather your materials. I used play-dough ( hard to beat under a buck for a pack when you are short on time!), colored popscicle sticks from our sponsor craftprojectideas.com , and cookie cutters for my toddler. We added some buttons, pieces of yard and bakers twine , scissors, beads and googly eyes for my preschooler.
- For toddlers just have fun feeling, squishing, and introducing the cookie cutters. We talked about body parts and the color brown.
- She attacked it with popscicle sticks and we talked about red and green.
- And of course she just explored.
- With my son I had it prepped for him to play while I read to my daughter nearby. I had an example because he likes having a guide and doesn’t seem to feel the need to follow, he is still creative. If your child is one that feels the need ot replicate the guide exactly I would simply give them oral instructions. Every kid is so different always adjust for your child.
- He liked cutting them out more than decorating so we squished some of the already cut ones back together and cut a bunch.
- Decorated a few with eyes.
- He was rather proud of these baker twine candy canes too.
- Projects like these are great because you can re do it if it was a hit or use the items for other play if it wasn’t.
Done baby proofing? Have extra outlet covers ? Turn them into a lesson about emotions with these playdough faces! This activity wasn’t planned at all, I went to the art closet to look for something, saw this unopened box of plug protectors and inspiration struck! We have used Mr.Potato Head pieces for play-dough before but this lets you create your own. It’s a fun way to talk about feelings and conflict in a neutral setting. As you will see further down this activity opened up a few doors of discussion while we played.
- Gather your materials. You will need some flat outlet covers, permanent markers and play-dough. Yes I love the store bought kind.
- Draw eyes on the plug covers with permanent markers. I asked my son to name some emotions and made those. you could also glue on googly eyes.
- Make some fun mouths , can you tell that one is a tongue sticking out? I am no artist!
- Noses – I thought I should tell you what they are just in case you can’t tell .
- Time to play! Oooh wait I should say that I waited a few minutes to make sure the marker was dry.
- He immediately made a grab for the angry eyes .
- When I asked why the guy was angry he said “He’s not angry just serious , he’s a police officer on duty.” I thought that was awesome as some police can look angry but I want my son to always feel like police are not intimidating and this craft let us chat about that and reinforce that police are there to help.
- This is the police man’s wife with a kiss on her cheek . I asked why she has a kiss he told me that husbands kiss their wives when they say thank you for making dinner. I totally wanted to jump in here with a lesson about how at our house that is the case but how cooking isn’t just for wives, but decided the fact that he is at least absorbing that gratitude is shown for every day tasks is good enough for today.
What’s your favorite play dough activity at your house?
If you follow us on Twitter or Facebook you may have heard we are prepping to sell our house, this is possibly the least fun adventure I have ever had and I once ended up in Belgium by accident at 5am… long story. I have to keep the house spic and span while we are selling so get ready for some low on mess but high on fun activities like these play dough bugs . If you want to make your own play dough we have recipes even a gluten free play dough recipe!
- Gather your materials. You will need some play dough in a few colors, some large googley eyes, pipe cleaners, straws and other things you might have on hand like tooth pics, popscicle sticks, buttons… no rules ! Also to protect my table I use an old cutting board as the work space.
- Sometimes kids need a guide when they are given a buffet to create with , sometimes they don’t. So I sat down and made this bug as an example of what he could use the materials to make not what he should make , explaining that there was no wrong way to create.
- Start creating!
- Hard at work
- A trio of bugs!
Get outside and turn over rocks to find creepy crawly bugs. On our bug hunt we kept count to add some math to our outside learning.
A Few Favorite Books About Bugs
Ace Lacewing: Bug Detectiveby David Bierdrzycki is such a fun read, I started it thinking it would go over my son’s head but he sat listening the whole time. The mystery begins with a missing Queen bee and will have you guessing who is behind her disappearance as Ace tries to solve it. There was a lot of humor that was lost on my then 2 year old but the fun Dick Tracy like illustrations kept him happy while I snickered at the jokes he missed. Very fun read for kids that aren’t yet ready for a chapter book but outgrowing pictures ones.
Bob and Otto by Robert O. Bruel is a lovely story about 2 friends who must part ways , in this case because one is a caterpillar who needs to build a chrysalis and the other an earth worm who needs to dig deep into the ground. What I like about this book is that it goes on to explain that the earth worm’s digging is vital for the trees to grow so that the caterpillar can eat the leaves and turn into a butterfly. I like the lesson about how we all play a part!
The Very Quiet Cricket by Eric Carle is another favorite the story is all about a little cricket who is trying and trying to chirp like the others to talk to all the bugs talking to him but he can’t! Whenever I read it to children ( and it was a classroom favorite too) I would wiggle my shoulders like I was trying to rub my wings together just like the cricket. Kids latched on to that and I loved seeing them so engaged by the repetitive but never boring book. I thought seeing 12 little 3 year olds wiggling was precious but one little 3 year old is pretty cute doing it too! Of course there is a “surprise” at the end that toddlers and preschoolers alike will love.
We live so far south that we very rarely get to experience actual snow. When we do get snow, it’s often not enough to make a snow man. Even so, there are lots of holiday songs and stories about snowmen, so I thought I’d show my son how snowmen are made with a little play doh.
I used black and white play doh for this activity.
I went ahead and rolled all of the pieces in advance. My son has a lot of sensory issues, so he’s not a big fan of play doh. I still run him through the motion of rolling the big pieces, but if he had to do it all himself, we’d have a meltdown before we finished.
So, we took each white ball, rolled it once or twice in his palm, and then stacked them. He was extremely resistant to the play doh with his left hand, so we switched it up and used his right–much better!
We then took the smaller black balls and helped him use his pointer finger to press them into the snowman creating eyes, a nose, and some buttons. We’ve worked on using pointer finger before, so this is a good way to reinforce that skill. Overall, using one finger was much better than using his whole hand.
When you’re finished, you have a snowman guaranteed not to melt.
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Katy is a mom of one who loves art, mystery novels, and anything involving peanut butter–she blogs about raising her little miracle at Bird on the Street.
We love play-dough and if you have made homemade playdough before you probably know that there is flour in it, usually wheat flour which isn’t an issue for most kids but for children who suffer from celiac’s , gluten intolerance or wheat allergies it can turn playtime into not much fun. I searched the web for a recipe a few years back and couldn’t find a thing. Then when I saw Bisquick came out with a gluten free product I bought some to try with my Bisquick playdough recipe.
Here is how I adjusted it for the gluten free product.
1 cups gluten free Bisquick
1/2 cup salt
1 cup water
1/2 TBSP alum
1 TBSP oil
Knead. I let mine cool a while ( it gets HOT) and then my son helps knead.
Of course the sprinkles color ran and now we have brown dough but it’s still probably my favorite dough as far as texture goes! I will definitely be making this recipe again.