Play Dough Bug Sculptures

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!

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Start creating!
  4. Hard at work
  5. A trio of bugs!

Bug Hunt

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

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.

Southern Snowman

by Katy

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.

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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.

Gluten Free Playdough Recipe

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

Pour everything  into a microwave  safe bowl and microwave for 3 mins stop and scrape and stir. Add another 1/2 – 1 tbsp of oil.

Knead. I let mine cool a while ( it gets HOT) and then my son helps knead.

I love how this playdough turned out so white! We opted to grab some cupcake liners, cookie cutters and add sprinkles (check to see if they are gluten free ) to play pretend Halloween bakery . 

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.

Play-Dough Activities

Play-Dough is such a versatile material. It can teach anything from shapes ( using different cookie cutters), fine motor skills ( great place to introduce scissors), pretend play , measurement while making play-dough and more.  Here are some of our favorite play-dough activities we’ve done over the years.

Scented Play-Dough ( pictured above)

Button Search in Play-Dough

Play-Dough Cupcakes

Play-Dough Earths

Play-Dough Cutting

Play-Dough Sculpture

Need an easy well tested recipe for homemade play-dough?

Play-Dough Recipes

Flag Day and More !

Guest Post by Shannon
Today’s post is the first of many guest posts by talented bloggers, teachers and moms who have graciously offered their expertise while I prepare for the birth of my daughter . I will still be posting and commenting, returning emails ( as quickly as I can) and be around to answer questions but want to make sure that all of you still have fresh new activities to enjoy!  This post is from Shannon a former preschool teacher , curriculum writer and mom .
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We did some fun Flag activities last week since today is Flag day and 4th of July is coming up also. We had fun with the sensory activities and LOVED making painters tape flags. Plus by doing our flag activities earlier then we usually do they get to stay up longer for all to enjoy!

Red, Blue and White play dough: we used our favorite play dough recipe. We also added glitter to the white after they played with it the first time. The recipe is super simple: 1 cup water, 1 cup salt, 1 cup flour, 2 TBSP oil and coloring( for this i used sugar free jello! smells so yummy! but you can use food paste or coloring, kool aid or paint.) stir all the ingredients till smooth,cook on med heat till it pulls away from the

pan, cool for a bit, knead still smooth and play!

Red, White and Blue colored rice bin I added 4th of July confetti to it: To color the rice I divided a bag of rice equally into baggies, added red food coloring to 1, blue to 1 and let the other white (to that one i added the 4th of July sequins). Zipped up the baggies and let my 2 girls shake and knead the coloring into the rice. After they were all colored I laid them out onto wax paper to dry. added to our Rubbermaid container and both girls have had a blast playing with it ever since.

Painters Tape Flag:
Need:
white construction paper
painters tape
red paint
paint brush
blue construction paper square
4th if July confetti or star stickers
To Make:
Place painters tape strips on the construction paper.
Squirt Red paint down the center and let child paint the paper red, let dry before removing painters tape.
While the paint is drying let child glue or stick stars on their blue square.
After you remove the painters tape let them glue the blue square with stars on and let everything dry.
I hope you enjoyed some of the highlights from our flag week. If you would like the whole curriculum to do with your kids just go to my blogger profile page and click the email me link. It is filled with super fun, super easy activities using most supplies you already have around the house.
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Shannon blogs at  Welcome To Our Wonderland where she  share’s  books and sometimes activities to go with the children’s books. She taught prek for 11 years and become a stay at home mom 10 years ago when her oldest was born.