This sensory activity allows kids to use their imagination to give you or themselves a new hairdo with playdough. My toddler is a huge fan of playdough play and its great stuff for toddlers and preschoolers. But my 5-year-old will get bored with playdough sometimes. It’s not essential we all play the same things, but it’s nice to play and be silly together. This playdough activity is inspired by a paint project from Putti Prapancha. Adapting it to playdough allowed us all to sit and play together.
- Gather your materials. You need some sheet protectors, some photos of faces that you can cut, play dough (ours is store bought but homemade will work a-ok), a few sheets of construction paper, some scissors, painters tape, double stick tape and a garlic press.
- Start by cutting out the faces from some family pictures. Cut off the hair!
- Tape them onto the construction paper using double stick tape.
- Slip it into a page protector. I had to trim my construction paper to fit. Tape to the table with painter’s tape if you have a little one like my daughter who takes great pleasure in “clearing off” tables.
- Start playing. We used the garlic press, our hands, and scissors to make the hair.
- My daughter loved putting it on my face, apparently, she wants me to have a goatee. Don’t worry about toddlers putting the hair in the “right” place, there is no “right” place. We talk about who they are looking at and about how squishy the playdough is and ask if they have hair etc. No need to make it a battle of wills, since this is play time. Let them explore.
- We rotated through the pictures taking turns (another good lesson). He loved mixing the colors in the garlic press.
- Squeezing it out.
- Adding it on. For some reason, the concept of chest hair has been a big topic at our house – not something I was expecting until closer to puberty but ok. He added some on his sister and himself. Have fun with this.
Books to Read As You Play with Playdough Play Mats
Something From Nothing by Phoebe Gilman is one of those books that you read and think oh I love it, but will kids? I am here to tell you yes! They love this old Yiddish folktale about a little boy, his very special blanket, and his grandfather who made it for him. Over the years Joseph’s blanket transforms into a jacket, a vest, a tie, and handkerchief, and finally a button. The story is beautiful and kids love not only the repetitive text when the grandfather is sewing but also the continuing storyline of the mice that live under the floorboards who use the scraps of material for all sorts of things. There are no goofy gimmicks, no lights or sounds just a great story and beautiful illustrations in this gem! A fantastic book about family and growing up.
All Kinds of Families! by Mary Ann Hoberman was not what my son or I expected at all. The story is really disjointed in both connecting similar objects into families and talking about the generations of a family. This book explains that there are all sorts of families. It explains how a family dynamic makes you into a different family member for other members. Such as a son, sister, or a cousin. But mixing the two is too disconnected for the average picture book reading kid. It was a little disjointed for me too. My son was ready for it to be over halfway through and that is never a good sign. Usually by the time he’s asked if it’s over he’s tuned out. The illustrations were cute but even they didn’t save it for us.
The Family Book by Todd Parr is a book that doesn’t give readers a narrow definition of family, it doesn’t say that your family has to look a certain way, or be the same as your neighbors. As a teacher, I really appreciated the matter-of-fact way it embraced diversity. Kids see that families are not all like theirs. It’s relevant to recognize that even though families don’t all look alike, they are made with love. Great book, cute illustrations, and children love it.
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