Play dough is a wonderful supply to use in an early learning environment. Not only can it be easily and cheaply created from cooking supplies, it can be used by children of all ages to stimulate their learning and motor development.
The recipe for salt play dough
- 1 cup salt
- 1 cup water (add any food colouring to the water before mixing)
- 2 cups plain flour
Mix together and play!
Ideas for activities
Split into teams and get the children to knead food essence of different types into portions of the dough mix. You can try vanilla, mint, eucalyptus, citrus and lavender for some distinctly different smells. Get the children to pass the different doughs to the other group and ask them to name some foods with the same type of smell (for example vanilla smells like cupcakes, some toys and ice-cream where mint might smell like toothpaste or cleaning products). This activity gets the children to practise vocabulary and fine motor skills.
Let the children select a colour of glitter to knead through their dough. Now you have magic fairy play dough which is an ideal material building fairy wonderlands or castles. This activity gets the children to use fine motor skills as well as using some creative play. Glittery play dough can also be pressed against small bowls and baked in oven for 3-4 hours at 150oC to create trinket bowls that the kids can take home.
If you have some competitive children in your class, try having a competition to see who can roll the long "worm". While this is a deceptively simple task it requires a significant fine motor control especially as the worm gets longer, to stop the thinner joining sections from breaking. Once you have rolled your worms you can join them all together, and wrap them into a giant colourful spiral.
DIY Christmas ornaments
Pull out the cookie cutters for this activity! Roll out you dough and get the kids to stamp out shapes from the dough, and poke a hole 2 comes from the top with a bamboo skewed. As above, cook the ornament at a low temperature for 3-4 hours until fully dry. You can them get the kids to paint the ornaments and paste a small photo of themselves on top, then varnish them to take home for the Christmas tree. This is a great activity for kids of all ages and can be used to develop fine motor skills.
For more information on early learning activities for kids, contact Keep Learning Education.