Being that I am a teacher, I have had a lot of requests to share simple, at home learning activities for your littlies. Which is why I have begun this ’30 days of playdough’ series. Playdough is such a versatile learning and sensory tool for a wide range of ages. It was one of my go-to’s in the classroom as its fab for a multitude of learning experiences / objectives, and is perfect for ‘tricking’ the children into thinking they are playing rather than doing ‘work’. Within this series I will include some independent play type activities as well as ‘guided learning experiences’ (basically, little activities that you help/guide your little one with).
I absolutely love using natural, chemical free materials within our home, especially when they can potentially go in mouths. Some commercially bought playdoughs are drenched in chemicals and synthetic materials so I was stoked to find Happy Hands, Happy Hearts – who create & make beautiful scented doughs in a lovely range of ‘flavours’ and colours. We have been road testing their range for a few months now and are super impressed! My favourite scent would have to be mandarin – theres nothing more vitalising then opening the Jar and being hit with the delicious citrus smell – not to mention the colour is so vibrant! A few other faves include lavender, cinnamon and blue bergamont – that blue is stunning shade!
To kick the series off I want to introduce you to a simple activity that is sure to impress the little ones, but also strengthen their hand and finger muscles at the same time. This activity is recommended for ages 3+, however I can also see a toddler doing it under guided supervision – ensuring they don’t put playdough in their mouth.
We ordered our personalised name stamps from Doh Stamps – where you can choose both the name and colour. This is a great little tool that introduces children to their name, without the pressure of remembering how to form letters, and which order to put them in.
Warm Up: I always try and allow Kruize to remove the dough from the jar / container – it can be a little tricky at times, but is perfect for warming up the finger joints whilst also working on fine motor skills.
Level 1: (Approx 2-3 years)
Practise rolling the dough out on a flat surface using a rolling pin. This is also great for hand/eye coordination, as well as fine motor skills and patience. A fairly basic starter activity is to allow your child to explore the playdough, rolling pin and stamp independently. If you want to be more hands on within the activity, as they are stamping their name, encourage them to say their name – start by modelling this yourself whilst they stamp, then move on to them saying it themselves.
Level 2: (Approx 3-4)
Moving on from the above activity you can provide more challenge with fine motor skills but presenting a bowl of small tactile objects such as little pebbles or nuts – these are great to place in the space where the name has been stamped out.
Level 3: (Approx 4-5)
Encourage your child to roll enough space for their name to be stamped at the top, with room below for them to ‘write’ their name underneath with a toothpick. This is a great little first step in introducing writing their own name – whilst they are able to rely on the stamped version for support.
I hope you enjoyed Day 1 of my 30 days of Playdough series, this is the perfect introductory activity – and with a little imagination it can easily be altered and extended to suit your childs needs.