Why we love play dough activities
Play dough activities are not only fin, engaging and beneficial to the fine motor skills of your little learners but they provide a myriad of other opportunities for you as a teacher of little learners.
Despite the obvious benefits, we love them the opportunities play dough provides to develop:
routine - once you implement some basic structure around your 'play dough time' it becomes a wonderful little routine that you can set up and implement in a snap. Spend a bit of time in the beginning stages setting up expectations, rules, procedures and 'how it's done' and then just switch out equipment each week. Here at home with my own children I had a little basket in my kitchen cupboard that included a table covering, 3 tubs of play dough, mats and basic tools. Each time I set it up, I would talk my little ones through the steps of setting it up on our kitchen bench. Before long they could do it themselves. I would then add increasing challenge and variety to keep their interest.
language - what a wonderful time for talking and discussion! Our little learners need meaningful opportunities to create, explore, describe and explain. Trust me, play dough will do all this. Once their little hands get moving they will start to chat - and the quiet ones will grow in confidence over time. Encourage them by asking questions or modelling your own self-chat as you work with some dough.
creativity - I have always found that the 'mats' I provide little learners are just a starting point, and that it absolutely fine. They will love having some 'free time' at the end of their session to create something of their own choice - encourage it through giving them time to talk to your about their creation. This little investment in time will help you build relationships with them, listen to their speech development and provide you opportunity to scaffold them to something . more challenging.
Your little learners will love these our new Owl Play Dough Mats. They will roll play dough balls and sausage shapes to create the simple shape patterns/pictures on each owl. Your little learners will naturally explore quantities, length, size and shape as they manipulate and test-out their play dough to fit each shape. Simply print, laminate and team them with some play dough.