We’ve been mixing two of our favourite things this week: playdough and art. My girls love to make and create, especially if they can make something to play with too. Here’s their winter woodland with a forest of Christmas trees. [Read more…]
Outer space play dough recipe for sensory play with space theme.
Outer Space Playdough
We used our favourite easy salt dough recipe this week to make… hoomagwatas. You’ve heard of hoomagwatas, right? Carnivorous creatures that live in the Central African rain forest. Very dangerous animals that will eat you up in a minute – or so my children tell me. (I googled the name but sadly there’s no trace of any real hoomagwatas – that would have delighted the kids)
Salt dough modelling gives you lots of play and learning – and we spread this project over three days so we could take our time and enjoy each stage. If you’d like to make some creatures with your children you can find the salt dough recipe [Read more…]
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Mark making with play dough
We are huge fans of play dough in our house. We’ve just made a new batch using our favourite play dough recipe with some orange essence added to bring some smelly sensory fun.
I find play dough is a great activity for after school, especially if we have a mixed age group of children playing. It’s very relaxing as it has the lovely touchy-feely aspect of sensory play and there’s no right or wrong way to play with it – so however old you are (grandparents included!) you can enjoy it, without finding it frustrating or needing any grown-up interference.
Today I thought I’d mention how fabulous play dough is on the road to learning to write. While you might not associate dough with holding a pencil, all the kneading and shaping you do as you play is just right for building up fine motor skills – giving little fingers lots of practise in mobility, grasping and manipulating.
If your child is showing an interest it’s easy to extend the play by providing something to ‘write’ with, whether it’s a blunt pencil, stick, feather or other tool. By sitting alongside your child as they play you can model mark making, gently suggesting different patterns to try and seeing if they’d like to copy.
Try using a variety of marks which correspond to the shapes included when you eventually begin to write letter characters: horizontal and vertical lines, zigzags, circles, waves and loops.
You might find that children who are otherwise reluctant to ‘write’ do enjoy this kind of mark making. It’s a good option to introduce early writing skills to children who show little interest in pencils and paper.
A simple bread dough is a perfect medium for children to explore with. It’s easy to make using ingredients you can keep in your storecupboard and I find children always take great pleasure in using ‘real grown-up’ materials. There are lots of ways you can use a bread dough to let your children play with counting, measuring, pouring, cutting. Today we’ve been teaching the alphabet with bread. We’ve a recipe and a song to share with you.
Weigh 500g of strong bread flour and a teaspoon of salt out into a big bowl. Little thought it felt very tickly.
Pour in 300ml of warm water and a tablespoon of olive oil using good hand-eye co-ordination. Little liked mixing the colours to combine all the ingredients into a ball of dough.
Develop strength in your fingers by kneading the dough for 5 minutes on a floured surface. (Getting fingers ready to one day hold a pencil and write well.)
Introduce some letters by making your own dough alphabet. (If you want to use the recipe to make a proper loaf you can shape it and then leave it to prove for 45 minutes before baking.)