This was a left over activity from Valentine’s Day. We used the candy boxes with the chocolate play-dough to make some pretend treats. Here are some of the things we made and the skills we are working on using play-dough.
What’s on the tray:
- Chocolate play-dough,
- Candy boxes,
- Measuring cup and spoons,
- Rolling pin,
- Play-dough tools
- Cookie cutters.
Fine Motor Skills
There is a lot of talk these days about children not getting enough practice developing their fine motor skills. For those who don’t know, fine motor skills is the early childhood education jargon for saying the things you do with your hands. Basically the smaller muscle groups. These are the skills children need for writing, cutting with scissors, tying shoes etc. Gross motor skills use the larger muscles for running, climbing etc. There are many ways for children to practice these skills like stringing beads, using stickers, popping bubblewrap or scooping water or sand. Play-dough is great though because you can role it out, squeeze it, mold it, use tools to cut it and so on. All of those actions strengthen the hands and fingers. Rosebud rolled out circles, hid beads in the play-dough to find and cut it into pieces using the play-dough cutter.
Another wonderful thing about play-dough is you can turn it into whatever you want it to be. Since we had the candy boxes, we decided to make pretend candy. Some of our candies were circles and squares. We also made cakes and decorated them with the beads. As with other pretend play, it helps expand a child’s imagination and allows them to try out different roles. Pretend play can also help children work out issues they may be having difficulty with. It also helps enhance social skills. We pretended to make cups of hot chocolate. Rosebud grabbed out of my hand, so we worked on sharing and asking for turns. We worked as a team to decorate the cakes.
I asked Rosebud which shape I should make and she suggested I make squares. I’ve used play-dough often to help her with shape recognition. She’s gotten really good at identifying most shapes. Sorting, classifying and identifying shapes are all necessary pre-math skills.
On the literacy side, I made some letters and asked if she knew what they were. She has become interested in letters, but cannot name them yet. she has started asking me what they are and what they are for. If we are playing with letters, I’ll point out the letter, tell her its name and a word that it starts with. In this case, I first made her initials and then did a simple abc. This is a fun way to practice some of the pre-reading skills.
The best part is the kids are simply having fun without worrying about what they are learning or haven’t learned yet. What are some of your go to activities with play-dough? Tell me in the comments.