Play dough is the number one way to play in our house right now. The children love it because there are no limits to what they can make with. They can mix up a batch of home made play dough in minutes, add in some extra props and their own imagination and then they are ready for action.
I love it because it’s so easy to add in lots of extra opportunities to learn as the kids play. I don’t need to cajole them into math practice or persuade them to do some writing when we can simply weave the leaning into the fun. Here’s an idea we’ve enjoyed this week, with some suggestions of how you can add in some lessons as you go – with a play dough candy store.
We started out by making some dough using our favorite no cook play dough recipe. The children joined in making it, reading the recipe and measuring and counting out the ingredients. We made red dough this time using a couple of spoons of food colouring mixed in with the other ingredients. Of course you can make any kind of dough your kids like when it’s home made: try this A-Z of play dough flavors if you’d like some ideas for all the different types of play dough you could try.
We added in some extra materials to the play too: chocolate boxes, cupcake cases, glass pebbles, foil shapes and cut up drinking straws. The children all joined in making different sweets to sell in their shop.
I always try to spot ways to include some writing in our play whenever we can. Writing activities for kids are more interesting and relevant if the writing is for a practical purpose. For their shop, the children made an open and closed sign and labels for each of the candies. They invented their own names for the candies and set their prices.
We added in some math play too, by turning some of the play dough into coins – great for adding and subtraction practice and the children got to try out lots of real life conversations as they pretended to be the store keeper and customer.
Do you ever set up pretend play games with your play dough?
Play Dough is a wonderful outlet for play and learning. You might want to see some of these other creative ideas for play dough fun: