playdough activities

How to Steal a March #7: Art Play Boosts Brain Power

We often don’t think of it as serious or important as academics, but art play boosts brain power. Art play helps develop the important skills of visualization and creativity.pre-printing activities for young children

Brains think in words, but we also think in images. When we hear the words in a story, we create the images in our mind. When we describe an event to someone else, we use words to help them picture what happened too. Reading books and telling stories is word play; art activities are image and sensory play.

painting for kids

Usually, when we think of art activities for kids we think of drawing. Art tools for drawing aren’t limited to crayons. They can include chalk, paint, sticks, rocks, buttons, and recycled and nature items of many kinds. Besides paper, kids can create on sidewalks, driveways, dirt, decks, cardboard boxes and sometimes, walls. That’s not such a great choice, however. Kids can make pictures with a stick in the dirt, or rocks on a beach. The recycling basket often has treasures for art with school tools

When it comes to painting, food colors, fruits and vegetables, and even clear water are more choices. Brushes can range from fingers to old toothbrushes to marbles rolling around on a tray.
In addition to drawing, hands love to play with play dough. Whether you make your own at home or purchase it at a store, kids of various ages can play with it over and over. There are ­countless variations of play dough with different textures to appeal to the sense of touch. Another part of it’s appeal is that kids can create whatever they want. The possibilities are unlimited.

art play with rocks

We might think of creativity as a talent we are born with. It is also a skill that we can help kids develop by letting them explore and create. Businesses are finding the value of creativity as they look for innovative ideas and solutions. Have you heard the saying to “steal a march” on someone? This refers to having an advantage over somebody. Art play boosts brain power and can do just that–give kids an advantage. What kind of art play might happen today for your child?

Pirate Fun For Kids #23: Playdough

pirate activities for kidsPlaydough likely wasn’t treasure for pirates, but it is for kids because they can use it for all kinds of fun, learning, and kindergarten readiness. To seem more like real ‘dough’, money that is, you can use yellow or gold color playdough. Other colors can be used to make different sorts of jewels.

pirate activities for kidsPlaydough can be used over and over, for different stages of development. Once kidlets have learned that playdough doesn’t go in their mouth, it can be used for simple exploration and sensory stimulation. Older kids can imagine and create with playdough. What might a pirate make? Well, probably some gold coins. Pirates like to count and they can count the number of coins. It’s easy to make lots. Pirates might make some diamond shapes. Big Sister Pirate made some sea creatures sailing on the blue ocean. Friend Pirate used two different colors and made a jewel on a flower. Pirates might like to bury some little treasures in the playdough for others to find.

pirate fun activities for kidsAs kids play with playdough they are also improving fine motor dexterity. The small muscles in the hands, fingers, and wrists are still developing. The brain also gets lots of exercise for problem-solving and planning and other thinking skills. Since it’s so easy to work with, kids can create, smoosh it back together, and create some more. This also helps develop concentration and focusing skills and encourages stretching attention span too. As kids talk and explain, they are practicing ways of using language.

pirate activities for kidsThere are tons of recipes for playdough and it can be made quite cheaply. But don’t let the inexpensiveness fool you; like other treasure, playdough is valuable for kids’ learning fun. (Sometimes, it can be a lifesaver, especially if grownups need kids to do an activity that is somewhat quiet.)  Do you have a treasured recipe for playdough?

Kindergarten Readiness: Sensory Play for May #6

Some very simple and inexpensive ingredients that you have at home can be used for sensory play, early learning, and kindergarten readiness. Flour, salt, water, oil, cream of tartar, and coloring. Those are all it takes to make a batch of playdough for some sensory play for touch. There are several versions and youtube videos with instructions but this one explains the process so well:

Playdough is ideal for little hands and for sensory stimulation. Fingers love to feel how it squishes, rolls, stretches, and flattens. A few kitchen tools, such as a plastic fork or picnic knife are great for poking and cutting. Have you ever tried cutting playdough with scissors? It is super easy and can easily be smooshed together to do it again. Make some small balls of playdough and let your child pick them up with salad tongs instead of fingers. A rolling pin gives a different sensory experience and uses bigger movements.

sensory play with playdoughKids can bury small objects such as bottle caps, big buttons, plastic animals, popsicle sticks, and small jar lids or they can find ones that grownups hide. Do you have some keys that are missing and can’t be found anywhere?? They might be in a lump of playdough. Sometimes toes and feet like to check out how playdough feels. If playdough is kept in the fridge it a covered container it will stay soft, but if it’s left out it will feel very different, as in hard and dry.

For some added sensory stimulation, add a few drops of an essential oil for a nice smell. Cinnamon also smells wonderful in playdough. Of course, this kind of playdough is not good for any tasting sense experiences. Do you have some playdough at home or in your center, or can you whip up a batch, for some touch sensory exploration fun and learning?

Kindergarten Readiness: Playdough Play-of-the-Day

What kindergarten readiness learning and fun can be squished, rolled, cut, stretched, smooshed, and patted? Playdough, of course. (Plus it starts with a p since April starts with a p.) Playdough can be played with in other ways, too. It’s a great toy for children at several stages. Once kids have learned that playdough doesn’t … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness: Playdough Play-of-the-Day

Kindergarten Readiness, Science, and Playdough

What do kindergarten readiness, science, and playdough all have in common? Fun and learning for young children, of course. Playdough is a fun and inexpensive toy. I prefer making the kind that cooks on the stove but I have made many batches with boiling water. In either case, it’s safer to make these without any … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness, Science, and Playdough

Some Handy Ideas for Kindergarten Readiness: Playdough

Playdough is not just a toy, it’s also a tool for lots of kindergarten readiness fun and learning. Plus, it is inexpensive, easy to make, and appeals to kids of all ages. Below are some of the ways that playdough can help develop brain connections and other skills. It helps with: fine motor dexterity and … Continue reading Some Handy Ideas for Kindergarten Readiness: Playdough