playdough learning fun

Valentine Fun and Learning with Slime or Playdough

valentine slimeSometimes the toys kids ask for most are the homemade ones, like playdough and slime; while these are inexpensive to make they are valuable in fun and learning. Big Sister asked for some this week. Unfortunately, we’d used up the red food coloring at Christmas but we had some lovely cinnamon hearts.

To make slime, first mix 1/2 cup of warm water and 1/2 cup of white glue. We popped several of the candy hearts into the warm water and waited for them to turn the water a lovely red. Most of the hearts melted leaving only a little bit of the candy center to take out. When we added the glue, the red water became light pink.

In a second bowl,  mix 1 teaspoon of borax and 1 whole cup of warm water. Get ready for the next part, which changes very fast! Now, pour the gluey stuff into the clear water/borax and stir. Right away, the two solutions combine to make a polymer. There will likely be some extra water in the bowl which you can just pour off, leaving the wonderful goo.

As kids play with slime and playdough, they are developing:

  • fine motor dexterity and strength, and hand-eye coordination,
  • the ability to visualize, that is making pictures or images in the mind,
  • language skills, such as vocabulary and descriptive language to talk about what’s happening,
  • some basic math strategies like measuring and counting,
  • their senses, especially the sense of touch as they learn to discriminate texture, temperature, and size,
  • higher level thinking skills, such as planning, problem-solving, imagining and creating.

playdough learning and funChildren are using more than their hands to play. They are also expressing themselves and how they feel. Playdough or slime can help children release pent-up emotions and tensions. The world isn’t always a friendly place for kids, and with these materials, they can feel more in control. Slime adds an unexpected element, because it’s so much more flexible. Even though this can be a little bit frustrating, it’s also exciting. Kids soon learn that cookie cutters will not work with slime, like they do with playdough.

Using either one, can you and your child squeeze some fun and learning into your day?

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 go in their mouth, it can be used for simple exploration and sensory stimulation. Older ones can imagine and create with playdough. Children may also roll out letters and numbers, make shapes, map out roads for making tracks from toys with wheels, and practice using scissors.

playdough learning activities and funAs 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. Two colors of playdough added another element to the fun for these kids. Instead of using a table, the big plastic sheet spread on the floor gave much more space–and kept the playdough off the carpet.

Instead of the usual toys, add some kitchen utensils and other items. A rolling pin, wooden spoon, potato masher, plastic fork, and egg turner are possibilities. Bottle lids of various sizes make small circle tracks. Kids can hide small items in the dough and then find them again. Playdough can be made very inexpensively at home; there are tons of recipes and ideas. Try a few different ones until you find the one that works best. This video below explains it well and the dough does look exactly like the sticky paste and then a big lump. Add a drop or two of essential oil for a lovely smell. These two children are different ages and do not play with the playdough the same way. How does your child like to play with playdough?

Kindergarten Readiness – Happy New Year Playdough Fun

Need something quiet for little hands to do today that can also meet the new year’s  resolution for learning, kindergarten readiness, and fun? Just the thing – playdough! Everyone will have a birthday in 2013 so get out the playdough, add a plate, a few accessories, and let your child create all kinds of cakes. Here’s a short list of some learning possibilities with playdough:

  • Dr. Seuss-cake2problem-solving, planning, imagining and pretending, etc.
  • sensory information such as shapes, texture, temperature, touch, size,
  • vocabulary and descriptive language, measuring, counting, pre-writing
  • fine motor dexterity and strength; hand-eye coordination, visualizing,
  • exploring numbers, letters, and shapes,
  • practicing cutting. It’s so easy and fun with playdough.

Playdough usually lasts if kept in sealed containers and can often be found on sale. You can also make it home to be even lower cost. As a bonus, it is a very quiet toy. Shh…Happy New Year.

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