The malleable properties of playdough make it fun for investigation and exploration as well as secretly building up strength in all the tiny hand muscles and tendons – the same muscles your child will use to hold pencils to write.
Playdough can be squashed, squeezed, rolled, flattened, pulled, chopped, cut, scored, raked, punctured and shredded! Each of these different actions aids fine motor development in a different way, not to mention hand-eye co-ordination and general concentration.
Having a wide range of additional extras to use while playing extends the investigation and play possibilities endlessly. Poking
sticks provides a challenge and a new physical skill. Squeezing through a garlic press leads to wonder and amazement at seeing it change shape, as well as using gross motor movement to accomplish it.
Sticking in spaghetti requires a delicate hand and
can lead to threading and stacking pasta shapes or beads over the top.
Below is a list of suggestions of items you can add to playdough to enable more open-ended play.
- Toy creatures
- Rolling pins, plastic knives, scissors, pizza cutters
- Cupcake cases of different sizes
- Pinecones, sticks, leaves
- muffin tins, egg boxes, chocolate boxes
- cookie cutters
- pasta shapes
- glass pebbles
- match sticks and lolly sticks
If you don’t have any playdough it can easily be made and stored for several days in an airtight container.
See recipe below
If you could be a bird for a day, what bird would you be?
A graceful swan, a nigh time owl, a talkative parrot or a beautiful peacock?
Draw a picture of the bird you would be, thinking about the different colours you will need.
Have a go at writing your bird’s name. Have a go at making letter marks and shapes which are different to your drawing.
Maths - Shape, Spac and Measure
Can you make a repeating pattern? Start with just two different subjects.
You can use anything to make a pattern. You could look for things around your house, such as toys, pasta or fruit. Maybe you could search for items outside in your garden or when you go outside for your daily exercise. You could look for stones, sticks and leaves.
Start with just two subjects e.g. stick and leaf. Place down a stick, leaf, stick, leaf. Ask your child if they know what comes next? Keep repeating the pattern until they know what to place down next. Talk to your child about the pattern. Can they explain it to you?
Once your child can complete a repeating pattern with 2 subjects, try using 3. For example, using Lego bricks of 3 colours. Yellow, white, red, yellow, white, red.
Click on the picture below and play a repeating pattern game using shapes and colours.
Pattern game - Topmarks
Expressive Arts and Design
Paper plate bird hat
You will need:
White and yellow card or thick paper
Paint, crayons or pencils
Googly eyes (optional)
Stapler, glue and tape
- If you want your bird to be a colour, other than white, start by painting the plate the colour of your choice. Let it dry completely.
- Cut about 1/4 off one end of your paper plate, leaving a straight edge at the bottom. Cut out two white strips from your white card/paper to assemble your hat. Also, fold your yellow card/paper in half and cut out a folded beak for your bird.
- Make two creases in the middle of your folded bird beak so you have a flat surface to glue your paper plate. Glue the beak onto your paper plate. Use a black marker to draw eyes on your bird, or glue googly eyes onto your paper plate.
- Glue feathers onto the back of the paper plate.
- Staple a white strip to each end of your paper plate. Join them together and staple them close to make a circle to place on your child’s head. It might be useful to measure your child’s head for this part. You can also cut out wings from the card and glue them onto the white card at the sides of the bird.
- Let any glue dry before playing with your hat.
- Put your hat on. Can you move like a bird in the story?
Your child will need help to make a bird hat but please let them do as much as they can. Let them paint and stick the things wherever they want to, and let them do some cutting.
Understanding of the World
When you go outside to get your daily exercise, why not go on a bird hunt.
What different birds can you see?
You might see a magpie, gull, pigeon, crow, black bird, a robin or maybe a different kind of bird.
Talk about the different colours of the birds. Are the birds all the same size? What is the bird doing? What noise does the bird make?
You could record how many birds you have seen on the tally chart - attched below.
Each time you see a type of bird put a line in the box. When you have finished, count which bird has the most lines.
Which kind of bird have you seen the most of?
Can you see any birds out of your window or in your garden?
Maybe you could count these too.