Drinking Straw Day is celebrated on January 3rd to commemorate the day Marvin C. Stone obtained his patent for this simple tool. Straws are a perfect partner for play dough, an all time kid favorite, any day of the year. Play dough is not only fun but builds fine motor skills and strengthens finger muscles. Ever seen an adult kneading a stress release ball? Working with play dough provides this same opportunity for kids to work out stress with their hands in a productive way.
Play Dough Tips:
Always serve up play dough on a tray to provide a physical boundary for where the play dough should stay.
Don’t put out all colors at once. Start with just two and add in new colors of play dough as kid’s creations get more complicated. Play dough time is a perfect time to reinforce color recognition.
Add whole straws as well as cut sections in a variety of lengths. Kids will no doubt come up with their own imaginative creations with these open-ended materials but here a few examples to get your family or class started.
A ball body made out of play dough will need eight legs and provides a motivating counting experience for youngsters. Recite and act out the nursery rhyme “”Little Miss Muffet” with the finished products. The Miss Spider series of books by David Kirk are also a great companion.
The Snow Man
Kids can create a play dough snowman that won’t melt and by making three different size balls they’ll be reinforces size concepts of big, bigger and biggest. They can personalize their snowman by accessorizing with straws.
The Happy Face
After making pancakes with the play dough model for kids how straws can be inserted and lifted, like using a cookie cutter, for a new way to make designs of any kind. This is an easy lesson in positive and negative space. Straw can be added for crazy hair.
Play dough is always hard to put away. If possible, take a photo of kid’s creations that they can keep and it will be easier for them to disassemble their work.
An alternative is to set a few masterpieces in a prominent place to be displayed for a certain amount of time. With a folded paper place card, kids that are learning to write can practice writing their name and the title of their work. If not, you can write their words for them as a pre-reading experience.
As you can see, you teach colors, counting, size, body parts and even reading and writing skills while kids are just having fun with play dough. Inserting straws is just one way to slurp up learning with play dough.
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