As forever the parent who forgets to bring the distractions to activities, I loved learning this easy distraction trick when a mom had a few extra canisters of Play-Doh in her bag. Borrowing just a small canister each, I noticed the kids were engrossed in created their own games and activities with the little bits of compound.
Soon, several kids of all ages pressed out shapes, balls, worms, practiced creating letters and began to create sculptures. As I glanced over to one of my kids, I noticed he was perfecting upper- and lower cases to look correct. Shortly thereafter those letters became small words, and he began teaching his little sister how to make letters.
Using Play-Doh to learn at home and school
Children’s hands aren’t always comfortable gripping a writing utensil so Play-Doh offers a great opportunity to exercise the hand muscles and still create letter formation. Practice upper- and lowercase together and “quiz” each other. After your child is skilled you can begin a race to create the letter.
As older children learn cursive, you’ll find their hands may cramp more often. Work out that muscle tension with a ball of Play-Doh, but don’t stop the learning. Manipulate Play-Doh letters to connect properly to form connecting cursive letters.
Small Rhyming Words: Phonics
Start with a word like “cat” molded in Play-Doh and show that the first letter can be changed to create a new word again and again and again. Roll up the “c” and make it a “b”, “m” and “r.” Then switch the word to “sit”, change the first letter to “b”, and more. Change the game a bit by switching the last letter instead of the first. Or the vowel.
Practice Spelling Words
Writing your spelling, or word study, words can get boring, so add a little fun by writing the words into the Play-Doh. Our 3rd grade teacher kept Play-Doh in each students’ desk and made Play-Doh spelling practice one of the favorite activities.
Give your child a container of Play-Doh and ask him to create a scene or a character. Then ask questions about the creation: What is the character doing? What will happen next? Why did you create this scene? How does the character feel? Once your child has brainstormed a bit, ask him to tell you the story he created.
In the classroom setting, teachers can use Play-Doh as a prop in literature circles. In groups or individually, kids can re-create scenes and characters from the books they’re discussing.
Have a Conversation
Sometimes kids don’t want to just sit and talk, but by putting something into their hands, they’ll find discussion easier. During these times, give your child some Play-Doh and ask a simple question, requiring your child to answer with a word, in Play-Doh. No talking allowed. This game will likely change the attitude of your child; he’ll be far more willing to cooperate when he thinks he’s won the silent game! All along, you’re teaching listening skills, letter formation, reading, writing, and conversation.
Play-Doh is also a great distraction during difficult conversations. By putting a bit of magic in kids’ hands, they’re often less pressured to talk with you about a topic and the words will come out easier.
How do you use Play-Doh to teach your children?
Julieverse teamed up with Play-Doh to celebrate World Play-Doh Day next week, as featured on Play-Doh’s Facebook Page. (Get all the details here) and we’re offering a giveaway for a very special teacher. One teacher will be randomly selected to receive the following:
PlayY-Doh Fun Tub (available Fall 2015)
Kids will enjoy nearly endless imaginative possibilities with the Play-Doh Fun Tub! Little ones can get molding, stamping, cutting, and extruding with the tools and compound they’ll need for tons of silly, colorful creations! The set includes five cans of Play-Doh compound and 18 different tools and accessories. The tub doubles as a storage container, so little ones can take their creativity on the go anytime, anywhere!
This big pack of 20 cans of Play-Doh modeling compound holds an endless array of creative possibilities! Little hands can roll, twist and shape these colors into any form that strikes their fancies, then mash them up and start all over. Perfect for play dates and parties, the Super Color Pack is just the ticket for big Play-Doh fun!
Want to enter your favorite teacher for this classroom prize? Here’s how to enter.
Share an image of your latest Play-Doh creation with us! On either twitter, instagram or Facebook, use the hashtag #JulieversePlays and tag me and Play-Doh. All entries with the hashtag #JulieversePlays that also tag both Julieverse and Play-Doh will be entered to win. (Note the tags: twitter: @juliempron, instagram: @juliempron, Facebook: @julieverseblog)
Alternatively, if you’d rather not share a Play-Doh creation, reply to this update on the Julieverse Facebook Page, sharing a bit about the teacher you’ll donate the prize to (and if you’re that teacher, we want to hear from you!)
Enter as many times as you’d like. By entering, winners agree to the Julieverse giveaway policies as stated on our policies page. Entries close 9/18/2015 at midnight EST and winner will be contacted the following week.
While Play-Doh is donating the prize package, they are not the sponsor of this post.
© 2015, Julie Meyers Pron. All rights reserved.