- self-hardening play dough (recipe to follow)
- small candles
- candleholders or photos of candleholders
- craft sticks, plastic straws, and other blunt-edge tools to make designs and patterns
Objective: Children will express themselves creatively and artistically with this giftmaking activity.
In Advance: Make dough ahead of time, using this recipe: Mix together 1 cup flour, I cup salt, and half a cup water. If necessary, add more flour until mixture has a doughy consistency. Add tempera paint for color, or leave the dough for the children to paint.
1 Talk to children about gift giving. What is a gift they have received that is special to them? Have they ever given a present to someone? Explain that they are going to make special candleholders to give to their family and friends. Show children examples of candleholders or photos of candleholders.
2 Share the play dough you've made and give children time to feel and play with the mixture. Ask them to comment on how the dough feels in their hands. Is the dough hard or soft? Do they think that a candle will be able to stand up in the dough? Ask children to predict what will happen to the dough.
3 After children have had time to experiment with the dough, encourage them to shape it any way they like. Suggest that they use their fingers, the craft sticks, pieces of straws, and other objects to make interesting patterns and indentations. Encourage them to use their imaginations and creativity when creating their dough candlesticks.
4 Give each child a candle to carefully press into the dough to make an impression. Explain that they'll need to then remove the candles until the dough is completely dry.
5 When children are finished, put the holders aside to dry. After one day, turn them upside down so the bottoms can dry thoroughly. When drying is complete, children can decorate with tempera paint and put candles back in. Their gifts are ready for giving!
Curriculum Connection: MOVEMENT
Invite children to help you mold a giant ball of dough into the shape of a long snake. After the snake is dry, invite children to decorate it with tempera paint. Ask children to think about how their snake would move. Encourage children to show their own "snake movements." Play music to accompany children's snake dances.
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