- Cooking materials including plastic bowl, measuring cup, and wooden spoon
- Plastic airtight container to store play dough
- A variety of materials to use with the dough including cookie cutters, clay stampers, rolling pins, clay hammers, garlic press, and craft sticks
Objective: Children will develop science, math, literacy, and creative-thinking skills as they learn to prepare a play dough recipe and explore materials that can be used with the dough.
In Advance: Create a dough recipe rebus chart for children to follow:
- 2 cups flour
- 1 cup salt
- 1 cup water
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil
- Place the ingredients and the cooking utensils on the table. Display the recipe and read it with children. Provide each of them an opportunity to measure and add the different ingredients. Encourage language and science concept development by asking them to describe the various materials. Discuss smell and texture, then invite them to touch the different ingredients and notice how they are similar or different. Pass the bowl around the table so they can take turns kneading the dough.
- Give each child some play dough to explore along with the cookie cutters and other suggested materials. Invite children to show what they can do with the materials. Pass around all of the different types of materials for each child to use. Save an example of the children's dough creations and invite them to talk about it during recall time.
- Invite children to take a walk around the classroom and to choose two or three different types of materials to use with the play dough. If necessary, assist them in making appropriate choices. Engage children in conversations and encourage them to describe how they are using the materials. How many different types of textures can they create in the dough using a variety of materials?
- Store the play dough in an airtight container. Children love to make and play with play dough. Change the play dough materials to enhance their explorations. Include items from nature along with a variety of materials including paper fabric, foil, yam or string, pegs, wood scraps, and muffin tins.
Curriculum Connection: Take-Home Science Activity
Materials That Change. Send a note home to families explaining that the children made play dough and observed how different materials change. Request that they show their children other materials in their home that change like water to ice, oatmeal, soap and water, coffee, tea, or cocoa, or popcorn, cooked rice or pasta. Include a sheet of drawing paper and ask them to have their child draw a picture of the material and include their child's writing or dictation about their observations.
Emily's Art by Peter Catalnotto (Atheneum, 2001; $16)
Pancakes for Breakfast by Tomie dePaola (Scholastic Inc.; $3.95)
The Popcorn Book by Tomie dePaola (Scholastic Inc.; $3.95)