We love playing with play dough, specifically the homemade stuff. It's softer, more pliable and retains it's squishy texture for months longer than the stuff in the yellow cans. If you haven't ever made play dough, it's fast and easy. See here for a quick 15 minute (start to finish) recipe- you can't even get to and from the store in that time.
We like cutting straws, they make a great popping sound as they fly off the base of the straw. What should we do with all of those straw cuttings? Save them! As a teacher, I used manipulatives (hands-on objects that you can use as visuals) in almost all of my math lessons. They make learning fun. Tell a fifth grader, we're going to be working on algebra. You can actually hear him/her deflate. BUT, give that same student a bag of game pawns, coin blanks, cubes, teddy bear counters… and all of a sudden it's a game!
Here are some examples of what we do with our straw cuttings:
Patterning - Math: We began with a simple ABA (green, pink, green, pink) pattern, then we moved onto an AABAA (blue, blue, orange, blue, blue, orange) pattern.
Sorting/Classifying by Size (both increasing and decreasing size order) - Math and Science (yes, I know sorting and classifying mean the same thing, however in math the term sorting is usually used for elementary school-aged children and in science it's classifying- please excuse my inner teacher from sneaking out)
Sorting/Classifying by Color - Math and Science
Play Dough Letters - Art and Pre-Writing: I made the M, although I should have had them make the letters. We haven't done this since, well here. They then added the straws to the play dough letters.
Play Dough Add-ins - Art and Pre-Writing: Have you read The Greatest Snowman in the World? It's hilarious, especially when you add in the implied inflections. Wild One decided he was going to make the Greatest Monster in the World with a lot of antennas, arms and legs. Meanwhile Little Miss decided to make a path and then poke the tips into the path.
I love the look of concentration on his face!
I'm so proud of my Little Miss. It took her a long time to roll out that snake.
I think it's the longest one she's ever made.
As you can see (or almost see), all of the play dough toys made their way onto the table.
Wild One discovered that if he squeezes the straw cuttings the play dough will ooze out! Look SCIENCE- he made a discovery!
I love how his tongue pops out when he's concentrating, just like his Dad and his Grandpa Fredo.
My little ones actually did this almost a year ago. Wow, look how little he was? They are growing too fast! Here's the post, not that you need any instructions for this.
Have fun playing, learning, learning through play. C'mon it's easy. It really is the best way. It's now time to go outside and play!