Set up an exciting investigation to explore patterns and textures in play dough. A creative, sensory activity for toddlers and preschoolers to enjoy.
Here’s the next in our series of wonderful guest posts here on the blog, while I’m busy enjoying our newest little baby!
I’m really happy to be joining you all on The Imagination Tree today! I’ve always loved the amazing variety of children’s activities Anna brings her readers, so it’s a special treat to meet you all! My name is also Ana (but with one n) and I blog at Babble Dabble Do where my focus is on science, art, engineering, and design for kids.
We have been tackling a lot of playdough activities lately since they always appeal to kids of a wide swath of ages. My littlest is almost 2 and his sister is 5 and when I need to plan one activity to keep them both busy, playdough always fits the bill. Today I’m going to show you a simple playdough activity you can try using one of my favorite art making tools: TRASH, in this case recyclables.
I’m a designer by trade and am always looking at everyday objects with an observant eye; I also love packaging, particularly plastics. To make plastic products rigid and hearty they are often molded into shapes that help strengthen them or embedded with textures that make them more rigid. Recently as I was sorting through our recyclables I realized they had some pretty amazing textures on them, and what better way to explore these textures than by making impressions with them in playdough?
Playdough Activities: Trashy Textures
- Playdough– homemade or store bought
- Plastic recyclable- plastic bottles, food containers, Styrofoam meat trays, plastic mesh or grids (we used a leftover needlepoint circle). Trim down large containers to isolate the textures and make them easy for kids to handle.
- Roll playdough into a flat shape roughly ½” thick and then start stamping it with your plastic items.
- You can either start over each time to make unique textures or add layer upon layer of textures to the playdough
- Try rolling circular items like bottles on a large piece of playdough to capture the patterns on their sides.
- The bottom of plastic soda and drink bottles make great “flower” impressions. Press a chunk of play dough into the bottom of the bottle to capture the form.
- Roll plastic lids with corrugated sides make long unending textures.
- Store bought roasted chicken containers often have incredibly intricate textures on the bottom trays.
- Encourage collecting plastic items as part of the exercise. You can ask kids to go on a scavenger hunt for items (or sort through the recycling bin) to find plastics with interesting textures.
- For a fine motor bonus, talk about textures and encourage kids to run their hands lightly over the surface of the playdough textures they create.
- Layer the textures. Ask kids to create larger patterns by layering the textures. What new textures appear when pressed on top of another texture? Linear textures overlaid in opposite directions can form a grid pattern.
One of the most important lessons I learned as a designer is to look differently at the world, and this includes looking at everyday objects in a new way. Really looking closely at items that are all around us and using them in unique and playful ways encourages both an observant eye and a creative approach to learning. It’s inherent in children’s nature to be inquisitive, and simple activities like this one encourage children to find wonder in the everyday items that surround them, even trash!
If you liked this activitiy hop on over and see me at Babble Dabble Do.
Babble Dabble Do