Educational tools and manipulatives are expensive and space consuming. Often, we purchase these items with every intention of using them and only end up bringing them out once or twice. What if instead of purchasing expensive bits of plastic, you used something you always have on hand anyway?
Play-Doh is one of the most versatile play things around, and should always be kept on hand. It is fun, flexible (literally), and perfect for sensory play. While it should be used often for playtime, it is also a great tool for learning time. Here are xx ways you can use this squishy toy to enhance and expand upon your child’s lessons.
1. Counting, Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, and Division
You know those little counting bears you used in kindergarten? You can use Play-Doh in the very same way you used those tiny colorful mammals. Make little balls of the dough and use them to practice your child’s basic math skills.
Get out a ruler and get ready to get in some measurement practice! By having your child roll out long Play-Doh “snakes” to measure, you give your child some sensory play in between measuring sessions. This is sure to be a hit with kids of all ages.
Make Play-Doh pizzas and let your child cut them up to show various fractions. This is an awesome way to give your child something physical to work with while learning the often difficult concept of fractions.
4. Color Mixing
Offer your kids Play-Doh in the three primary colors and have them experiment with mixing to see how many different colors they can make. Have them make hypotheses about which two colors they can mix to make another color.
5. Letter Tracing
Children just learning to write may find it easier to learn by “tracing” large letters with strings of Play-Doh. Have them roll out the long strings and shape them over printed letters in order to practice making the proper shapes.
These are just a few ways you can use Play-Doh to help your child grasp concepts in a fun way. Get creative and see what other options you can come up with. Your children will certainly appreciate the hands on lessons, and you will appreciate their enthusiasm.