archive for the 'Social Emotional Development' category

The Power of Play Dough

I thought it would be fun to set up a play dough bakery. I made some chocolate colored/scented dough and some lavender glitter dough. I also provided birthday candles, wooden flower decorations, colored beads (sprinkles), pie and bread tins, rolling pins, ice cream scoops, silicone cupcake holders, a serving platter with a doily, cookie cutters, etc.. I had everything ready to go before my class arrived.

This is Chloe. She is always so serious and straight-faced in the mornings, so I was thrilled to see her chatting and smiling while making her “special star cookie”. Some of the kids made birthday cakes and cupcakes while singing “Happy Birthday” to each other.

There are so many benefits to playing with this squishy substance.

SOCIAL EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Play dough allows preschoolers to come up with unique and creative ideas. Children often express pride in accomplishments when they use play dough in purposeful and meaningful ways. Social skills grow as they share space and materials.

FINE MOTOR SKILLS

Children use their hands and tools to pound, push, poke, shape, flatten, roll, cut, and scrape the dough. Through these experiences, they develop eye-hand coordination and control, dexterity, and strength; critical skills they will need later for writing, drawing, and other purposes.

LANGUAGE/LITERACY

Working with play dough helps young children to enhance their language abilities. They practice listening, understanding, speaking, and communicating skills as they negotiate roles and engage in conversations with classmates and teachers. Materials like play dough encourage preschoolers to describe and reflect on what they are doing.

SCIENCE AND MATH

As young children discuss what they are doing with the dough, they often engage in scientific thinking. They learn through tactile experiences, observing and reflecting on how materials feel and change (grainy, smooth, round, flat). Math skills increase as children compare shapes, measure sizes, and count.

It’s safe to say, NEVER underestimate the power of play dough.


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Valentine Sensory Bin

There is really nothing quite like a container full of bright, sparkly goodness just waiting to be explored.

Because there are many schools and parents that do not believe in “playing with your food” (using food as learning materials), I worked to find a sensory bin base that was not a food product. I had recently purchased a Beta fish for my classroom and was carousing the fish supply section when I spotted aquarium gravel. As I quickly scanned all the bags of fantastic colors and combinations, well, my head exploded!

MATERIAL USED:

– Any suitable container
Aquarium gravel
– Pom poms
– Heart and XO sequins
– Different colored bottle caps
– Small jewels and gems
– 3D hearts
– Animal print scrapbook hearts
– Heart buttons
– Small chunks of garland
– Pink yarn
– Pipe cleaners/fuzzy sticks
– Shovels
– Funnel
– Spatula
– Tweezers
– Cups

Not only do sensory bins strengthen the senses, they hold many learning opportunities. Children use their fine motor skills as they scoop, sift, pour, and examine its contents. They develop and cultivate social emotional skills as they play and work together; taking turns with items, and sharing ideas of what to do with them. In the way of math, preschoolers sort and count the many objects. Shape and color knowledge is also gained.



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