Messy play is an important part of a child’s development, especially in the early years. It supports their gross and fine motor skills, co-ordination and concentration. It is also fun and exciting.
One of the most popular play items for messy time is playdough. The sensation and variety of exciting playdough colours, whether shop bought or homemade, can captivate the imagination of young children.
Playdough Is Messy
The challenge with playdough is that it is messy. It gets stuck in carpets, can be flung across the room, or left inside other items in your learning environment. Whilst most of the time this is easily cleaned; it is time consuming.
Another challenge is that there are limits to playdough in a classroom setting and some children can become bored after a while.
Taking Playdough Outside
One solution is to take your playdough activities outside and combine playdough with nature. The children can be encouraged to engage with the natural world around them with their playdough, for example, using sticks to shape the dough, or pressing their dough into the bark of the tree to make a print.
Likewise, you can study flowers, insects and other items in nature and encourage the children to model the object. Then your entire group could create a scene made entirely out of playdough.
Also, your children can use snail and crab shells to create creatures to live in their playdough environment.
Finally, adding water to playdough provides an additional sensory sensation; this can be really messy but lots of fun. Playdough can also then be added to mud or sand tables, giving children new textures to experiment with – all adding to their sensory learning.
Making It Clean
Playing with playdough can enhance the learning experience for all children. It can also be easier to maintain and clear away – allowing you to swiftly move onto the next activity.
But most importantly, exploring the outdoors with playdough is fun and exciting.
Do you use playdough outside? How do you incorporate it into outdoor play?
Let us know in the comments below.
Able Canopies Ltd. design, manufacture and install commercial grade canopies, shade sails,
awnings and shelters across the UK. We specialise in servicing the education, leisure,
healthcare and retail sectors and have extensive experience working with
schools, councils, architects and contracting firms.For more information on our products and services please contact us