Our 12 Months of Play Dough Kits for the Classroom would not be complete without a Back to School Play Dough Kit! This is a fun kit for getting kids excited about back to school while have some fun sensory and imaginative play.
We really love having large, accessible play dough kits for open-ended play in my preschool program, and they are also perfect for classrooms or homeschool families.
My key things with these independent sensory play kits is that they are:
- easy to clean up
- have clearly (visually) indicated storage systems for children to understand and keep the order of
- incorporate different learning objectives
How to Make a Back to School Play Dough Kit
First, gather your components:
- school bus toy
- chocolate play dough
- pink bubblegum play dough
- yellow (vanilla) play dough
- apple confetti
- peg people (two teachers and several students – big and little)
- number cookie cutters
You can substitute and use whatever different materials you may have in your home or classroom. These were mostly materials that I already had, making this an affordable and still exciting sensory play kit.
While all of the play dough colors relate to different school objects in my mind, there really is no wrong way to play with these play dough kits – I love watching the kids come up with different concepts than I had intended when I put the kit together.
I do try to connect each item back to the main concept, but the items are not so fixed that they cannot be used in a different manner.
For example, these pencils: I expected them to maybe be used in some structural building, or just as a cheap and fun indicator of the subject of school, but they were used in so many unexpected ways.
First, for poking holes – a favorite in play dough experimenting!
Then, they were used as mini-rolling pins to roll out flat roads for the school bus to drive on.
(Plus building the roads involved fluid thinking, coming up with creative solutions like rolling small snakes of play dough to imitate the yellow lines on the road – a clever observation from the child’s own life.)
And then finally, play dough pencils were made, using the real pencils as models. This is a great art activity and one that explores so many concepts – shape recognition, dimension, visual discrimination, etc.
Just that one material alone provided so many opportunities for play. Then of course there were the cookie cutters – always a favorite! My daughter made giraffe-printed numbers by speckling the play dough colors to make a fun pattern.
Using cookie cutters is a great way to build and engage fine motor muscles, and of course when you use cookie cutters that signify objects or concepts that a child is familiar with, it’s a great way to review concepts in a fun and play-based manner.
Children can then use the play dough numbers to make math questions – using the pencils or other objects from the box – or practice patterning. My daughter decided to practice counting by two’s!
Children can also:
- play out scenarios with the peg dolls
- make erasers or snacks with the play dough
- practice writing with the pencils in play dough
- attempt to recreate the apple shape with the play dough
- dress the peg dolls with play dough
What types of activities will your crew likely engage in with this kit? What items would you substitute?
We had so much fun with our back to school play dough kit – it’s a great way to welcome children back to the classroom and an easy way to provide a calming, sensory activity that is accessible & open-ended.
More Back to School Fun
Looking for more ideas and inspiration for the back to school months to use along with this back to school play dough kit? Here are some of our favorite activities!