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In my classroom, we love play dough activities and I try to add in new, seasonal play dough kits every month! They encourage and provide hands-on, sensory play which is so valuable. My kids have loved anticipating and looking forward to what they are going to discover in the giant classroom play dough kit every month, so I wanted to really make things fun with this Summer Play Dough Kit!
*Pair with our Summer Centers and Activities for Pre-K & Kindergarten!
Summer Play Dough Kit
Last year, I made an Ocean-Themed Play Dough Invitation with sand play dough and blue “ocean play dough.” I also included seashells, sea glass, and glass gems. I knew this year that the kids would be expecting something similar and I really wanted to come up with something new that still evoked happy summer memories.
Instead of looking to my favorite part of summer (the beach!) for inspiration, I decided to pull my inspiration from the backyard! Long summer days running through the sprinklers, eating watermelon in the sun, and making homemade lemonade are a few of the classic childhood memories I pulled into making this Summer Play Dough Kit.
Making a Summer Play Dough Kit
First, gather your materials:
- Pink play dough
- Lemonade play dough
- Mini drink parasols
- Mini fabric flowers (cut apart leis to get a ton for low cost!)
- Colored sand
- Mini starfish
- Blue glass stones
Of course, the play dough and all materials are stored in my giant Ikea sectioned container. I use these containers for all of my classroom-sized play dough kits. You can find similar plastic containers on Amazon!
I wanted to give as many open-ended summer materials as possible without giving the play dough kit too much of a directed theme. There are summer food scents, items reminiscent of the beach, as well as gardening references. This allowed the children to bring their own meanings and ideas to their play which you can see in the many different ways they played with the materials.
Below, my daughter decided to try patterning with the different manipulatives.
RELATED RESOURCE: Write It! Summer Writing Center Activities
I was really wonderfully surprised at all of the creative ideas the kids brought to the Summer Play Dough Kit, and you can see all of the cool things they are learning and processing come out through their play.
Here’s a few of the ways they played:
- making some cool impressions – the starfish left better impressions than the flowers
- “planting” a garden, and then using the blue stones to “water” the garden
- making a beach that transformed into a deserted island
- smelling the play doughs and describing the scents
- making textured play dough by kneading in the sand
- making “fancy lemonade drinks” with the drink parasols and blue glass “ice cubes”
- talking about Rapunzel and the flowers in her hair, and some attempts to add the flowers to their own hair
- using the blue glass gems to make “seeds” in the watermelon play dough
The kids had a wonderful time playing with this Summer Play Dough Kit, and it was really cool to see them explore mathematical concepts and use descriptive language without any prompting.
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