Homemade play dough is a staple in my home and preschool program. It is one of our favorite learning materials and we are constantly coming up with new ways to play and learn with it. Today, I wanted to share our classroom-sized Valentine’s Day Play Dough Kit.
This play dough container is quite big – almost a foot wide – so it can hold enough materials for several children to play with at once while also being compact and orderly.
I love that the children can feel empowered to put their materials away when they are done and that the sectioned container “presents” the materials similar to using a sectioned tray, without me having to set it up and put it away each time.
Materials in our Valentine’s Play Dough Kit
- 1 batch chocolate play dough
- 1 batch vanilla play dough
- 3 gel food dye colors – pink, red, purple
- Flower and heart cookie cutters
- Heart gems
- Dyed barley for sprinkles
- Heart pom poms
- Artificial roses
- Red & white cupcake liners
- Wooden ladybug embellishments
You can use my recipes for homemade chocolate and vanilla play doughs, or you can simply add some scent to commercial dough – whatever works better for you.
I made the vanilla play dough and then kneaded in the gel colors afterwards, but that is definitely the hard way to go about things. I just didn’t want to make 4 different batches, and I kind of like the marbled effect that results from not completely kneading the color all of the way through.
Add in whatever mix-ins and manipulatives you have on hand or can use for other activities. We’re going to use those gems and ladybugs for counting, and the artificial roses will likely be used for a process painting activity later. The dyed barley was leftover from our ice cream play dough invitation and we like to use it as “sprinkles.”
How We Played with this Play Dough Kit
By providing different types of play dough and different manipulatives, children can find so many different ways to play. I’ll list a few of the ways we engaged with our Valentine’s Day Play Dough Kit, but your group will probably come up with completely different ways to play.
- We exercised our fine motor skills by using our pincer grip to pick up and delicately arrange the heart gems and ladybugs.
- We also counted out the ladybugs as we divided them into several individual cupcake liners.
- We used our hand strength to flatten out the play dough without the use of rollers, and practiced our dexterity in rolling the dough into “rolls” and “balls”
- We identified different shapes using our cookie cutters and problem solved how to ensure we had enough dough to get the full shape.
- We “planted” the roses and discussed what types of things flowers might need.
Would your group enjoy playing with this play dough kit? Do you think they’d be able to keep everything tidy or do you anticipate a big mess to sweep up every day?
What would you add or substitute in this classroom play dough kit?
More Valentine Fun
For even more fun for February, grab our free valentine alphabet match, make a fine motor building valentine heart, or grab a complete set of math and literacy with our February printables bundle!