Pretend Play: Farm Play Dough

Pretend Play: Farm Play Dough {via Octavia and Vicky}

As you may have noticed I’ve been trying to find ways for Pebble (4 years, 9 months) and Rocky (20 months) to play together. This pretend play experience with farm play dough is perfect for both toddlers and preschoolers. They had a ball together! It’s so sweet seeing them play… mostly. Of course they are siblings and have their fair share of fights too.

This pretend play farm play dough so easy to set up. Just grab some farm toys, you’ve probably got some wooden or plastic toys at home, or they’re very cheap to buy. You may get lucky and find some second hand at your local op shop or online. Make up a batch of green play dough and set up an invitation to play. If your child needs extra help to get started with pretend play you can try role modelling by moving the animals around and making animal noises. They will soon join in the fun.

Looking for a fool proof play dough recipe? This no cook method is my favourite.

Pretend Play: Farm Play Dough {via Octavia and Vicky} Pretend Play: Farm Play Dough {via Octavia and Vicky} Pretend Play: Farm Play Dough {via Octavia and Vicky} Pretend Play: Farm Play Dough {via Octavia and Vicky}

Pebble and Rocky also enjoyed the process of making play dough together. Just a warning – it gets messy! Especially with toddlers. ESPECIALLY if one of those toddlers is Rocky!  Expect mess and let it happen. It’s not so hard to clean up afterwards and the experience of making the dough adds so much to the play. It’s also great for learning about measurement, procedure and concepts like hot/cold, wet/dry and empty/full.

Pretend Play: Farm Play Dough {via Octavia and Vicky}

Ideas for extending the play:

  • sing farm songs and nursery rhymes, like “Old MacDonald” and “This Little Piggy”. Nursery rhymes are SO important to children’s early literacy development and are often forgotten about these days. Plus kids love them!
  • read books about farms – some of our favourites are Farmer Duck by Martin Waddell, My Farm by Alison Lester, and A Year on Our Farm by Penny Matthews and Andrew McLean.
  • make your own animals from play dough.
  • print out and use these farm play dough mats which encourage early numeracy skills.
  • encourage children to pretend to be farm animals – say “can you be a…. pig/duck/horse/cow/etc”
  • draw or paint pictures of farm animals
  • visit a local farm and get hands on with the animals

More ideas for toddlers and preschoolers to enjoy together: 

Balloon Squishies

Balloon Squishies

We’ve been having some cold, wet, loooong days lately. We love getting outside and splashing in puddles, but there’s only so much washing I can cope with before I start losing. my. mind. I am a big fan of finding stuff to make and do using the things lying around the house and that takes very little effort, and this week has been no exception. I’ve always got a bag of balloons in the cupboard because balloons = awesome. Play dough is another staple play ingredient in this house. Put em together and you get balloon squishies!

These little guys and gals are fun to squish and squeeze, to add to pretend play or to role play different emotions with kids. Pebble decorated her own balloon squishies and named them after everyone in our family. To make your own just push some play dough inside a balloon, tie a knot and draw on a face with a sharpie. Instant fun!

Tip: to get the balloon into the play dough make several small, grape sized balls of dough the stretch out the balloon using two hands while your little person throws the dough into the balloon. I managed to fill a few on my own too, using my index fingers to stretch out the balloon and my other fingers to grab the dough and push it into the balloon. Yep, I was impressed with me too.

Want more ideas for preschoolers? Check out the Three to Five: Playful Preschool ebook, it’s packed full of fun stuff to do.

What would you use these balloon squishies for?

25+ Awesome Activities for Preschoolers

Three to Five Playful Preschool ebook - 25+ Playful Preschool Activities

It’s here, it’s here! I’ve been holding this little baby under my hat for weeks, but I can finally announce that the Three to Five: Playful Preschool ebook is HERE! I was thrilled when Cathy from NurtureStore asked me to be a part of another of her amazing ebooks, you might remember that I collaborated on the Zero to Two ebook earlier in the year. It was a winner and has had so much support from readers, I just know that you’re all going to love this ebook too.

What will I find in the ‘Three to Five: Playful Preschool’ ebook?

  • 25+ awesome activities for preschoolers
  • hands on, play based learning
  • inspiring ideas that are practical and easy to follow
  • beautiful photos and step by step guides
  • 10 printable resources including a city play scape scene, My First Journal pages, a recipe card, numbers game, weather chart printables, alphabet play mats, hand drawn art pages, conversation cards, block building challenge cards and bookmarks)
  • links to over 50 more preschool activities
  • ideas for language, literacy, science, art and play
  • features from some of the best play blogs, including Laughing Kids Learn, Picklebums, Babble Dabble Do, Rainy Day Mum, Lessons Learnt Journal, One Perfect Day and many more.

Three to Five Playful Preschool ebook - 25+ Playful Preschool Activities

Take a sneak peek at what’s inside with this video:

How do I get my copy? Gimme, gimme, gimme!

  • Okay, steady on! Three to Five: Playful Preschool  is an ebook. You can download your copy on any device (computer, tablet, phone) from anywhere in the world RIGHT NOW! You can print it on your printer at home, or read it straight from your phone, computer or tablet. I know, cool right?
  • get your copy for the awesome price of $8.99 (USD). Don’t worry about working out the exchange rate, it’s all done for you when you get your copy. You’re welcome :)
  • Just click on the button below to be whisked away to the checkout…

Three to Five Playful Preschool ebook - 25+ Playful Preschool ActivitiesHave fun playing :)

Multisensory Activities for Learning Letters

Multisensory Letter Writing Practice - Play dough letters {via Octavia and Vicky}

Multisensory Activities for Learning Letters {via Octavia and Vicky}

Pebble’s goal for the year is to learn to write and she’s been really keen to practice her letters. We’ve been practising lots of sounds and learning how to write them. One day I set up a bunch of different letter writing stations for her to practice the letter of the day. Now we set them up whenever she’s in the mood to practice. You can set them up easily at home too.

Multisensory Letter Writing Practice

Pipe cleaner letters

Make letters using pipe cleaners. Children might use one pipe cleaner to make each letter, or join pipe cleaners together.

Multisensory Letter Writing Practice - pipe cleaner letters {via Octavia and Vicky}

Play dough letters

Make letters by shaping and rolling dough. This helps to strengthen little fingers and hands, as well as learning the letter shape.

Multisensory Letter Writing Practice - Play dough letters {via Octavia and Vicky}

Salt letters

Write letters using fingers in salt. We used a small plastic container with a piece of coloured paper sticky taped to the bottom. This helped the letter to stand out clearly when it was traced in the salt. If you don’t have a salt tray try getting outside and tracing letters in the dirt or sand pit.

Multisensory Letter Writing Practice - Salt Tray Letters {via Octavia and Vicky}

Rainbow letters

Children use different coloured markers to trace over the letter repeatedly, until they have made a rainbow.  You could also paint rainbow letters with water colours.

Multisensory Letter Writing Practice - Rainbow Letters {via Octavia and Vicky}

Giant air letters

  1. Practice tracing letter shapes as large as you can in the air using one hand.
  2. Swap hands and trace letter shapes in the air as large as you can in the air again.
  3. Clasp both hands together and trace more giant letter shapes in the air.

Whiteboard letters

Write letters on a mini whiteboard or blackboard using chalk or whiteboard markers. We have this fancy light up board that Pebble got for her birthday. It’s called a Multi Flash Lights Writing Pad and Australian readers can buy one for just $8 at Kmart (not sponsored).

Multisensory Letter Writing Practice - Mini Whiteboards {via Octavia and Vicky}

Pebble letters

Pebble letters for Pebble! Children shape the letter out of pebbles or dried beans. For children who are struggling to form the shape you could draw it underneath first so that they may trace it.

Multisensory Letter Writing Practice - Pebble letters {via Octavia and Vicky}

All of these activities are also great for older children who are practising their spelling words.

Tips:

  • make sure children have correct pencil grip when writing using pencils, markers or other writing tools. Here’s a great video for teaching children pencil grip:

  • model the correct letter formation again and again, and provide lots of templates for tracing and practising.
  • make it into a game and have fun!

Do your children love practising their letters? Or is it like pulling teeth?

Want more fun ideas for kids? Just download your copy of the Three to Five Playful Preschool ebook. Watch the 30 second video and buy your copy now or find out more.


Three to Five Playful Preschool ebook - 25+ Playful Preschool Activities

Garden Treasures Play Dough

Garden Treasures Play Dough {via Octavia and Vicky}

Garden Treasures Play Dough {via Octavia and Vicky}

One of Pebble’s favourite things to do is collect treasures from the garden. There isn’t a day that goes by that I’m not finding her garden treasures in my pockets, her bags, on shelves and random containers around the house (even in the fridge!?!). They are very meaningful to her, and she pretends with them in lots of different ways. Sometimes they’re part of her fairy world, or perhaps ingredients for cooking, other times they are presents for her friends.

One gorgeous summer morning we took a basket out into the garden and had a hunt for garden treasures together. Pebble delighted in finding leaves, twigs, flowers, gum nuts and seed pods, chatting about them all the way. Colour was very important to her and she noticed the slightest variations in colour from leaf to leaf. We gathered flowers with tiny petals and the smallest gum nuts, then giant seed pods and miniature pine cones.

When we were all done with exploring we took our collection inside while we made some play dough. Together we poured, stirred, kneaded and rolled, until we had the perfect consistency of soft, pliable play dough, just begging to be played with. We took the play dough and garden treasures back outside and sat in the shade. Pebble started immediately ‘cooking’ with all her bits and pieces, creating a delicious dinner. Then her play segued into making a pot for holding flowers, one that dries hard (apparently), and placing flowers just so.

We kept the play dough and garden treasures and revisited them throughout the week, each time they took on new meaning through imagination and were added to with more garden treasures. It was lovely to see how the simplest ingredients lead to magical play and watch as it unfolded over time.

Garden Treasures Play Dough (No Cook)

Garden Treasures Play Dough {via Octavia and Vicky}

You will need:

  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1 cup salt
  • 1 tablespoon cream of tartar
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • approx. 2 cups boiling water
  • food colouring (if you like, we left ours natural)
  • garden treasures: twigs, leaves, pine cones, rocks, grass, flowers, seed pods, bark. Whatever you can find in your garden!

To make the play dough:

  • combine the dry ingredients
  • combine the water and oil (and food colouring if you’re using it) and stir into to the dry ingredients until a dough forms.
  • knead until smooth and stretchy (careful, the dough will be hot!)
  • store in an air tight container in the fridge.

Garden Treasures Play Dough {via Octavia and Vicky} Garden Treasures Play Dough {via Octavia and Vicky} Garden Treasures Play Dough {via Octavia and Vicky}

What’s the weirdest place you’ve found one of your kid’s collections in? Anyone else found gravel in their fridge?!

Want more fun ideas for kids? Just download your copy of the Three to Five Playful Preschool ebook. Watch the 30 second video and buy your copy now or find out more.


Three to Five Playful Preschool ebook - 25+ Playful Preschool Activities

Looking for more play inspiration?

Pretend Play Inspiration - 11 fun ideas {Octavia and Vicky}

Invitation to Play Picture Frames and Loose Parts