One thing I know for sure is there is nothing more thrilling to students than Play-Doh. I mean, I COMPLETELY understand their excitement, it’s squishy, stretchy, smelly. ALL. THE. FUN. SENSORY. THINGS! That’s why I am such a fan of using it in the classroom, even if it’s messy. Play-doh can play a huge role in keeping the kids engaged and there are so many different ways it can be used in your daily lesson plans.
Today, I want to share with you my top 5 ways to use play-doh in the classroom. I hope this inspires you to break out the play-doh and have some fun with your students this Spring!
Finding the Missing Number
Students will love channeling their inner hulk with this Play-Doh missing numbers math activity. Here’s how it works–> To find the missing number, students roll out balls of play-doh to represent the sum. Then, students smash down the given addend. Students see that the missing number is the amount of play-doh left standing. Easy peasy!
This is probably one of my faves because it’s just so stinkin’ easy for the kiddos AND so much fun! I mean, how cute are those little cubes! Very simply–> Students use play-doh to create 3D shapes. Students roll up balls of play-doh for the vertices. Students use pipe cleaners for the edges. Students connect the play-doh and pipe cleaners to create a 3D shape. Then students describe the attributes of that shape. Done and done!
Telling Time with Play-Doh Hands
Okay, so I’ll admit, this isn’t exactly a critical skill for the kids to use BUT it sure is cool to do! Make learning ‘time’ a bit more exciting by adding play-doh to the mix. Two simple steps–> Students roll out play-doh to create the minute and hour hands. Students move the clock hands as they are creating different times on their clocks. Pro Tip: Be sure to mix up the colors to make it easier to distinguish between the hour versus minute hands!
You may be familiar with this concept. Many of us use the rolled play-doh balls technique in which students make balls of play-doh to build the array, then smash down as they are counting to find the product. But have you ever rolled out a slab of play-doh and had the students use their pencil erasers to create arrays?! Pressing down gently, students create arrays then they can find the products. The slab approach makes it a little less messy, thank goodness!
Composing Shapes with Play-Doh
I LOVE this activity! Students get the chance to be little artists (or potters, maybe?) That may be a stretch, Ha! But seriously, this activity allows students the opportunity to see how different shapes can be created using other shapes! Here’s the gist–> Students compose shapes by stamping pattern blocks into the play-doh. Once the pattern blocks are removed students can see the shape that was created.
These are just a few of the MANY ways to use play-doh in the classroom. The possibilities are endless and definitely a lot of fun for the students. If you’re interested in learning more ways to use play-doh in the classroom or if you have some ideas you’d like to share, let me know in the comments below!
Also, stay tuned. This is the first round of a series of posts all about using household items in the classroom. I can’t wait to share more!
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