Make beachy, creamy coconut-scented play dough for fun summer learning.
Play dough is a staple in my kindergarten classroom. We use it during center time for free play, during literacy stations to roll out letters or stamp letters into the dough, and in our art area to create sculptures. Play dough provides a great opportunity for young children to develop their small motor skills by using their hands to roll, pinch and push the dough.
The play dough table is always popular, especially at the beginning of each new month when we make an extra-large batch of a seasonally appropriate play dough. Pumpkin Spice play dough in the fall and peppermint play dough in December are two of my personal favorites. Here is a fun idea for bringing the beach to your kitchen table this summer!
This recipe is great for 1 or 2 kids (teachers, triple the recipe if you are making it for a classroom). Store the play dough in an airtight container or Ziploc bag for up to 1 month.
If your child is a collector, this is a great time to use their shell, rock or sand collections. A small handful of each type of item is all you need to get started.
Set out your play dough and other materials on a flat, protected surface. If you want to be sure the play dough stays contained in a small area, a plastic or laminated placemat will help your child know where their creations need to be built.
Have conversations with your child about their work as they're creating. I always try to phrase my questions and statements in an open-ended way. I usually start with "Tell me what you're working on." This gets kids talking about their creations using descriptive language. Don't forget to help your child recognize sensory details as well. Discuss the smell of the coconut, the texture of the shells, and the colors of the sea glass. Be creative, have fun, and talk about the sensory and artistic experience! You can even play some relaxing ocean music in the background to make it feel like a day at the beach!
Be sure to check the edges of the pieces of sea glass to make sure they won’t cut your child. Broken seashells can also be sharp! Take care when setting this activity up for children and remind them to be careful as they play and create.