Whether you need a toddler or preschooler activity for home or classroom, don’t forget the many benefits of a simple playdough tray. A playdough tray can be used to focus on the season with spring themes such as garden and rabbit. You can easily add educational concepts like numbers or letters.
Materials Used for the Spring Playdough Tray
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- Playdough (make traditional no-cook playdough … see recipe below (what I typically use), lotion playdough (super easy for kids to make and extra gentle on kids’ hands but doesn’t last as long), or buy playdough
- Divided Tray (mine was from The Dollar Tree, but you can get similar trays on Amazon)
- Play-Doh Numbers
- Spring Cookie Cutters
- Safari Ltd. Flowers TOOB
- Safari Ltd. Good Luck Minis Garden Fun Pack
- Playdough Tools (such as the Melissa & Doug tools, which I often use)
- Miniature Clay Pot
- Bunny Easter Eggs (I’m not sure where I got mine, but similar ones are available on Amazon)
- 2 Cup Round Container for Playdough (fill with playdough and save remainder of playdough in a plastic bag or other container)
How to Make No-Cook Playdough
This is my favorite playdough recipe. It lasts for months, and it’s easy to prepare. I prefer playdough recipes that don’t involve cooking on the stove. It’s less of a hassle, and young children can take a more active role in the playdough-making process. I do add the boiling water, stir, and knead the playdough while it’s still hot. Then the playdough is ready for use (unless the child prefers to mix it more first).
- 2 cups all-purpose flour (regular or gluten-free)
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil (vegetable oil works, too)
- 1/2 cup salt
- 1 tablespoon cream of tartar (not essential but helps the playdough last longer)
- boiling water (2 cups or less; add gradually to see how much you need; I typically use about 1¾ cups boiling water)
- food color (I use Wilton gel food colors)
- a few drops of glycerine if desired for shine (glycerine is also great for making giant bubbles)
- add optional ingredients such as ground cinnamon (for apple pie scent), glitter, or essential oils
- Mix together the flour, salt, cream of tartar, oil, and glycerin (if desired).
- Stir food coloring into the boiling water.
- Add boiling water gradually to the other ingredients.
- Stir until well mixed but still sticky.
- After cooling, knead on a cutting or pastry board until stickiness is gone (add more flour if needed).
- Knead in ingredients such as cinnamon, glitter, or essential oils.
Simple Spring Playdough Activities
My 3-year-old granddaughter, Zoey, loves playdough. I try to always have at least one playdough tray available.
I don’t typically guide the activities in a playdough tray. It’s a perfect tray to have on the shelves for children to use without presentation.
Using a variety of materials that fit with the seasonal theme give lots of options for creativity and fine-muscle work. The squeezing, pressing, and molding involved in playdough work strengthens fingers and hands for writing.
Zoey LOVES the Safari Ltd. Good Luck Minis. I added the Good Luck Minis Garden Fun Pack to the spring playdough tray by hiding the minis in the plastic bunny Easter eggs. Zoey had lots of fun finding the minis and adding them to the playdough garden scene she created.
I always add seasonal cookie cutters to a basic playdough tray. This time I used a rabbit cookie cutter to fit with my garden and rabbit theme (a variation of the Peter Rabbit story).
More Montessori-Inspired Playdough Activities for Spring
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