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Posted by Casey

Today I want to share a super simple play dough activity perfect for developing fine motor skills with toddlers and preschoolers. But first, I want to share a little story about how this activity came about.

Play dough flower arrangement invitation | imaginative play for toddlers and preschool students | learning through play | hands-on play based learning | fine motor skills | Australian teachers, home schooling, tot school |

When my little boy was just a few weeks old, I had the most shocking day trying to juggle him and my toddler. Nothing was going right and neither of them would sleep. Feeling incredibly overwhelmed, I decided to pack them up and went for a drive. I ended up in the car park of KFC bawling my eyes out with two little ones FINALLY asleep in the back of the car. I messaged my husband to tell him that I was having THE worst day and felt pretty useless.

That afternoon, my thoughtful husband came home with the most beautiful bunch of flowers. We don’t often have fresh flowers in our house so I knew that I needed to make the most of them! As they started to droop, I decided to use them for a flower invitation!

Setting up the Play Dough Invitation

First I made a batch of brown play dough using the receipe below. I used my normal play dough recipe but added some trusty Parisian Essence to get the brown colour. It can make the dough a little oily though. Sometimes I experiment and add some extra flour until I get a consistency I like. This brown dirt play dough can be used for sooooo many different invitations to play…but that’s a whole other story!

  • 1 cup of plain flour
  • 1 cup of salt
  • 1 cup of boiling water
  • 1 tbsp of cream of tartar
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil
  • A splash of Parisian essence or brown food dye

Next I cut some of my flowers down and removed the leaves. There were a few artificial flowers in my craft cupboard so I got them out as well. Finally, I some small flower pots which I found at my local educational store on clearance – score! I laid them all out on a serving tray ready for my toddler to find.

Play dough flower arrangement invitation | imaginative play for toddlers and preschool students | learning through play | hands-on play based learning | fine motor skills | Australian teachers, home schooling, tot school |

The benefits

Play dough is a wonderful sensory material which also helps to develop motor skills. Your Little Learner will love squishing, squashing and rolling the play dough into different shapes. By pushing the play dough into the pots, they are developing their fine motor skills. As they arrange their flowers into the play dough, they are developing their hand-eye coordination and pincer grip which is an important skill needed for writing. You can take this activity a step further by creating your own florist for dramatic play!

Play dough flower arrangement invitation | imaginative play for toddlers and preschool students | learning through play | hands-on play based learning | fine motor skills | Australian teachers, home schooling, tot school |

This activity is really simple to set up but is sure to entertain your Little Learners for quite some time! If you use artificial flowers, you can keep coming back to this activity time and time again.

About the author

Casey is an early years teacher who passionate about supporting parents and educators that want to use play as way to connect with their little learners and create magical memories of childhood! You can follow Casey on Instagram right here.


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