Exploring with Play Dough

At Little Wonders, our philosophy is inspired by the Reggio Emilia Philosophy.  The environment is thought of as a third teacher, and materials are meant to inspire and provoke the children to investigate and explore.  Careful attention is spent on choosing and presenting the materials to the children.

We have noticed their interest in clay and playdough, so we have been providing the children with opportunities to use their creativity in exploring and familiarizing themselves with this material.  While they are actively using the dough, we engage in conversation to help the children count, recognize colors, understand texture, spell, etc.  This way, the knowledge that they are gaining is more dynamic rather than being memorized.

The children have the freedom and time to explore the material how ever they choose.  They can use what materials they like rather than have the teacher direct how they use them.  Studies suggest that direct instruction inhibits children’s natural curiosity and their ability to learn.

We provide the children with opportunities to make their own theories, and be proud of what they create…….

She counted, stacked, created imprints in the dough, and in the end showed off how proud she was of what she made!

 “Mommy” took a lot of hard work to make ;0)  She talked about “Mommy” the whole time she made her.  She carefully chose materials to put in the dough, placed them, rearranged them, and made sure each one had it’s own space.  There was purpose behind each item she placed in the dough.
 Here is her finished piece………….”Mommy”.

He tried, and tried, and tried to manipulate this leaf into the dough, but continued to be unsuccessful. ;0)  In the end, he threw the leaf down and enjoyed playing with the dough and manipulating it in his hands….

This child was proud of the marks he made in the dough using the lid.  He continued to press over and over again, making sure to get the teachers looked at every new mark he made.

He framed his impressions with the plastic plants.  He made his own frame for his artwork! ;0)  His final piece is here!  And he made sure to add the lid, his favorite tool for this creation.


Every day, we continue to watch the children as they use the materials and follow their lead in telling us in what ways they want to explore with the dough.  They are enjoying making impressions and using the lids.  We continue to give them materials to push their creativity, while incorporating lessons on math, reading, colors, etc.

They are fine tuning their fine motor skills, and extending the length of their attention spans.  We invite our parents to participate in providing materials that you think the children could enjoy with this project.  Many things around our houses could provide hours of fun investigation by the children.

 And we do appreciate the little ones who love to help keep our areas clean ;0)  The children have been getting better and better at cleaning up after our project work.

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