Flower Dough

ontinuing our flower theme for this month, today we collected some more flowers in the front yard. I just want bear to mow the grass when there are so many treasures popping up right now. We collected some weeds, lilacs, tree bark, and clovers (the usual). We also found some interesting rocks. We gathered them all in a beautiful bowl and played with these elements outside. The girls decided to play “trick or treat” and took turns coming up to the stoop and collecting “candy”, which was these flowers we just gathered. So much fun! 

When the kids tired of pretend play we went inside for a lunch break. After some much-needed nourishment, they couldn’t wait to get back to the flowers we had brought inside. I gave them the divided bowl and let them separate all the flowers, bark and clovers, which they did pretty well. (Bonus: A great sorting activity! This bowl from Goodwill has been amazing and used over and over again!) Then we made some home-made play dough and added a little lavender to make it smell nice and the girls chose to make it pink. When the dough had cooled we went at it! Making “cookies,” the girls said, which was fitting for this activity. 

This activity was practically free! Since we collected found objects from the yard and we made the playdough with flour, water, salt and cream of tartar all of which we had on hand it easily one of my favorite activities. Can you tell by now? I love activities that are cheap/free and easy to set up and clean up. This fits the bill! I really enjoyed watching the girls press the flowers into their dough. Some girls gently picked up a flower, plucked the petals, and methodically placed it into the dough. Other girls grabbed handfuls of items and jammed it into their dough and kneaded it over and over again smooshing and smashing with great gross motor skills. 

Our finished products turned out pretty nice. The kids were so proud of their work and enjoyed showing them off. They could be dried out and kept but I don’t think the flowers would keep very well. I am trying to find a way to make these into keepsakes. If you have any idea, let me know! For the time being though, we put them in baggies and take them out for a few days until they are ready to be thrown away. This provides a great discussion too about how things get old and decay over time. We also talked about how the flowers wilt without water and eventually die as well. All of these activities are not only good for keeping your little ones busy but they provide so many other wonderful benefits. This activity, in particular, gave us a great connection to nature as we were outside observing as we hunted for our prize flowers. It was a sensory experience for the little ones to touch, feel, smell and search for everything we collected. Great physical play with gross and fine motor skills alike. Following directions, as we separated the elements we were using also. 

I’m not saying all of this to toot my own horn. I’m trying to encourage you that you don’t need some big, thought out project for your preschoolers to do in order to hit so many important developmental skills. Building these skills should be fun and easy. You can do it! Just get outside and have fun in nature. How do you keep your kids engaged in sensory activities?