Farm Animal Play Dough Exploration

Farm animals are always a huge hit with young children and a great way to capture their interest.

Today I’m sharing a few simple ideas you can try to start learning-inspired conversations with your kids. All you need is some farm animals and play dough!

Farm Animal Play Dough Exploration for preschool
Disclosure: Amazon links included below.

The play dough that I made a few weeks ago was the perfect color for this afternoon activity! We had great fun pretending it was grass.

We took the cow, goat, pig, and the bunch of horses and compared their footprints in the play dough. My eldest said he was tracking the animals.

farm animal tracks in play dough

We had horses galloping through the play dough! If you had some chickens or ducks, you could compare the prints and talk about animals’ feet. This is definitely going to be my next play dough extension activity.

farm animal tracks in dough

Another great thing I found the kids enjoyed was matching up the plastic animals to their play dough imprints.

farm animal imprints in play dough

You simply make a ball of play dough, flatten it, press the plastic animal down firmly, and remove. The kids find the matching farm animals by whichever fits or looks like the imprint. Great for developing visual recognition and matching skills.

farm animal mold in play dough

It turns out that our play dough farm was more a horse ranch than an ordinary farm. The horses outnumber the other animals 5 to 1! Also, if you have more than one of each farm animal, you can count them! For our horses we compared their coat colors.

play dough horse ranch

I hope you found this idea fast to set up and a super simple way to make learning meaningful and fun.

Another item we love to use in our small world play is our DIY fencing made from popsicle sticks, they would go great with this play dough activity.

Have fun playing!

nicciBIO: Do visit Nicolette on her blog at Powerful Mothering. She loves to share simple and easy crafts, activities, printables, and learning ideas for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers! She is also the author of: Rice Play and 99 Fine Motor ideas for Ages 1-5.

More great farm theme ideas—
Farm Small World Sensory Play
Preschool Farm Theme Books
Chicken Life Cycle Cards
Farm Animal Counting Activity

Farm Theme Pinterest Board
Follow my Farm Theme Pinterest Board for more great ideas!

Summer Reading and Activity Bingo

Do you like to send ideas and activities home with your students at the end of the school year? Today I’m sharing a printable summer reading bingo and printable summer activity bingo for preschool and kindergarten.

The summer bingo printables are designed specifically with young children in mind. They include age-appropriate books from the most popular children’s authors that can be checked out at the local library as well as fun, age-appropriate activities they can do inside and outdoors during the summer months.

Summer Reading Activities for Preschoolers

Printable Summer Reading Bingo


Instead of sending home busy work this summer, try sending home these bingo printables that will help parents and children create fun summer memories that will last a lifetime!

Send this printable summer reading bingo home with your kids on the last day of school to encourage families to visit the library.

Parents can help children locate the appropriate square on the sheet and children can color or mark the space with crayons, markers, or bingo daubers.

Printable Summer Bingo for Preschool and Kindergarten

Printable Summer Activity Bingo


Young children will enjoy drawing with sidewalk chalk and blowing bubbles outdoors on warm summer days, or baking cookies and making play dough indoors with an adult on a rainy day.

You could even print out recipes for homemade bubbles, sidewalk chalk, or play dough and attach them to the bingo sheets you send home with your students.

Summer Bingo

More End of the Year Resources:
Printable Forget Me Not Seed Packet Gift
Printable Beach Bucket Tags
Field Day Ideas for Preschoolers

Preschool Graduation Pinterest Board
Follow my End of the Year board on Pinterest for more great ideas!

Ocean Play Dough Surprise Game

Combine play dough with ocean creatures to give your little ones a fun surprise! You can even add an alphabet twist for children who are ready.

This hands-on activity is an awesome way to get children excited to learn about the ocean, and I found that my own children wanted to do it over and over again.

Ocean Play Dough Surprise Game
Disclosure: Amazon links included below.

Play dough has to be one of the most exciting and enticing activities ever, so I love to use it. Children who love to touch and feel constantly get great benefits from play dough, and I think it’s just therapeutic for everyone involved. This particular activity will help get those little fingers moving to strengthen those important hand muscles.

If you decide your children would benefit from using alphabet beads, your little ones will also enjoy practicing beginning letter sounds of the sea creatures. I found that even the children who are not typically interested in letter sounds engaged with the letter beads and were super excited to find a match.

Ocean Play Dough Game for preschool

Setting up the Activity

To set up this activity, I rolled sea creatures inside some play dough. Then I added letter beads to the middle of the tray with the matching letter sounds that each animal name began with.

I made the letter beads out of giant glass beads from the dollar store. With glitter glue I wrote the letters and let them dry overnight. You could easily substitute any other type of letter bead or manipulative. We have some wooden ones and plastic ones that would have worked as well.

Ocean Play Dough Surprise

Now for the surprise!

In a small group or one-on-one, invite children to choose a play dough ball. They can break open the ball and discover what is inside.

I heard lots of “oooohs” and “ahhhhs” at this point. Name the animal (or listen as the child names it.) Then help the child roll the ball back up and place the sea creature on it. Invite the child to pick out the matching letter bead and put on the play dough ball. One of my students, who typically finds letter sounds to be a struggle, quickly mastered this activity and said, “This is so fun! I want to do it again!” Talk about winning a teacher’s heart!

Ocean Play Dough Match

I hope you and your class enjoy this fun and surprising sensory and literacy activity as much as we did!

BIO: Katie writes at Preschool Inspirations and has been teaching and administrating preschool and early childhood programs for a total of 14 years. She has enjoyed working in centers as well as her own private preschool where her own two children attend. She is passionate about hands-on activities and learning through play, and she also has a strong background in the infant and toddler years. You can connect with Katie through Facebook or Pinterest.

Here are more ideas for an Ocean Theme
Ocean Picture Books for Preschoolers
Alphabet Shells Sensory Bin
Ocean Theme Counting Activity
Ocean Sensory Bin

Ocean Theme Pinterest Board
Follow my Ocean Theme Pinterest Board for more great ideas!