Need a fun play dough activity for your Earth Day theme? Your little learners will love exploring with this fun Earth Day play dough tray. This play dough activity is the perfect addition to an Earth Day unit or celebration in your classroom. Your Preschool or Pre-K students will have a blast exploring and creating with this hands-on Earth Day play dough activity!
Celebrating Earth Day In Preschool
In April, it’s a wonderful idea to have an Earth Day theme in your classroom! There are so many Earth Day activities you can use to celebrate Earth Day and build your students’ appreciation towards planet Earth.
Whether its through singing an Earth day song, or like this activity using play dough.
Earth Day Play Dough
Let’s set the record straight, shall we? Play dough is not just for fun, it provides plenty of academic value as well as educational benefits for young children.
You see, when you provide your little learners with opportunities to use play dough daily, you’re providing them with opportunities to develop important creativity and fine motor skills in fun and playful ways. Just rolling dough and pressing gems and sticks into the dough has educational benefits for young children.
You’ll find a list of how playing with play dough supports academic learning at the end of this post.
Earth Day Play Dough Supplies
The following is a list of supplies you may find helpful when setting up a fun and inviting Earth Day play dough invitation in your own classroom.
- blue play dough (see my favorite homemade playdough recipe here)
- green play dough
- rolling pins
- blue gems (dollar store)
- chip and dip tray
- dough extruders
- cookie cutters
These are just some suggestions to get you started, you can use whichever supplies you prefer or have readily available in your classroom.
Earth Play Dough Invitation Set Up
Start by setting up your Earth Day play dough invitation on a chip and dip tray. You can usually find these types of chip and dip trays at your local dollar store. While these trays are visually appealing, but you can use any tray or flat container you have available.
Here’s the thing about play dough invitations, they’re supposed to be open-ended experiences. There isn’t a right or wrong way to use the materials on the tray. To start, just invite your little learners to explore the materials on the tray.
As children begin to interact with the play dough and materials on the tray, their creativity and imaginations will begin to take over. We know that when young children are engaged in activities that invite them to be creative and use their imaginations, their attention spans will naturally start to expand. Think about how much your kids can benefit from increased attention spans!
If you’re wondering what you should do if your students are using only some of the materials and not others — the answer is simple, let them to choose!
When your kids are playing with dough it should be an open-ended activity without any set expectations. If your kids start mixing the colors (gasp!) it’s not a problem because it’s all about the process of creating with the materials, and has nothing to do with making Pinterest perfect earths.
When you allow your kids the freedom to choose what to do with the dough and materials — you’ll be surprised at how creative they can be when given a chance!
Learning with Play Dough
Here’s that list of educational benefits of play dough I promised you earlier — enjoy!
Creativity – Children use their imaginations to create rather than follow a template or sample. Imaginative children are more likely to become problem solvers later in life.
Communication Skills – Children can talk with their classmates in a relaxed environment which facilitates oral language development. Oral language development is directly related to reading scores later.
Small Group or Independent Work – Dough is perfect for young children to use independently, or in a small group.
Fine Motor Skills – Rolling the dough, pressing in gems and other materials is great for strengthening those important fine motor skills your kids will need for writing later.