One Duck Stuck by Phyllis Root is one of our favorite counting books! A duck gets stuck in the muck by the pond. Other animals attempt to come to his rescue in increasing numbers. Kids love the rhymes in the story, too!
After reading One Duck Stuck by Phyllis Root, you can bring this book to life for preschool children by creating your very own “muck” for sensory play. Our kids loved helping to mix up this sensory recipe as much as exploring its properties.
You will need:
- 1 and 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 1/2 cup cocoa
- 1 cup water
- Animal figures
Mix the cornstarch and cocoa together; add water. Stir or whisk until the muck is blended well.
We are adapting a traditional recipe for oobleck which is a non-newtonian fluid. It pours and oozes like a liquid but acts as a solid when pressure is added. Cocoa makes the oobleck into the perfect muck-like mud mixture, yet all ingredients are edible if you have children who are still tasting during sensory exploration.
We added our duck first. At first the weight of the toy kept the duck on the surface of the muck, but slowly he started to sink in (just like in the book)! Sticking the animals into the muck and pulling them back out to save them are fantastic playful fine motor practice!
The children loved saying his line from the book (“Help! Help! Who can help?”) as we added the other animal helpers in order.
If you don’t have all the correct animal figures or enough for the counting that takes place in the story, don’t worry! Use whatever animals you have. Count the animals you have added to the muck.
You could present this sensory invitation to play with only one rubber duck, or you could add magnetic numbers to the muck for added math practice. Children won’t be able to resist this activity even if you simply make the chocolate oobleck mud!
Another early childhood education concept taught in this book is rhyme. When I’m reading One Duck Stuck to our kids, I love to stop before I finish the rhyme to see if they can guess the correct word. You can incorporate this same idea into your sensory play experience by asking kids to name rhyming words for each animal as you add them to the muck.
Enjoy the fun as you play with the muck, the duck, and the rhymes!
BIO: Devany LeDrew is a former kindergarten teacher who writes at Still Playing School where she shares play based learning activities. She specializes in fine motor activities and has co-authored the book 99 Fine Motor Ideas! Follow Still Playing School for more engaging educational ideas on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter.