Playdough in the Classroom

Engagement. Creativity. Interactive. These are three words that all educators strive to achieve while lesson planning. Additionally, these adjectives are essential for some of our littlest learners. Between missing home and learning acceptable school behavior, our littlest students deserve lessons they love. Furthermore, high-quality lessons are the best way for students to truly absorb the information. Therefore, teachers need to incorporate items that students love. For instance, incorporating playdough in the classroom is a key way to ensure our learners are engaged with the content. To combine engagement and academics, the Playdough Activities/Centers will be one's students always remember! 





Reasons to Incorporate Playdough into the Classroom 


Some may be unsure on the benefits of implementing playdough-based activities. For instance, some may be worried students will become too silly and not focus on the academics behind the lesson. Or, some may be concerned with the setup and clean-up of these activities. However, the benefits of working with playdough far outweigh any concerns there may be. 





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Fine Motor Focus 


When children are using play-dough activities, they are naturally improving their strength. For instance, children love to mold play dough into different shapes and designs. When they do this, they are increasing the muscle strengths in their hands. Furthermore, playdough requires children to flatten it, roll it, form it, and smash it. Whenever children do this, they are working the muscles in their bodies. Thankfully, these are the same muscles that children will use with pencil grasp, using scissors, and applying glue! Thus, play dough activities help children gain the strength that is needed for other academic skills. 





Hands-On & Interactive 


Playdough is fun for any age! Children love working with their hands, so playdough is always exciting. For instance, students can mold it into different letters and numbers. Furthermore, students can also use play dough to form different shapes. They can even practice colors and counting! Ultimately, playdough allows all children to stay engaged and active in the lesson. 


Centers


Playdough is so versatile. Hence, it can be used in so many ways! For example, it can be used with centers. Here, students are working on a specific skill at each spot. For instance, one center may have an academic focus where students spell their names with play dough. Then, at another center, students may focus on creativity and design something fun. Ultimately, this is a great way to build cooperation skills as students are sharing tools and ideas! 





If you are looking for some great ideas, be sure to check out Playdough Activities/Centers! It is a growing bundle filled with activities students will love. Specifically, it includes prep, set up, and directions for students to practice letters, CVC words, and Sight Words. Numbers will even be added soon! It even includes printable mats for each student to use. Even better, with lamination or a protective sheet, the mats can be used year to year! 


Independent Work or Early Finisher 


Since every child is different, they finish work at different rates. Additionally, some may need more help while others need less help. Therefore, play dough is the perfect activity to have set up for independent work or for early finishers. To do this, have a table ready that students can go to and work with a playdough mat. Thankfully, there are so many options in the Playdough Activities/Centers resource! This is a great way to keep the classroom quiet while everyone is focused! 


Playdough should not only be something students love to use at home. Truly, it offers so many benefits to children in the classroom! Whether looking for fun centers or independent work, there are so many ways to incorporate playdough into activities. Ultimately, playing with playdough helps ensure students are engaged while being super focused!





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Sensory Bins



When teachers were in school themselves, they may remember completing lots of worksheets and listening to the teacher talk. While there was an occasional hands-on activity, they were typically only around holidays. While this education led to so many great teachers, it is not the education that the leaders of the world deserve. Our students deserve to have endless smiles in the classroom as they complete hands-on activities every single week. One incredible way to do this is to incorporate sensory bins into the classroom. They are fun for teachers to prepare and a blast for students to use! 


sensory bins

What are sensory bins?


Sensory bins are tubs or containers filled with carefully selected materials and objects based upon the purpose. These bins are often used to explore different senses, such as sight, hearing, touch, and smell. Therefore, the selected materials will be based upon the overall goal of the sensory bins.


Why Should Teachers Use Sensory Bins?


Sensory bins are incredible for so many reasons. First, they allow time for children to explore different materials that help make them aware of their different senses. Second, they are the perfect way to improve cooperative play in the classroom. Sensory bin activities allow children to practice sharing while communicating and interacting with others. Third, sensory bin activities help improve fine motor skills. This is due to the fact that sensory bins require stirring, pouring, scoping, or grasping. Additionally, children will practice using different tools, such as cups, shovels, and tongs. Ultimately, sensory bins help children practice so many skills without even realizing it. They create a remarkable learning experience! 


sensory bins


How to Implement Sensory Bin Activities 


As with so many aspects in the classroom, there are multiple ways to incorporate sensory bins


  1. Small Groups: The ideal group size at a sensory bin is 2 to 4 children. With this size, everyone is getting the opportunity to explore. Thus, this helps promote sharing and equality among group members. Additionally, be sure to change these groups often in order to help students learn to share and interact with all classroom members.  


  1. Sensory Bin Centers: Whenever adding new activities into the classroom, it can be stressful to find the right time to add them to lesson plans. However, sensory bins are the perfect addition to the classroom centers. They keep students so engaged and focused, which means the teacher can work with a small group at another station. 


sensory bins



  1. Independent Work: Students all finish work at a different speed. Therefore, having a few sensory bins always ready means that early finishers will always have something to work on. 





Ways to Organize Sensory Bins 


While putting sensory bins together may seem time-consuming, it is actually very simple! Here are some tips that will lead to great success. 


  1. Strong Filler Items: When organizing sensory bins themselves, it is so important to have the right filler. For example, colored noodles, rice, water beads, kinetic sand, and shredded paper all work great. Teachers can even use seasonally-specific materials, such as pine cones or Easter basket grass. When selecting the filler, keep in mind what the sensory box will contain. For example, if adding in puffballs, kinetic sand may stick to them too much. However, colored noodles will work out great! One of the best parts of sensory bins is how versatile they can be. 


sensory bins


  1. Fine Motor Focus: When creating bins, think about the materials that will be used. Then, think about what fine motor skills students can really work on with those materials. For example, using funnels to put sand in salt and pepper shakers is a great way to practice scooping and pouring. Additionally, tongs work great to practice picking up larger items, such as alphabet magnets and letter cards. Furthermore, measuring cups are an excellent tool to use, especially when needing to move the filler around.


  1. Student Focus: Sometimes, sensory bins can serve as the best reset for students. For example, when creating kindergarten sensory bins, there can be ones that are simply there to help students have a mental break. Then, students can rejoin a lesson ready to focus. Or, there can be academic sensory bins. For instance, the bin can be filled with different numbers and letters. Then, students can draw out two numbers to complete an addition problem. Or, they can draw out the letters in their name! There are so many ways to benefit students when incorporating sensory bins in the classroom. 



Sensory Bin Monthly Bundle


Now, it is understandable to be worried about planning all different types of sensory bins. Teachers already have so much on their plate. Thus, it is okay to feel like you would run out of time at creating new, exciting sensory bins. However, the solution to that problem is easy! The Sensory Bin Monthly Bundle is filled with different sensory bins to use each month!



In keeping the teacher budget in mind, each month has cards that can be printed and laminated. The cards are filled with academic content, such as numbers, letters, colors, shapes, and word building. Then, the cards can be placed into tubs filled with seasonal goodies for students to feel and explore. Filler items can be purchased at low cost using the Target Dollar Spot, dollar stores, craft stores, and using simple items around the home. In order to see what students are working on, there are even worksheets included. Sensory bins will come to life with this purchase! 


Sensory bins have so many uses in the classroom. Whether looking for something that promotes teamwork and sharing or something that improves academics, sensory bins are truly the answer! There are so many uses in order to keep lessons exciting, engaging, and hands-on. Your students will love being in the classroom when completing these fun activities! 


If you do not want to miss any of the upcoming lessons, join my email list to be notified of all the interactive lessons coming up! By joining the email list, you will also receive freebies for blog exclusive subscribers! 



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