Fifteen years of teaching has taught me to be prepared. There will be days when you have no voice, or no energy, but you don’t want to waste that precious contact time. Alternatively, you will have days when you need to stay home, and you need activities that a sub can use. Often we can’t get a music teacher to cover our lessons, so we need to be extra creative in planning a meaningful learning experience for our students when we are absent.
Playdough centers work in both situations! They are a great choice for your early childhood classes, whether they are music or not, because there are so many things at play when children use playdough.
First of all, children love playdough: squeezing, squishing, poking, rolling, shaping, twisting… It’s a tactile dream come true. But in addition to that, playing with dough offers a ton of sensory and developmental opportunities, including but not limited to:
- working fine motor skills that are essential for pre-writing muscle development
- developing shape sense, size sense, which are important mathematics skills
- strengthening hands and fingers, preparing for holding pencils, manipulating scissors, buttoning and zipping clothes, using silverware, etc.
- providing a calming effect through squeezing, similar to using a stress ball
- engaging tactile sensory system through hands-on manipulation
- developing creativity, imagination, and symbolic thinking (also because the students inevitably make other things with the dough)
- engaging language through discussion and explanation as students create together
- improving hand-eye coordination when recreating a shape
Want to try it? Just print and laminate this set of musical playdough mats, and you are ready to go! The playdough mat pack includes my go-to recipe for a long-lasting homemade playdough. The kids will ask for it again and again, and because they can do it independently, I am free to wander, observe, and engage in discussions about the symbols and where we see them in music.No voice? No energy? Print and laminate playdough mats for a fun music learning center! #earlychildhood #pypmusic #homeschool Click To Tweet
What other easy centers do you use in your classroom?