May 16, 2011

Learning Tools: Play Dough for Sight Words

     Play dough is a must at our house. We try to make a new batch each week (that’s if things go as planed). We make a new color each week to reinforce colors. I add different smells and textures to it, use different cookie cutters and try different activities. I really like it when I can find a learning tool that is VERY cheap to make,  easy to clean up and “safe” for Bean (who puts EVERYTHING in her mouth still).  This recipe for play dough is one I used in high school for child development class. I have been using it almost 12 years and I’m still in LOVE (doesn’t stick to carpet as bad as the store stuff).
You will need:
1 Cup Flour
1/2 Cup Salt
1 Tablespoon Oil
1 Tablespoon Cream of Tarter (found in the baking isle)
1 Cup Water
     You add everything to your pan, mix. Turn to medium heat and stir occasionally. The dough will start to pull away from your pan. It starts having a different appearance, trust me it’s hard to describe but you will see it. Once the whole glob has changed colors, dump it out of the pan, let it sit for a few minutes to cool and kneed. All done. If you want color you add food color when adding ingredients to the pan, same with any smells. I use vanilla, orange, mint, lemon and root beer extracts, add a little at a time. If you want any extra textures you can add those later, I have used sand and sea salt so far (still looking for more, any suggestions?). I also frequently use glitter, that I add at the beginning. NOTE: the dough WILL stick to your pan, plan on soaking for a few hours.
Here are a few things that we do with the play dough:
IMG_3736We write his sight words on paint chip cards (he love to pick the colors) and then he pushes the cookie cutters into the play dough to form the sight word.
IMG_3738Boo loves to just write his sight words into the play dough.
IMG_3746He uses a plastic knife to cut the letters into the play dough.
IMG_3752We have a tub of smashed marbles, marbles, river washed rocks, and buttons that he can smash into the dough to form his sight words.
IMG_3754I got this idea from 1+1+1=1 . She has a PDF that is downloadable for sight words using play dough. We are currently using a different set of sight words and Boo does just fine without using a printout, so we don’t use it right now.
     How do you practice your sight words? Which list do you use?

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