Celebrate National Play-Doh Day With This DIY Recipe!

PreschoolPlayDohFind your rolling pins and get ready to create—today is National Play-Doh Day! Play-Doh is a childhood classic—spaghetti, zoo animals, simple shapes, you’ve made them all—and even if you haven’t it’s never too late! After all, there’s no rule that says adults can’t play with Play-Doh.

Some adults, however, may not know the true power of Play-Doh, especially when it comes to early learners. For many young learners, what seems like simple playing to pass the time is actually integrally important to early childhood development—and the best part? As a parent, guardian, teacher, or friend you can expand on sensory play with your little one by using observation as a teachable moment.

Sensory play” is literally what it sounds like; an engaging activity that stimulates a child’s senses: touch, smell, taste, sight, and hearing. We asked Kimberly Clough, Administrator of the Preschool at the Boonshoft Museum, for ways parents can expand on simple sensory activities, “Observation is critical to all scientific discovery. Engaging children is crucial when it comes to their learning experiences. Turn off the cell phone, the television, and sit with your child and simply engage them at eye-level, ask them about what they are doing. Think about what the child is smelling, hearing, tasting, seeing, and feeling, ask them questions — then let the learning commence!”

Can you remember the moment you learned what “soft” felt like?  What about sticky?  Or what about different smells, and how to define them? Simple observations create a moment to share what you know with your child, which helps them learn!

Because we can’t end this post without some awesome experiments, below are not one, but TWO recipes for a simple salt dough and a Boonshoft Preschool Classic, cornstarch dough. Enjoy mixing your way to awesome sensory fun and observe away!

Color_Sphere_SectionCornstarch Sensory Dough (aka Oobleck)


1.5 – 2 c. Cornstarch
1 c. Water
A few drops of food coloring.

Mix ingredients into a bowl, then add the food coloring. Try mixing different colors so your young scientist can learn that mixing colors can make new colors on the color wheel!
Expand: To add to the sensory fun, use cornstarch and shaving foam in a 1:1 ratio!

homemade-playdough-2-webSalt Sensory Dough (Similar to Play-Doh)

1 c. Salt
1 c. lukewarm water
2 c. Flour
Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl, then slowly pour in water and mix. Your Play-Doh should be stored in an air tight container like a mason jar or plastic ware.
Expand: To add to the sensory fun you can add spices, glitter, and color to your salt dough. You can also turn your salt dough into a permanent craft creation by baking it in the oven at 2000F. To completely dry the dough out, it may need to be in the oven for a few hours, depending on the thickness of your creation. Once dry, you can have fun painting your salt dough to complete your permanent masterpiece!

Interested in different dough recipes? Click here.

See what else the Preschool at the Boonshoft Museum has in store by clicking here.


The Perks of Preschool

Professional educators, academic organizations, even politicians agree that the importance of early childhood education is paramount to the success of future generations. Preschool is at the top of a lot of parent’s minds, but unfortunately fewer than half of little learners in the US are enrolled in preschool. Not only does preschool provide countless benefits to a student’s academic career, it also provides an opportunity for our youngest students to enter into Kindergarten prepared.

It is estimated that nearly one-in-three students aren’t prepared to enter Kindergarten and almost half of children (44%) enter into Kindergarten with risk factors (like poverty) based on their home environment. Children with associated risk factors tend to score much lower on the Kindergarten readiness tests–especially in the areas of reading and mathematics. Preschool is a wonderful way to meet the challenge of getting your child ready for Kindergarten, coupled with parent participation and active learning experiences outside the classroom.

Because April is all about Early Childhood Education in Ohio, we hope that you will join us in promoting not only Kindergarten registration, but preschool enrollment as well!

How do I know if my child is ready for Kindergarten?

There are many wonderful organizations, both locally and across the country, that offer resources to help parents in making sure their children are meeting milestones and cultivating the skills they need in order to thrive in Kindergarten. Not sure if your little one is ready? Click here to visit 5 to Thrive’s website for a Kindergarten Readiness Check-Up.

Where is a good place to start?

Once you decide whether a charter school, private school, or local public school would be best for your child, visit their website or click here to learn more about the process of registering for Kindergarten.

I want my child to be prepared for Kindergarten, but I am still not sure about enrolling them in preschool.

Preschool is an investment in your child’s future and the dividends are limitless. Though it is a personal choice if/when you send your child to preschool, the benefits to starting your child’s educational journey as early as one year of age sets them up for a lifetime of achievement. Learn more about the Preschool at the Boonshoft Museum here.

To learn more about the perks of preschool view the infographic below or view this article from the experts at Parents.com.

  Preschool InfographicImage credit: EducationNews.org