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The Open School of Creative Arts

The Open School of Creative Arts
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Counting with Playdough

This is a super simple learning activity that can be adapted in many ways to suit different ages and stages. The best thing about this activity is that Jake, my 3.5 year old instigated it himself. :)
I had got some playdough out for Jake, and I left him cutting out tree shapes for a couple of minutes, while I made a drink and read Poppy a story. I came back to find him with his number train on the table and he was counting out the playdough trees in correspondence with the numbers! I thought it was brilliant! I left him to it for a while, but he soon ran out of trees and asked me to make some more for him.
So we cut out some more trees and started the activity again. To count out from 1 - 10 you will need 55 pieces. That's a lot of playdough trees, I can tell you! 
Jake diligently counted out the playdough pieces, placing them carefully in lines on the table.
Great for fine motor control too, Jake obviously enjoyed creating the visual representations of numbers and seeing how much larger the lines got as the numbers got bigger.
Make sure you leave a lot of space for the lines. We started to run out of space and had to try and shift the whole thing backwards, which is a little tricky without squishing the playdough.
He finally got to the end and was very pleased with himself; he said it was "hard work!".
For older children you could extend this activity to do addition and subtraction, and graphing. For preschoolers you could use playdough to sort, order, match and spot the differences. 

Have your kids ever come up with any activities by themselves? 

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