Thursday, 6 September 2012

Play Dough Placemats ~ Fall Craft/Activity

I think I've mentioned Ella's love of (and Harrison's love of eating) play dough before.  If you missed it, believe me when I say my kids LOVE play dough.  We were lucky enough to inherit some season-themed cookie cutters/stamps from Aunt Michelle.  Since we already had a bunch of cookie cutters, we decided to use these for play dough.  It was, ultimately, a great decision.  Sometimes it's hard for young kids to think of things to make with play dough, so the cutters/stamps have been a lot of fun for Ella.

While we were at the Early Years Centre this summer, we encountered a neat play dough activity.  There were various placemats with a word at the top and an outline of the corresponding picture at the bottom of the page (ie.  the word dog at the top and an outline of a dog at the bottom).  They were so cool and I figure probably expensive and hard to find in the store. 

This was my inspiration for today's post.  I decided to use the Fall/Halloween themed cutters/stamps to make our very own play dough placemats!  This activity is meant to help children learn letter shapes and word structure.  The idea is for the child to use the cutter/stamp to make the picture shape and match it up with the placemat.  They would then use their hands to roll the playdough into 'snakes' to create the letters for each word.

The completed project!

Let's get started...

Firstly, you will want to pull out (or buy if you have none) your Fall/Halloween themed playdough cutters/stamps.  We only have four that fit into this category - but that is plenty for a three-year-old.

Ghost, Devil and Pumpkin stamps with leaf cutter
Next you want to trace each of the above onto a piece of paper and cut them out.  I outlined each shape with a black marker first.  You will also want to use your computer (I used MS Word) to make large printouts of each word.  You may need to use the WordArt feature to make the text large enough.  Also, click 'outline' in the font section, so you only see the outline of each letter.

After you've printed all the words, cut them out.  It would look much better if you cut out each individual letter, but my hands were aching just at the thought of it.  

Next, you will need some construction paper or cardstock to glue your words and shapes onto.  I tried to use some fall colours to correspond with the theme of this project.  It would also be nice to find some card stock with Fall or Halloween detailing, or to decorate with more pictures of your own.  There is a lot you can do to decorate these placemats!

Once everything is glued in place, it's time to laminate.  I used this self-sealing laminating paper which is wonderful.  It is very sturdy - perfect for placemats!

Here is the completed pumpkin placemat...

I know, you want to see these placemats in action - right?

Cut out the play dough shape
Use the play dough to make each letter

We have tons more stamps/cutters for Christmas and Easter - I plan to be busy with play dough this year!

Thanks for reading :D

PS - I've linked up this project.  Check out these link parties to see some more amazing projects!

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