Friday Fun Day: Play Dough Pasta Press
More often than not, my inner teacher gets the best of me. If you didn’t already know, teaching is my day job, and I carry it pretty much everywhere with me. I can’t help but smile (or cringe) at every kid in the grocery store or at the park. My teaching has a pretty strong influence on me at home as a wife and mom, as well. I don’t always have as much patience with my own kid as I’d like after a long day with my students, but the one thing I am really grateful for is feeling that being a preschool teacher has really prepared me for success as a toddler mom. I’ve got a pretty sizable bag of tricks, and now that Noah is well beyond the one year mark, I felt it was really time to start “bringing work home with me” in the sense of creating some structure and providing more learning opportunities throughout my son’s day-to-day routine. Thus, I welcome you to Friday Fun Day, a new regular segment where I’d like to share a fun learning activity for any fellow mamas or teachers to try with your toddlers or students. Even though I have access to lots of materials through my classroom, I consider myself the queen of keep it simple stupid, so for the majority of these activities, I promise you’ll have most of the materials on hand and I’ll keep things easy to DIY. All that being said, let’s jump into the first Friday Fun Day!
The first developmental domain I want to tackle is one that can often become troublesome as toddlers age: Fine Motor Skills. It’s fairly common to encounter some difficulties or delays around ages 3-4 with fine motor skills including appropriate pincer and pencil grasps. The good news is that these issues are preventable or improvable with early intervention before or as soon as these problems arise. Today’s activity is great for developing a steady pincer grasp and strengthening fingers. I give you: Play Dough Pasta Press.
The title says it all; I promised, simple stupid! All you need for this activity is Play-Doh and dry pasta. That’s it. If you want to be a little extra, your toddler might find this activity more fun if you can provide a variety of pasta shapes that will create different indentations in the dough. This activity will be really easy for your toddler to follow after a little modeling from you, and will keep him busy for about 15-20 minutes! Those little index fingers and thumbs will be hard at work pinching and picking up individual pasta pieces. Pressing also works on the strength of the individual fingers, as the dough provides the perfect amount of resistance. Toddlers will feel rewarded seeing the pasta shape stamped into the dough (along with some enthusiastic cheers from you, of course). Pulling the pieces from the dough for clean-up afterwards is also great work to further develop these skills. We played some of our favorite music (looking at you, Coco soundtrack) and little man went to town; mama and babe enjoyed this activity alike!
And that’s our very first Friday Fun Day, ladies & gents! If you like the idea and use it, be sure to comment below or tag us on social media. We’d love to see you and your littles having fun of your own!
Happy playin’ & learnin’!