This candy play dough recipe is a fun homemade play dough to use in fine motor activities, and we love to use this recipe to freeze the play dough for more resistance in manipulating the homemade dough. While we love this particular candy play dough, you can use any dough recipe in the freezer to add more resistance for hand strengthening.
Candy Play Dough
If you’ve been following for a while, you know we make a ton of sensory play dough. We’re back for another year of sensory play dough recipes, and by looking at the list (you’ll find all of the upcoming play dough recipes for 2016 at the bottom of this post!), it’s going to be a fun year of tactile sensory play.
This month’s challenge was frozen dough. I’m not talking about the movie that’s been everywhere for years now…I’m talking about put-it-in-the-freezer-until-it’s-frozen-solid dough.
We decided to take a fun spin on the theme and make frozen Pixy Stix dough. We had a bunch of pixy stix candies in the house from who-knows-when. So, instead of tossing them, we first made Pixy Stix frozen dough…a fun candy play dough!
Candy Play Dough
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To make Pixy Stix dough, you’ll need a few ingredients:
To make the dough, I first combined all of the dry ingredients into a bowl. I then separated it into four bowls because I wanted to make four different colors of dough.
2. In each bowl, pour in one color of the candy. This was a job that my four year old loved. She carefully snipped each paper tube and made sure not a particle of sugar escaped the bowls.
3. In a sauce pan, combine one teaspoon of oil and 1/2 cup of flour.
4. Then, stir in the dry ingredients.
5. Stir until the dough forms a ball.
6. Place it on a cutting board and once it is cool enough to touch, knead it for a few minutes.
We found that some of the colors were stickier than others. If your dough seems sticky, knead in a bit of flour.
We played with our Pixy Stick play dough for a while at this point. The scent from the candy is really strong and it’s a fun, soft dough to play with.
My oldest daughter didn’t want to stop playing with the Pixy Stix dough.
In fact, she played with it while doing her homework. There’s nothing wrong with a little scented dough DIY fidget toy play during homework!
Frozen play dough can be made with any play dough recipe.
Frozen Play Dough
After a while, we moved on to the frozen part of our frozen play dough.
I pulled out a (Amazon affiliate link) water bottle ice cube tray and we filled up the sections with pieces of dough. My four year old popped the tray into the freezer.
Side note: Carrying the tray to the freezer was SUCH a big deal for my little girl. I wish I had a picture of the giant smile on her face as she carried that tray. She was a BIG girl doing an important job of freezing our play dough. It was perfect to see her light up like that!
Colleen Beck, OTR/L has been an occupational therapist since 2000, working in school-based, hand therapy, outpatient peds, EI, and SNF. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. Read her story about going from an OT making $3/hour (after paying for kids’ childcare) to a full-time OT resource creator for millions of readers. Want to collaborate? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
So, this week in the learning with manipulatives series, we’re covering LEGOS. These classic blocks have been used to build just about everything you can imagine. They’ve been used in many learning activities, too. We shared creative ways to learn with LEGOS before and as an Occupational Therapist, I love them for their fine motor benefits. LEGOS are on pretty much every OT’s recommendation list. They are small enough to encourage a tripod grasp, resistive enough to really work the intrinsic muscles of the hands, and open-ended enough to encourage problem solving and creativity in play.
Today, I’m sharing an easy work building activity that I did with my Kindergarten-aged son. He’s learning to build words and we had fun practicing the skill with LEGOS!
Learning with LEGOS Word Building Activity
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In Kindergarten, he’s working on sounding out words, creating an ending and adding different letters to the beginning of the word to “build words”. Typically, my son comes home with small pieces of paper with the letters printed on them and uses the letter cards to build words. We decided to take word building to a new level and literally build words with LEGOS
For this activity, we used a large LEGO Building Plate
to create a surface for building our words. To make the letters of the words, we used single width blocks in different lengths. Building the letters with blocks was not exact. We used a lot of creative license to make some of the more rounded letters. But, using the blocks reminded my son of Minecraft and the boxy looking letters were ok with him.
To start off the word building task, I first used a dry erase marker to write out a word. I showed my son how the dry erase marker could be wiped off using a baby wipe. We discussed how a permanent marker would not do the same thing and that if we didn’t use a dry erase marker, his LEGO board could be permanently damaged.
Using the guide of the letters, we worked on building that first word. Once he got the hang of making letters, he was really into it. We started with a few -at words and as he named words that rhyme with cat or bat, we removed the first letter and build the new word.
We only had enough LEGO pieces to make one or two words at a time, especially using the same ending letters. We then built another word with just one ending sound and removed the first letter only.
This is an activity that can be used in SO many learning tasks, all while including fine motor skills into the activity. Try practicing spelling words, building numbers for math problems, practicing name recognition…How could you use this idea to learn?
Looking for more ways to use LEGOS in learning? Try these ideas: