Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Playdough Presentation

I feel it is important to have a medium such as playdough available for the children my classroom.  Not only does it provide a natural means of artistic expression, but it is also ideal for sensory/tactile development.  Playdough can also play a critical role in emotional expression in the classroom as a child may work through various feelings while using it.  There have been many times when I have said, "You may pound on this playdough, but not on our shelves (or books, or whatever the case may have been...)."

Throughout the years, I have experimented with different ways of presenting the materials for playdough.  Previously, a large quantity was placed in an air-tight container alongside additional playdough utensils.  While this method worked fine, I did find that having such a large amount available could be overwhelming for some children.  During last school year, I experimented with separating the playdough into individual portions which was met with much enthusiasm from the children.  Consequently, while setting up the classroom for this coming school year, I have decided to present the playdough in a similar manner.  The following photo shows our playdough materials set up on one of the shelves dedicated to art activities:

Individual containers of playdough labeled with the child's name;  tray with rolling pin and apple cookie-cutter in a small basket.  The space on the shelf is defined by the decorative apple mat which is in keeping with our 'apple' theme.
Once the child identifies their container, they place it onto the tray, in the space next to the basket.  I particularly like how this setup enables the child yet another opportunity for name recognition in the classroom!  Now they are ready to bring the tray to their chosen workspace and retrieve a playdough workmat:

Playdough workspace.
I realize that playdough is an ideal catalyst for social interaction as well.  For this reason, if more that one child wishes to use playdough at one time, I will have additional workmats available for their use.  I feel this is especially important during the initial weeks of school as the children are getting to know one another and I will be busy in other areas of the room giving new lessons!

The amount of thought and attention to detail represented in the prepared environment continually amazes me...  All of this time and effort into the presentation of playdough - I must be in the right field because it brings me much happiness! ;-)

Montessori Monday Link-Up

Montessori Monday


  1. I had never before thought of using individual containers to store the playdough - it was always put in to one large container. And yes, many children became overwhelmed with a huge blob of it. Looks like you found a great solution. Nice one Sasha! (Will share this post on Twitter as I know there are lots of teachers who've had this same issue.)

  2. Thank you, Jennifer! I'm glad to know how useful this idea may be! Thanks for sharing on Twitter as well...
    Take care,

  3. The name recognition tie in is great! I am wondering, too, if at some point in the year one might put out, say, two choices of playdough containers for different play ideas so the playdoughs don't get mixed so much. Say, one with three small balls of autumn colored playdough for making leaves and one with gold and green playdough for making corn cobs.

  4. What a great idea to use multiple containers! I will have to try that soon! Thanks for sharing.

  5. It is amazing how much thought can go into something as simple as a playdough activity ... but the results are always well worth the time spent! You came up with some great ideas! Working with playdough is often a social event, and your solution works well for both social and individual playdough activities. Thanks for linking up with Montessori Monday! I featured your post at the Living Montessori Now Facebook page.

  6. Thanks, as always, for "spreading the word," Deb! I hope that others will find this idea useful in setting up their playdough activities...

  7. Great idea! I also love your tray set up!!

  8. It was fun revisiting this post, Sasha! I featured your post and photo in my Montessori-Inspired Fall Playdough Activities at