Monday, December 2, 2013

Printable Christmas Counting Play Dough Mats

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Lately, my little guys have been obsessed with play dough. We had a great time exploring with our pumpkin play dough and recently enjoyed all sorts of fun activities with some homemade coffee dough (which I'll be sharing soon!). Since, my toddler and my preschooler have been asking for play dough so much, I decided it was time to try my hand at creating some more play dough mats. In the past we've made simple homemade play dough mats to work on shapes and letters, but I wanted to make something a little more festive for the kids so I got to work on PowerPoint.

They were so excited when I pulled out these Christmas Tree counting play dough mats.  I printed them out and laminated them so they would last longer, but you could easily put them in plastic sheet protectors if you don't have access to a laminator .

My toddler mainly used his mat to smoosh the play dough on, but he enjoyed being part of the action and still got the benefit of strengthening his tiny hand muscles with the dough.

My 5-year-old worked meticulously to create ornaments for each spot on his mat.

When he was finished he counted all of the ornaments and then counted the total number of ornaments on his entire board.

My 2-year-old started building ornaments, but got frustrated with trying to make his a certain shape even though I assured him they could look any way he wanted.  Instead, I pulled out a bag of pom poms and challenged him to sort the colors onto the different trees.  He made one tree entirely of green balls and one of red.  Then, we counted his ornaments and decided which tree had more and which had less.  He still got to work on his fine motor skills, color sorting, and counting skills without getting frustrated.
The circles on the trees let the kids check their own work.  The Christmas Tree Play Dough Mats could easily be used with pom balls, buttons, beads, foam shapes, or any other small craft material.  I'm so glad we laminated these because they were a huge hit and the kids like to pull them out on their own now and work on them during quiet centers.

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