While implementing a Pets theme, I gave the children some playdough, a paper plate, and an assortment of items with varying textures (feathers, googly eyes, pipe cleaners, batting, sequins, etc.). As part of a book activity, the children had just read But No Elephants, by Jerry Smath, a truly fantastic book, and were asked to use the materials to make their own pet – real or imaginary. The picture above is just one example from a 5 year old: “a flying fish”. Other children used the batting as fur to make “fancy poodles”, and “hamsters”. Try this activity as a stand alone or as part of a book activity.
As the children work the playdough, they build fine motor strength and control, as well as gaining a sensory experience. Creating the pet in both image and character builds creative and language skills as well. Children also display an awareness of pet characteristics and detail as they transfer their mental image of a pet to a playdough representation of that idea.