This invitation to play dough started off like many of our other nature tables or play dough trays – a nature walk. Mr. Toddler and I went for a simple stroll around the neighbourhood, and found some stones and flowers in our backyard.
- Some stones we had collected
- Wooden birds from a local shop
- Flowers from the garden
- Two tones of tiles
- A magnifying glass
- Homemade Play dough (consisting of 2 cups of flour, 1 cup of water, and a tablespoon of chamomile)
Of course, he also explored each of the items I presented with the magnifying glass, as well:
Mr. Toddler was definitely excited to see the extra items we had picked up outdoors on his nature table and couldn’t wait to explore them!
At first, he was hesitant about touching the flowers, but definitely was eager to get going with the rocks.
All of the simple aspects of this table led to tons of exploration, fine motor practice, and learning!
See! Those chunky fingers were so excited to get working!
Even though he eventually did move on to exploring all of the items, the rocks and play dough combination remained Mr. Toddlers favourite as he insisted on patterning the rocks, adding them to the dough, and removing them again.
Or just dumping them out!
Eventually, these birds also made it to the exploration – Mr. Toddler fed them rocks and chunks of play dough!
Overall, my point with this post is that it is so easy and so important to bring simple invitations to explore nature and the outdoors into your children’s lives. At two years old, Mr. Toddler adores being outside, and wants to see and know what everything is.
By bringing a few objects (rocks and flowers) inside, I was able to create a work that not only kept him interested for over an hour (excellent for concentration!), but also let him explore at his own pace. For the majority of this work, I simply stayed back and watched him learn and it was fabulous!