I really hope you are enjoying our storybook summer as much as we are – today we’re getting into the soil and sharing a fun play dough learning activity for the book Superworm [affiliate link] by Julia Donaldson. One of the joys of sharing the storybook summer with guest bloggers is that even with the same theme there is so many different books and ideas shared. Today I’m handing over to Niki who writes Play & Learn Every day.
There is nothing we love more than taking a story that we enjoy reading and making it come to life by playing our way through it. This is something that we usually do with toys or puppets, but with the story of Superworm by Julia Donaldson it just seemed like the perfect opportunity to make play dough worms instead.
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I started out by setting up a tray with some play dough, toy bugs, rocks and sticks as well as a ruler and some play dough tools. We read through the story together, then we started making some worms! Play dough is great for fine motor development, and even Ivy at just 17 months could play along with us rolling out her own little worm.
Ethan (aged 3 ½) made his own worm too, then used a popsicle / lolly stick to make lines along his worm to look just like Superworm. Then added some googly eyes to make the perfect worm hero.
Then it was time to look back at the story and recall the repeated phrase from the book, that starts with “Superworm is super long…” so of course we had to try to make the longest Superworm that we could possibly make, without breaking the play dough. Then we held our worms next to a ruler to measure how long we made them, a great chance to teach measuring skills and number recognition.
The next part of the repeated phrase is “Superworm is super strong…” so we had to find a way to make a very strong worm, but weren’t quite sure how a worm might flex his muscles! Ethan decided that a strong worm might carry big heavy rocks around, so we piled up the rocks on our Superworm and he really was super strong.
Next we looked to one of Ethan’s favourite pages of the book when we see Superworm in his many different roles and all of the things that he can be and how he interacts with different little bugs. We made Superworm the fairground ride by rolling out a very long worm and shaping it like a rollercoaster with little bugs riding on it.
Then Ethan used the same worm to make into a swing for little bugs and to stretch out over the ruler as a slide for the bugs to play on. He was having lots of fun with these, having the different bugs take turns and interact with each other and Superworm whilst they played.
Our final worm was probably Ethan’s favourite, making his Superworm into a train for the little bugs. He used the rocks as the wheels for the train, finding it quite tricky to balance the play dough worm on the little rocks he was determined to find a way to make it work. A great opportunity for problem solving to make everything balance and to feel pride in himself when he discovered a way to do it. Then time to ride the Superworm train!
Both kids had so much fun using their play dough to make the various Superworms through the story, and it’s such an easy way to keep children of different ages busy. I think that we’ve found a new favourite way to explore our books!
Read more from Niki
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Niki writes a blog called Play & Learn Everyday all about the fun activities and games that her two children Ethan (3 1/2) and Ivy (17 months) play every day. As a former teacher (now stay at home Mum) she is firm believer in learning through play and finding ways to make everyday activities as fun as they can possibly be.