While chatting with a fellow homeschooling friend, the topic of read-alouds came up. We began discussing ways that we have helped our kids listen while we were reading to them. She gave me a new twist on an old idea. It works great! Try it out!Playdough While You Read
Sometimes, I like to keep my kids’ hands busy while I read to them. If it is a short read, then they will just sit and listen. But, for longer periods, I will provide an activity that will keep them listening without distracting everyone else. In the past, I have used playdough. I just hand them a chunk of dough and tell them to create something. (We don’t allow cookie cutters, rolling pins, or anything else at this time. Just the dough. Trust me. Instead of quality reading time, you will have a battle over play-do tools!)
When I told my friend about the playdough, she agreed. But, she added a twist. She tells her kids to create part of the story…..not just anything they want to create. Their creation becomes proof that they have been listening! Every once in awhile she stops and asks them, “What are you making and how does it relate to our story?” Great idea!
Our Current Read-Aloud
Recently, we began reading Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls. In my childhood, this was one of my favorite books! While studying raccoons in our Apologia Land Animals science book, we learned about the relationship between raccoons and rabies. I decided that this was the perfect time to read Where the Red Fern Grows!
Our First Experience
While reading the first chapter of the book, these are my boys’ creations. I did not give them any ideas. I just read.
A Homemade Playdough Recipe
4 cups of flour
1 cup of salt
4 cups water
4 tablespoons of oil
1/2 cup of cream of tartar (buy it in bulk or you will spend a fortune!)
Mix all ingredients in a sauce pan. Cook and stir over low/medium heat until playdough is completely formed and no longer sticky. Allow to cool before storing in an air-tight container or ziplock bag.
Variation: Instead of food coloring, add one package of unsweetened powdered Kool-aid to your playdough. It will be the color of the Kool-aid.