Whoever says they don't like play-dough are lying. In the off chance that they aren't lying...then you should probably end your friendship with them! Not a day..actually, not a session (generally speaking) goes without mentioning the word "play-dough." Playing with it and manipulating it is another story!
Play-dough, whether it be homemade or store bought, it will bring hours and HOURS of entertainment for a range of ages! Obviously our littlies love smooshing it in the carpet (thanks kids) and our older kids often find it useful when practicing letter formation and as a reward for working hard! But the latest activity I have been using it for is syllable counting...not to boast or anything, but the kids adore it and have had nothing but success.
For some children, syllable counting is simple and is consolidated in one to two sessions. However, other children need a little bit longer to grasp the concept - either way, they will get it! There are many ways you can teach syllable counting and by all means use whatever resources you have on hand, but here is my new favourite method!
Have the children roll four (or more) balls of play-dough and place it in front of them on a table. First talk about syllable counting and what we are going to do to each word. I like to refer to syllable counting as "breaking the word into as many small parts as we can." I then demonstrate - "the word is 'hospital' 'hos - pit- al' (squash three balls). The word hospital has three small parts to it, three syllables. I squashed one ball for each syllable. Your turn, "apartment."Keep practicing this skill with a range of different words and of varying numbers of syllables.
I'll be honest, I stick to one colour as I cringe at the thought of mixing play-dough, but feel free to get as creative as possible and let your children go wild - in the end, it's all in the name of learning!... Maybe one day I will give more than one colour and close my eyes if it gets too much...but for now, I'll stick to one colour per session!
If you're new to play-dough or am like me and like to have some homemade goodness on hand, here's my favourite play-dough recipe. For all those out there who just don't have time to make it this week, I'm hearing you! I'll be using my stash of bought "Play-doh" as well!