Even though the groundhog saw his shadow, Spring is coming. You could offer some Springtime fun on a Saturday or during Spring Break. Here are a couple of ideas for or preschoolers and kindergartners…and even those older kids.
Play Dough Party
Make play dough and then have some fun with it.
Basic Play Dough: Mix 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup salt, and 2 teaspoons cream of tartar. In another bowl, mix 1 tablespoon cooking oil with 1 cup water and a few drops of food color (optional). Pour wet mixture into dry mixture and mix well. Pour mixture in an electric skillet heated to about 250 degrees. Stir constantly unitl dough forms and pulls away from the pan (about 3 minutes). Place dough on waxed paper or washable surface and knead until smooth. (The dough will be hot initially but cool as you knead it.) Cool and store in airtight bag or container; divide into 4-6 balls for children to use. (You can cook the play dough on low heat in a non-stick pan rather than in an electric skillet.)
Give each child a ball of play dough. Provide tools for the kids to use with their play dough. You don’t need purchased play dough tools (although those can be great). Craft sticks can be used to cut dough like a knife. Small plastic cups or containers can cut shapes. Smooth rocks can add a fun dimension to the exploration. Put out a variety of safe gadgets or objects that kids can use to experiment with the dough.
For kindergartners and older kids, play some play dough games.
- Tape several cups and small boxes at one end of a table, openings facing the other end. Kids can make small balls with part of their dough and try to roll the balls into the cups and boxes.
- Call out an animal or shape and set the timer for 1 minute or 5 minutes. Kids try to make what you call in the allotted time. Adjust time and complexity of shapes to fit your kids’ abilitites.
- Challenge kids to make circles that measure exactly 1 inch or 3 inches or the size of a quarter.
- Encourage each child to make a ball (of any size). Call pairs of kids to come to a table and hold the dough balls at the same height; at your mark, they drop them and see which one bounces higher. Compare the relationship between size and bounce height.
You could make air-drying clay for kids to create lasting sculptures.
Air Drying Clay: Mix 1 cup baking soda, 1/2 cup cornstarch, and 2/3 cup water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir the mixture until it has the consistency of mashed potatoes. Cool the mixture and knead. Store in airtight container. This clay will harden as it dries. It can also be painted.
Purchase some large terra cotta planters can position them near the entrance to your kids ministry area or other appropriate location. (You may want to spread a dropcloth underneath before work begins.) Add rocks and some potting soil to the planters. Guide kids to scoop and add more potting soil. They can enjoy digging in the soil for a while. Provide wildflower seed for the kids to sprinkle into the planters and mix with the soil. Kids can pour in cups of water after seeds are planted. Offer paint and brushes or sponges for kids to decorate the planters; you could also offer markers for more controlled decorating. Encourage kids to check the planters in the weeks ahead to see if seeds sprout and grow. As an alternative, ask for a patch of dirt outside your church for kids to plant seeds. Or kids could make individual plants to take home.
Add your own variations to these ideas or other Spring fun ideas in the comments below.