Spring seems to have finally arrived, and with it the first crocuses, daffodils, and tulips. My little one is very interested in the garden but would prefer her digging and planting efforts to yield more immediate results. And so a new play activity was born: ZDough Gardens! After a quick trip to the craft store she was ready to plant her garden in new and exciting ways each day.
For this activity you will need:
Several silk flowers of your choice (trimmed by an adult so they are not so tall)
A planting container (or several)
At least 8 oz of ZDough (any variety)
A handful of small dried beans or seeds (we used chickpeas because we had them on hand)
A small teapot or watering can (empty)
Once we gathered the materials my kiddo was so excited to get started planting! She has been learning about plants at school, so she already knew that some "soil" would need to go in her planters. She happily squished up some ZDough and added it to her containers. We happened to have a lot of brown ZDough after some happy mixing of the Spring Seasonal Set had occurred earlier in the season. If you want to use brown dough this is a great time to put to use any mixed up ZDough that you might have, or you can always order the Cinnamon variety. After she prepared the soil she added a few chickpeas to each pot and gently covered them with the ZDough. She then pretended to water the seeds with the teapot she uses in pretend play. After allowing some time for the seeds to grow (a few seconds I think!) she started planting the flowers by placing each stem in the soil. It took time for her to learn to mound the ZDough up around each stem to keep it upright and she greatly enjoyed changing the flowers from pot to pot, arranging them on the table, and then putting all the flowers away when it got "too cold for them." I also asked her to dig out all of the chickpeas from the dough before we put the materials away. It was a nice little treasure hunt and allowed for everything to be ready to use again the next day!
After your child tries out this activity the first time there are several variations you may want to suggest to extend their play. You could provide different items for the "seeds" and ask if those seeds grow into different flowers. You could even have your little one come into the kitchen with you to choose which "seeds" will grow into each kind of flower. Any hard item will do- dried beans, seeds, pasta, beads, etc. Just choose something you feel is safe for your child to play with.
You could also add a mathematical element to this planting activity by giving your child dice and asking them to roll before they plant each container. If they roll a four then they plant four seeds and four flowers. This kind of play with counting is a wonderful way to incorporate important skills in a fun context. Get creative, and if you come up with a new way to play ZDough Gardens send me a picture of your idea! I'd love to post it here and will reward entries with a free ZDough sample!!