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Monday, May 14, 2012

Addition and Subtraction with Homemade Play Dough

numbers
Any parent who wants to add a little fun to their kids’ educational activities knows how hard it can be to mix the two. This activity is a no fail combination of fun and math that will have your kids counting and subtracting like pros. Plus, the process is inexpensive and easy, safe for kids (it’s a no-cook recipe), and you end up with some awesome homemade play dough that will keep them entertained for days. Here is a fun way to introduce this addition and subtraction activity to your kids:
1. Read Your Recipe Aloud:
Here is the basic recipe for the play dough you will be making. Start out with your white board or a big piece of paper and write the recipe out on the board on a large piece of paper to hold up for your kids. Read out the recipe to them. Then, have your students take turns reading the recipe out loud.
1/2 cup salt
1/2 cup water
1 cup flour
Food dye
Have two measuring cups ready. Hold up one measuring cup and ask your students, “How much is one cup?” Then ask, “How much is a half cup?”
measuring cups
Using water to demonstrate, ask your students (depending on their age) to pour out a half cup in the first measuring cup. Write ½ c. on the white board. Then ask them to measure out a half cup in the second measuring cup. Finally, ask them how much you have when you add both the half cups together. Repeat this process, adding and taking away cups, half-cups, and even fourth cups, of water, until you’ve practiced for a while. After that, it’s time for the fun part!
2. Add to Prepare your Work Space:
-Count 8 sheets of newspaper. Lay them down on the floor, kitchen counter, or table.
-Plus 1 big bowl. Place it on the newspaper.
-Plus 3 small bowls (or as many as you want to use to make different colors).
-Plus 1 measuring cup. Place it next to the bowl.
How many items do you have now? (13 items)
mixing bowl
3. Add to Find Ingredients:
-Count 1 bag or container of flour.
-Plus 1 canister of salt.
-Plus 1 bottle of water.
-Plus 3 bottles of food coloring. (Will vary based on how many colors you have.)
How many ingredients do you have? (6 ingredients)
4. Add to Combine Ingredients:
-Measure 1 cup of flour, and pour it into your mixing bowl.
-Measure 1/2 cup of salt and add it.
-Measure 1/2 cup of water and pour in.
Stir everything together with a large mixing spoon. You may need to adjust the measurements. If the play dough seems too runny, have your kids measure a small amount of flour to add. If the mixture is too thick, add more water.
5. Subtract to Separate the Play Dough:
Depending on how many colors you want to make, you will need to divide up the play dough accordingly. It’s easiest and most fun to subtract using handfuls.
-Subtract one handful for blue. Have one student grab a handful from the mixing bowl and place it into a smaller bowl.
-Subtract one handful for red.
-Subtract one handful for yellow.
food coloring
6. Add to Make Colors:
Have students start with two drops of color each. Then they can add drops until they reach the color they desire. Simply drop in the color and knead the dough until the color runs solid.
If you want, you can get creative with addition to mix colors and make new colors, such as:
-2 drops blue + 2 drops yellow = green
play dough balls
By-line:
Jemima Lopez is a freelance blogger and writer who writes for Zen College Life, the directory of higher education, distance learning, and best online colleges. She welcomes your comments at her email: lopezjemima 562@ gmail.com.
Photo credits:
measuring cups -  http://www.flickr.com/photos/like_the_grand_canyon/3444726721/sizes/m/in/photostream/
mixing bowl -  http://www.flickr.com/photos/dwstucke/2251927116/sizes/m/in/photostream/
play dough balls -  http://www.flickr.com/photos/eyeliam/3894469442/sizes/m/in/photostream/
numbers -  http://www.flickr.com/photos/jamescridland/2272701122/sizes/m/in/photostream/
food coloring -  http://www.flickr.com/photos/matthewbland/3111904731/sizes/m/in/photostream/

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