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Some Kids I Have Known
Teaching Ross, Our three year old

Teaching Ross, January 29, 2002

Again with the Play Dough. Ross is beginning to work with it easier, even after just three days. He is learning to mix it to the right texture, and to roll it out in cylinders.

Roll four cylinders "snakes" out about two inches long. Cut the ends off on top and bottom at the same time so they are identical lengths. On a cookie sheet press the cylinders into square shapes. The squares can be different sizes.

Color the picture of an octopus you have printed from one of the learning Urls for children from the computer. Talk about the octopus having eight arms. Write the number eight on the paper. If you type the word octopus into Google there are 13,000 illustrations there. Allow your child to look at the ones he wants to see. There will be much discussion as to the "weird" looking way they are.

Since you have made a double batch of play dough, 2 cups of flour, 2 cups of salt, you will have enough to make an octopus. You have already printed off a picture of an octopus from one of the learning Urls for children. The head is an egg shape. Help the child to roll the shape and lay it on the cookie sheet. Let them work at rolling eight of the cylinders out and attach them to the egg shaped head. Press an eye into the dough with the tip of a pencil. The eraser end will press the suction cups into the arms of the octopus. Talk about the different species of octopi, 100.

After the play dough octopus has dried in the oven have the child glue it to a stiff piece of cardboard or paper. From all the species you have observed on the computer the child will be able to choose whatever color he wishes of the acrylic to paint the octopus (yes there are even red ones).

If time permits, you can make a tight ball of a fiber fill or even newspaper. Many strand of yarn wrapped around anything that is 24 inches will give you the basis for a yarn octopus. Tie one end with a strong yarn. Cut the other end. Divide the yarn into eight groups after you have placed it over the tight ball. You will have to tie a piece of yarn again at the bottom of the ball. Braid each arm. If you have some light colored heavy knit fabric, or some felt, cut round eyes from that. Glue this to the head and make the center of its eyes with a black felt tip pen. You should end up with an octopus cute enough for any kid's bed. Keep counting the arms as you go.

The dry squares you have made you will glue to heavy paper also. Create a collage by stacking the squares, gluing them, as high as they will go. You will end up with an attractive "art" piece, just of squares.

Any small pieces of play dough left over I have the child press into the shapes they are learning, so far, circles, squares, cylinders. Punch a hole in the top of the shape and after it is dry, run a ribbon or piece of yarn through it for a necklace for the child to give to their mother. They get a thrill out of giving their mother a gift. Poor Mom will have to wear it, probably.

On painting the dried shapes from the play dough always mix two colors to get a third, red and yellow to get orange, blue and yellow to get green, etc. Ross knows his primary colors so this is of interest to him.

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