Winter Nature Study Play Dough Mats for Your Homeschool

Winter Nature Study Play Dough Mats for Your Homeschool

I’m so excited to share these free winter play dough mats with you! They can help elementary students learn nature study observation skills through hands-on play.

You might think play-based learning is mostly for the preschool crowd, but there are still plenty of benefits of playing in the elementary years. In fact, learning through play is actually more important than you might imagine. It offers a low-pressure invitation for children to explore, create, and assimilate information. Creating and assimilating are higher-order thinking skills that make great independent thinkers.

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Why use nature play dough mats?

These particular play dough mats have been created to help younger and older children practice nature observation skills. The intricate images provide multiple layers of things to see and sculpt. We often think of observation as strictly a visual skill, but using the hands to make detailed 3-D sculptures adds more depth (literally and figuratively) to make observation more meaningful.

In fact, this same idea is why I’m such a firm believer in nature journaling. Similar to sculpting, drawing from deep observation helps children to actually notice more detail. The acts of drawing and sculpting help build very important pictures in the catalogs of a brain so that new information will not easily be forgotten.

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