Last year when we added pretend worms to our gardening sensory bin it was a huge hit with all of the kids. This year for spring I wanted to set up another invitation to play that involved worms, and I thought the kids would really enjoy worm play dough.
Materials for Worm Play Dough Invitation
To create the invitation to play I used:
- Pretend worms from the fishing section of our local retail store
- Small pebbles
- Green toothpicks and bits of trimmed green straws for “grass”
- Brown play dough
- Black play dough
I also added more brown play dough in a large wooden bowl and placed it next to the invitation tray.
Lovey was the first to play with the worm play dough. And she started off as I expected, adding “grass” and bits of black and brown “soil”.
Then things took a little turn. When I she started skewering the worms on the toothpicks I wasn’t quite sure what she was doing. First I though maybe she was pretending to go fishing, but I just sat and watched. As I listened to her narrate what she was doing I realize she was no longer playing with “worms.” Now she was trying to build a house using the materials in the invitation tray.
So began a lengthy process of experimenting with the materials to see how she could create a structure that was strong and sturdy. It was fascinating to watch her thought process unfold and see how her creation became stronger with each trial and error.
I really never know what these invitations to play will lead to, but I’m never disappointed with the spontaneous learning that occurs.
When Tinker chose to play with the worm play dough, she enjoyed poking the rocks and toothpick grass into the dough. She created a very elaborate home for her “baby worms and the mommies and the daddies, too.”
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Books About Worms
While playing and learning about worms we also enjoyed reading some books about worms. These are two of our favorites.
Garden Wigglers by Nancy Loewen is a great nonfiction book about worms for younger kids. The books shares important facts about earthworms and why they are important for nature. It includes important nonfiction text features, and the text is simple enough for preschoolers to stay engaged and interested.
Jonathan & Martha are two lonely worms who happen to meet one day as they each nibble through the same pear. Instead of becoming friends from the beginning they fight and become so tangled together that they are forced to stick together. They go along sharing food. As they do it becomes fun. Until one day they are unexpectedly separated. However, the experience made them realize that they want to share and they want to stay together, and they live happily ever after.
Get a full week of playful worm theme ideas!
If your kids are fascinated by worms, extend this activity into a full week of learning and play. Save time and get right to the playful learning with our printable lesson plan sets. Each set includes over 30 playful learning activities related to the theme, and we’ve provided different versions for home preschool families and classroom teachers so all activities are geared directly toward your needs.
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