What I do when an activity doesn’t go to plan


We had a new batch of play dough so rather than throw the used play dough in the bin I had an idea.

I thought the children would get satisfaction from pushing golf tees into the used play dough then balancing balls on top of the golf tees.


We didn’t have any balls so I used beads of different sizes and the same colours as the tees.


The problem with beads is that they have holes in them and the children put the golf tees through them. Well only the red ones as the others were too small. Not a big issue but not what I had set the activity up for and not satisfying because they couldn’t do it to all of the beads.

The next thing that happened was that the children recognised it was play dough. They did what we usually do with play dough and it became the core of the activity. They began to dig around with the tees and hide the beads. Just a mess really! Again no big issue but not what I had set the activity up for.

So I reflected and tried again. This time with a fresh lot of old play dough which I let dry for longer before I put it out.

One child had a wonderful morning picking away at the hardened layer of play dough crust before it all went in the bin!

You do have to be prepared to remove an activity if it’s not working, no matter how much time and energy you have invested in it!

However now I have a great idea for making a model of the earth and volcanos with play dough!

ps To set up this activity another time I would try a piece of peg board instead of play dough and find wooden balls. Or just have golf tees to poke in the playdough … keep it simple!

Lucy x

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