Gluten-Free Play Dough: An Allergy-Free Solution for First Day Fun

Play dough is my favorite activity for students for students to do as they enter the room on the first day of school. It gives them an engaging and hands-on task while freeing me up to help other students get situated or meet briefly with parents that come to the classroom. It also promotes collaboration, creativity, and divergent thinking! But did you know that some students with a gluten-allergy may have an allergic reaction from merely touching play dough?  I always thought students with allergies would need to ingest the play dough in order for it to be an issue, but some gluten allergies are severe enough that even touching play dough can cause children to break out in hives.

Play dough is the perfect first activity on the first day of school! But students with a gluten-allergy can break out in hives just by touching play dough. This recipe for gluten-free play dough is super simple to make and will keep all kids safe from allergic reactions.

For this reason, I started to make gluten-free play dough for my students on the first day of school. It costs a little more than traditional homemade play dough, but it still costs less than purchasing pre-made play dough for everyone! It's also worth the extra cost to know that all my students are safe from potential allergic reactions. 

Play Dough: A Perfect First Day Gift for Students

Play dough is my favorite activity to start the year with on the first day of school! I love the message it communicates to students right from the beginning. I want my learners to know that our classroom is a safe place for creativity and collaboration. I want them to be confident in their abilities to jump right in and get to work. I want them to know that there isn't always one right answer. And play dough does just that! Once I started using play dough, I knew I would never go back to another worksheet.

Play dough is the perfect activity for the first day back to school. It sets the tone and communicates that our classroom values hands-on learning, collaboration, creativity, and divergent thinking!

My first year teaching, I started the first day of school with what I thought would be a fun academic review sheet. I believed it would immediately put the focus on learning and would them busy while I got everyone settled. I also thought it would help my kids feel more confident because, after all, it was just a review. Except I learned very quickly that my kids couldn't ALL do it. Sometimes it was a situational issue. Students hadn't brought the necessary supplies, so they either didn't have a pencil or their pencils weren't already sharpened.

But for some kids, they really couldn't do it because it wasn't academically appropriate.  I hadn't provided the scaffolding necessary for them to be successful because I didn't know them yet, and I didn't know who needed it.  I provided something I thought was one-size-fits-all, except it wasn't. And I inadvertently communicated the wrong message to my students. Instead of feeling capable right away, they were faced with something that wasn't appropriate for their needs. I imagine some of them heard that little whisper in their minds, Look how everyone else can do it, but you can't. You are dumb.


Using Mind Sweeps to Prioritize and Focus

Back to School time is filled with excitement, but it can also be incredibly stressful! Teachers have so much to do to be prepared, but have limited time and resources to get it all done. Many teachers work long hours during the first few weeks of the school year, but feel like their To Do list just gets longer and longer. Mind Sweeps are a simple strategy that will help you conquer that endless list once and for all.

Perfect for that crazy "Back to School" season or any time your To Do List gets out of control! Mind Sweeps (AKA Brain Dumps) are a simple and effective way to clear the mental clutter that is leaving you stressed and distracted.  It will help you determine a plan of action that is the most efficient. Learn how to use Mind Sweeps to reduce your stress today!

Mind Sweeps (sometimes referred to as Brain Dumps) are a simple, but effective way to clear the mental clutter that is leaving you stressed and distracted. I imagine you have a million thoughts racing around in your mind about all the things you need to accomplish before the school year begins. A Mind Sweep will help you clear your mind of the clutter and focus on what is most important. It will help you determine a plan of action that is the most efficient.

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