Sensory Math Activity
Most students learn better when content is presented to them in a multisensory way. They can hear the information, see the information, write the information, say it out loud to a teacher or peer, and also use touch/tactile to reinforce the information. That’s what is so great about this sensory math activity.
Playdough has so many benefits for kids. For a child struggling to learn numbers, number recognition or adding, adding in a tactile component may be just what they need to experience the information in one more format.
If you have IEP students in your class, they may have a sensory diet listed as a learning strategy. This is a good way to do that.
When your kiddos do this math activity for multiple senses, you can engage:
- Visuals-number recognition, bright primary colors that younger kids enjoy and is extremely beneficial for students with CVI
- Fine Motor-Writing or tracing the numbers with either a finger or pencil
- Tactile-Working the playdough with the hands
- Sounds-Make sure you reinforce counting and pronunciation while doing this activity, maybe put some number-theme songs in the background
- Smell-buy therapy dough (or make it) to engage smell
Making Therapy Dough for Math Sensory Activity
If you wish to use scented therapy dough to add one more element to this activity, it’s easy. You can either buy it (below) or you can add a few drops of essential oils to existing playdough.
I genuinely use and adore Pinch Me brand, but that is cost prohibitive for an entire class. It’s about $20 for a tin. Here are some more affordable options for scented therapy dough. Or, if you make your own playdough just add some essential oils. This can be done to both store bought and home made playdough. Always do a small clump of it as a tester first.
Multi Sensory Math Activity
Here is how to use these printable worksheets and do this sensory math activity. It can be done with just 1 child or small group, either for homeschool or a pullout resource room activity. It can be done as a class, in small groups, or in centers.
Some teachers have sensory math bins in their classroom and this is a perfect activity for that. Just make sure you double check the playdough bags/containers at the end of the activity. If left open, it will dry out.
- Scroll through the PDF in the window it is shown in below. Make sure that this is an activity you wish to do with your child(ren).
- Click the down arrow to download it to your computer. If you are in a school or public setting, make sure you know where downloaded items go, so you can find it.
- Find the download, and open it.
- Print the pages you wish to print.
- Should you print in color or black and white? Well, I recommend laminating them, so I’d choose color. If you are not laminating them, keep in mind that the ink and the playdough may cross-contaminate and affect each other. Kinda like when you put Silly Putty on the newspaper, the pink Silly Putty turned gray. The same may happen here.
- Give each child a small amount of putty or dough. Instruct them on how to make a “snake” or roll it out into a rope. Kids with fine motor issues or following directions may need extra assistance.
- Make that rope or snake into the number on the sheet. Make sure you are using and reinforcing language and counting.
- Do the complementary activities such as writing numbers or counting 1-20. Or, maybe make five small balls of playdough if doing the number 5 and so on.
Repeat until proficient at numbers!
Math Sensory Activity
Ok, so here you go–here are your free printables to do this fun sensory activity for math and number recognition.
And that’s it!
Lisa Lightner is an award-winning and nationally-known Special Education Advocate and Lobbyist who lives in suburban Philadelphia. She has or is serving on the Boards of numerous disability and education related organizations including the Epilepsy Foundation and PA Education Voters. She also has testified before State House and Senate committees relating to special education issues and education funding issues.