Always have your playdough in an easily accessible place. We do playdough activities about once a week. Not often more, because then it has the possibility of wearing out its welcome. But playdough is a lovely activity for a day where things are just not going as smoothly as normal, and I've been known to say, okay guys, put this stuff away, I'm getting the play dough out. I actually had playdough planned today, so that worked out well. They sat at the table and flattened round balls of brown playdough into pancakes and pricked them with our P stamper, and flipped the pancakes on the pan. One child even stacked four pancakes together (and told me it was four) and asked for a fork and knife and he sat there cutting the pancakes into pieces. Ah...p is for peace!
See the smile! Yeah!
Open-ended art often works well for a day that the children are off...but that sometimes can backfire too, if you have a lot of paint or probability for messiness. But after the other activities, they did just fine with their O's on the ovals.