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In the Tall, Tall Grass DIY Play and Forest Putty Recipe

In the Tall, Tall Grass by Denise Flemings follows a caterpillar as it crawls through its environment and notices the world and her creatures from the caterpillar’s perspective.

Key Skills and Learning Points ⤵️

🔹Perspective Taking



Simple DIY Play Ideas

  • Notice and practice short vowel mid sounds with prose such as "crunch, munch...lunch" and "hip, hop...flop" throughout the story.

  • Use these printable Critter Dice to roll and move like each tiny friend.

  • Discuss which critters from our story your family has seen in your home greenspaces or out on your adventures. Practice prediction skills by wondering which ones you will see on your next trip outdoors.

  • Go on a critter search! Find a spot in your greenspace with grass, rocks, moss or sticks and put a circle of twine around your spot (about 3 ft in diameter). Using just your eyes or a magnifying glass, see how many critters you can find within your circle. This is a great way to help your explorer develop focus!

  • Use forest putty (Our Magnolia Outdoor Recipe can be found at the end) to mold tiny friends you have seen or brand new, never before heard of tiny friends!

We learned all about little critters we share spaces with in our Tinkergarten classes this summer. We searched for them and practiced how they move. Then we created our own versions of those tiny friends out of forest putty! They even taught us how creatures can communicate with body language! Interested in joining us for classes? You can learn more about our current class offerings and register here!

Forest Putty

Forest putty (play dough that is meant to be used outside!) is a staple each season in Tinkergarten and has so many uses and benefits! We practice connecting and transforming schema when we stick nature treasures like leaves, sticks, and seeds into our putty. We practice creativity, communication, and empathy when we bend and blend our putty to create little critters. The possibilities of forest putty are endless and you can make it home! There are many home made forest putty recipes out there, but after lots of testing, this is the one that I've found works for me both indoors and out. It is soft, stretchy, and lasts quite a while when stored in an airtight container. We had some that we used in the classroom for a whole school year!

Magnolia Outdoor Forest Putty Recipe


  • 1 cup flour

  • 1/4 cup salt

  • 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil

  • 1 tsp. cream of tartar

  • 1 cup water

Ingredients for smell and color:

  • cinnamon

  • pumpkin spice

  • nutmeg

  • ground turmeric

  • cocoa powder

  • food color

All of these ingredients for smell and color are fun additives but are not necessary.


  1. In a large pot, pour in all dry ingredients (flour, salt, cream of tartar, smells/colors if dry) and mix.

  2. Add in all liquids (olive oil, water, food color) and stir well.

  3. Cook over medium heat until the dough pulls away from the pot. I have noticed that I tend to wait until ALL of the dough is pulling away, but doing this makes it a little too dry in the end.

  4. Remove from heat, let cool and knead.

Cooling time is different for everyone depending on your preferences. Aside from cooling time, the whole process takes about ten minutes.


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