Play dough is one of the absolute must-haves in any toddler’s or preschooler’s play kit.
Today I decided it was high time I whipped up a new batch of play dough as our last batch had gone mouldy. We had made it in my 8th month of pregnancy last November and I had forgotten to store it in the fridge, so you can imagine the Goliath it had become.
In the past I tried a number of recipes, all of which worked really well, but this time I found one I simply had to post about.
Piglet had lots of fun pouring the ingredients that we had measured into a bowl and then mixing them together with a spoon. We watched how the different ingredients blended together, changed texture and colour.
The great thing about this recipe is that we don’t have to stand over the stove to cook the dough. That isn’t something I want my 3 year old doing! This recipe just calls for boiling water to be added to the other ingredients.
After we added the water (and we didn’t have to use all the water as stated in the recipe, just enough to create the texture we liked), I took over the stirring until the mixture had cooled. Then Piglet got his hands into it and we both started kneading.
Once we were happy with the consistency of the dough, I divided the batch into 4, then added a few drops of food colouring. The nice part of kneading the colouring in is watching how it begins looking like a marble swirl of colours and how it gradually blends into one solid colour. Piglet was enthralled. He eventually had to take a rest from working in the colour, after doing a whole lot of poking, twisting, turning, patting and squeezing. A great motor skill activity to strengthen his fingers for writing.
Aren’t these tempting?
We had a wonderful time talking about the process of making the dough, doing it together, and lots of fun exercising our fingers while kneading the dough and giving life to ideas.
Piglet made lots of little balls and I made “cars” to go on top of them. He was impressed. He then made lots of “jets” which looked like rocky mountains to me, but if your kid says his creation is a “jet”, you had better agree or else.
We also planned how much dough we would need for different creations, how much of a particular colour he was willing to share with me and vice versa.
We made all kinds of other things together before it was time to pack up and I thought I’d make a “snake” that consisted of all the leftover bits rolled together. But Piglet insisted it was the letter “S” instead.
And so it was!
Making and using play dough is not only fun but affords plenty of opportunities to develop various skills (creativity, literacy, fine motor, mathematical, organisational and social skills). We’ll definitely be incorporating a lot more play dough fun in our learning this year.
By the way, The Imagination Tree is probably the website to go to for some of the loveliest play dough recipes and fun activities to do with them. Anna, who writes that blog, has a perfectly written post on the central importance of play in the early years. Play is something we embrace wholeheartedly in our home. It makes homeschooling (and parenting) so much fun. Do pop over and have a read!