Sunday, 27 March 2011

Play dough

I'm a big fan of play dough.  It supports children's play and development in so many ways and it's really cheap and easy to make.  You can do so many things with play dough.  Role play games such as making cookies and cakes or other baking/cooking; experimenting with different textures, smells, colours (you can make the dough more interesting by adding extra ingredients to the recipe); molding new shapes also helps children develop the muscles they will later use to hold a pencil and write.

Here's a nice easy recipe for playdough.  This is quite a large quantity.  3 cups water; 3 cups plain flour; 1 1/2 cups salt; 2 tbsp cream of tartar; 3 tbsp veg oil; food colouring of your choice.  Put everything in a large pan and over a low heat and heat gently until stiff.  Knead on a clean surface until smooth.  Done!
Here's some I made this evening.  You can add all sorts of things to your dough.  Glitter, sand, seeds, smells (herbs, food flavourings such as vanilla, cocoa, peppermint etc).  I've made this dough for our toddler group.  Our theme at the moment is planting and growing so I've coloured this dough green and mixed in some dried herbs to make it smell nice and give it a 'plant like' feel.
Another great idea for a play dough activity with slightly older children (3-4 years) is to use play dough mats.  I found these on an excellent website called Sparklebox.  It is really a teaching resource sight but there are also some good resources for parents.
In this one the children build a plant using the play dough to make branches and leaves.
There are many more of these on the Sparklebox site.  Happy play dough-ing!

1 comment:

  1. We loved play dough too!! Also, I think play dough has hidden "therapeutic" values, I have been in a number of settings situations where children have been either very over-excited or stressed, and the playing with playdough, squishing it about in their hands, seems to have a calming effect, slo for some reason, it seems to get children to communicate really well about what they are making... we have put glitter etc in playdough (dependant on age of child) and this went down well too!!