Sunday, 4 August 2013

The Power of Play Dough

Play dough is one of Ethan's favourite things and I can see why.  There are endless possibilities to what it can be made into and how it can be manipulated.  There are also so many different recipes for home-made play dough available on the internet that Ethan has only used the bought stuff at playgroups we have visited.  I much prefer the home-made stuff, it keeps better, feels better to handle and doesn't combine together to make the murky grey colour that the commercial stuff does.  Below is our favourite play dough recipe.

Kool-Aid Play Dough  

2 Cups of Plain Flour
1/2 Cup of Salt
3 teaspoons of Cream of Tartar (available in the baking section of supermarket, next to baking soda)
2 tablespoons of Oil
1 Sachet of Kool-Aid
1.5 Cups of Boiling Water

Pour into the bowl in the order given.  Mix until combined with a spoon.  Leave to cool a bit and then knead.  If it is a bit sticky add a bit more flour.  Store in an airtight container.  This play dough smells really nice and keeps for ages.  I use some coloured kool-aid and some clear which I put liquid food colouring into until it took on the colour I wanted.  I ordered my Kool-aid off amazon but apparently you can get it from market stalls or some supermarkets in the UK now.   

Play dough is a great tool for imaginative play as it can become whatever we want it too.  It's also good for making into letters and numbers for introductions to literacy and maths.  Ethan likes adding his vehicles to it for small world play.  Adding different things gives a fresh element to the play too.  As well as specific play dough tools that shops sell, why not add sticks, pine cones, pebbles, shells and leaves?  As grown ups we all still like to have a go if play dough is in front of us.  There is something very satisfying about rolling up a piece into a ball, a sausage or a snail!  When I play with Ethan with the play dough we both relate to each other in a new way.  I become his play mate and I feel like a child again.  Ethan loves this and directs me and we think of ideas together.  Play dough is a good reminder in the importance of play which is child-led and spontaneous.  


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