Friday, February 4, 2011

Playdough: More Then Squishy Fun

Playdough is more then a creative outlet for budding sculptures.  It is one of the simplest ways to develop fine motor skills in your preschooler.  All that squishing, rolling, cutting, and pinching gives your child's writing muscles a good work-out, even before they start writing!  Plus, it can keep even the shortest attention span busy for say, 10 minuets (enough time to brush your teeth and hair or make a quick lunch).  For busy, working moms, store-bought playdough is good.  But I recommend making your own.  It's softer and versatille (see "optional"), plus if you let your little one be involved in the process, you are throwing in a basic science lesson about heat and change too.  Double bonus!

Here is my favorite recipe:
3 cups flour
1 cup salt 
6 tsp. cream of tartar
3 cups water
3 tbsp. oil
food coloring of choice (or liquid water color)

Optional: glitter, scents (rose, lavender, orange, peppermint, etc.)

Mix all ingredients in a large pan over low to medium heat.  Use a whisk as you gradually add the water to the dry ingredients to help prevent clumps.  Stir until mixture forms a semi-sticky ball.  Remove from heat and knead until smooth.  Store in an airtight container. Gallon Ziploc bags work well. 

Additional ideas for playdough exploration:
  1.  Scissors:  Ever buy kids scissors that don't work?  They will work with playdough!  Kids love cutting playdough, plus your exercising those fine motor skill muscles again!
  2. Loose items: Buttons, google eyes, pipe cleaners, straws, plastic flowers, beads, and more!  Be creative.  
  3. Garlic Press:  My dad taught me to use a garlic press to make hair for my playdough creations when I was a child.  My kids make worms with it.  What will your child create?  
Do you have more ideas for playdough?  I'd love to hear them!  Please share with us by leaving a comment below!  

Lessons in dough:
  1. Dramatic Play: Give your child a cookie sheet, rolling pin, plastic bowls, apron, cookie cutters, utensils, and anything else you can think of.  They can play bakery!  
  2. Science: Making playdough is a lesson in physical science.  Your child will observe how heat changes the ingredients from a gooey mess to a more solid state.  When you add scents to your dough, your child is also exploring their senses; let them explore all 5 of them (unless you add glitter, then no tasting!)
  3. Holidays/Seasons:  Use peppermint scent at Christmas and make red or green dough.  For Valentines day, make red or pink dough with glitter.  In March make green dough with green glitter.  For spring, add some floral scent and make your dough pink, lavender, light blue, or yellow.  And in the fall, add some cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice and make orange dough.   
Do you know any additional lessons for playdough?  I'd love to hear them!  Please share with us by leaving a comment below!   

1 comment:


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...