Happy February, everybody! With the weather still unseasonably warm and our spirits super high, our Toddlers, Twos and Threes Art Group got to work on some fresh-from-the-kitchen playdough. We had so much fun squishing it, rolling it, shaping it, twisting it, cutting it, stamping it… pretty much everything except eating it (lots of fake eating however)!
There’s really no end to the kind of fun you can have with a big, warm ball of playdough. Three-dimensional molding is often favored, but also encourage your kids to try two-dimensional pictures. Can they make a flat crocodile with a bumpy tail? Playing with different perspectives gives kids an early lesson in dimensions and textures. Plus it’s a whole lot of fun!
Before you move onto sculptures and pictures, emphasize the tactile qualities of the playdough. Have your kids touch and knead and pull and stretch the dough. Roll it into long strings or tear it into little dough pieces. Have fun with shaping and re-shaping and encourage your kids to have as much fun smashing the dough as they have building into shapes.
You can also use it for early lessons on numbers. Roll some dough into a ball, then cut it in half. Ask your kids how many dough balls you have now. Then cut one of the balls in half again. Each time you divide, have them count the number of dough balls on the table.
Little hands may work best alone, but consider throwing in a few “tools” to use with the play dough. Simple wooden stampers, rolling pins, or cookie cutters go a long way in expanding the fun they can have. Don’t feel the need to get too elaborate or expensive with the kind of tools you use – just about anything works!
Speaking of inexpensive, store-bought playdough has its advantages, but compared to the homemade stuff, it’s expensive and dries out pretty quickly. Instead of shelling out money for small tubs of the store stuff, why not try making it at home?
– 2 cups flour
– 2 cups warm water
– 1 cup salt
– 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
– 1 Tablespoon cream of tartar
– Food coloring or Kool-Aid (coloring, optional)
Boil the water. Once it is ready to go, combine with all ingredients in either a standing mixer or a large mixing bowl. Mix until dough forms. Allow to cool completely before handing. Once it is cool enough to handle, knead until the dough is smooth.
Next Week – Cookie Cutter prints!
Toddlers, Twos and Threes Art Group meets every Wednesday at 10 am and is open to all members and visitors (with paid admission to PTLL’s playspace). The group is run by Megan Spak and Elisabeth Moyer, with assistance by Emily Fear.