One of my fond memories from my own childhood is my mother making play dough for us. She must have cooked it, since I remember it it being warm when we played with it. It always had a nice, heavy feel in our hands, and the possibilities of a fresh ball of play dough seemed endless.
Squirm and I have just had our very first experience making and playing with play dough. After our experience with paint and other art, I knew we needed to go slow when I introduced it. I also knew that we needed to make sure it was non toxic – more than likely it would go in the mouth.
As it turned out, Squirm didn’t try to taste it at all, which really surprised me. He didn’t really want to interact with it, except when I put little shapes of play dough on the brick he was exploring. There he moved it, pressing his fingers into it and explored it a little more. We’ll play with it over the next couple of days to get him more used to it – but for a dollar or so of materials, I’m not real worried if he doesn’t get that into it.
Making the Play Dough
I started off using this recipe. (I didn’t want the bother of cooking play dough this time, so non cook was the best option) Since I wasn’t sure how it would turn out or how Squirm would react to it, I halved most the recipe, but added a little more than half the oil. I also used hot water. When I was adding the water, I added a little bit at a time to try and get the best mix. Having some extra flour around would be good in case you use too much water, though.
The best tip I have is to put the spoon down once you start adding water and knead it together by hand. You can get a much better feel for the play dough that way and you’re more likely to get what you want.
I also held off on adding the food colour. When I had the play dough to the consistency I wanted, I divided it into four small balls. I then put a couple of drops of yellow colouring in the middle of one, and that was what we played with today. When we came back inside I coloured the others for later play.
When we came back in I did notice the dough left out on the bench was a little dry. It moistened up as soon as I started playing with it, and it might keep better now that I have it in a container. I’ll keep an eye on it over the next couple of days and report back.
This really is a nice way to start playing with play dough. I’ll be very interested to see if Squirm becomes more interactive with it over the week, as well as if he’ll keep up his record of putting everything in his mouth . . . I bet the salt of the play dough will be a bit of a shock!