Guest Post and Playdough Recipe By Lisa Bradburn
As a mum to three wonderful children and a primary school teacher turned toy-hunter*, Playdough has long been a part of my life.
*Yes, I really am a toy-hunter. I hunt down unique and unusual gifts for children!
From shop-bought ‘Play-Doh’ to hard-as-nails plasticine, mouldable dough has long been in my educational tool kit.
It never ceases to amaze me how simple, everyday items can entertain children. And as a mum, there’s nothing more satisfying than an affordable, do-it-yourself solution that educates and entertains.
I have perfected a fail-proof Playdough recipe. It makes enough to half-fill a family-sized ice cream tub and it is:
- Good for three months (keep it in an air tight container in the fridge)
- Soft and squidgy – you don’t need to warm it up in your hands before your kids can play with it
- Easy to get off the carpet (because it’s the perfect consistency)
- Full of salt so your kids won’t want to it eat!
You can find a link to this playdough recipe at the end of this article. But before that, let me share with you some marvellous ways to take Playdough beyond the ordinary.
- Add colour
Otherwise it’s creamy-white and very uninspiring. Add colour to help your children learn their colours and how, for example, blue and yellow mix to make green. Perhaps split your Playdough mixture into three and colour them red, blue and yellow – the primary colours – from which you can create all the colours of the rainbow. Try adding glow in the dark paint, too!
- Add scent
Add scents to your Playdough like lemon juice, peppermint or coffee. Pungent smells that associate colours with objects add another dimension to play. Scent sparks another sense and inspires games of make belief. Baking and kitchen games for example, become more ‘real’ when you’re cutting slices of yellow Playdough that actually smell like lemon!
- Add sparkles
If you use the really fine glitter, the results are mesmerizing. This is always a favourite at Christmas but it is fun any time of the year. Just like the scent, sparkles add another dimension to play and imagination. Try adding silver, purple and blue glitter to black Playdough to create a galaxy!
- Bake it!
Did you know you can bake Playdough? In my classroom days, we would roll the Playdough into biscuits and all sorts of other pretend baked goods. Rolling out is hard – kids really struggle with it. Practicing with Playdough means if it’s not right, you can simply ball it up and start again.
I’d bake the biscuits at home, over night, and the next day the children would have ‘real’ biscuits to use in the home corner.
Of course, you can do this with real food dough, but with Playdough you don’t have to worry about hygiene or health and safety – it’s never going to be eaten!
- Teaching with Playdough
Count, add up and subtract pretend biscuits for a group of friends, make letters and spell out words, teach ‘thin’ and ‘thick’, teach shapes and animals. There are endless ideas and endless possibilities with Playdough.
You can find my fail-proof Playdough recipe here.
How do you use Playdough to teach and entertain your kids? What do you add to it do make it extra special? Let me know in the comments.
About the author: Lisa Bradburn is the managing director of what2buy4kids – a place to find quality, unusual gifts for kids. Lisa built her business out of first-hand frustration at the lack of interesting and available gift ideas for children. Now, she hunts them down so you don’t have to and provides endless entertainment inspiration for children of all ages.
*Ad guest post contribution. Image credit “idea” – Posterize – “Playdough Swirl” – nattavut – both freedigitalphotos.net .