Monday, September 13, 2010

Play-Doh and Your Five Year Old

Every time my son was invited to a birthday party, I'd go shopping for a gift and my husband would say, "Play-Doh again?" In my opinion, it is the ultimate toy! Now that my son is 9, I can't justify buying his friends Play-Doh. My daughter is in kindergarten this year and Play-Doh is a staple in our house. I buy Play-Doh is bulk and we also make our own Play-Doh.

Why do I love this messy art material that can potentially get ground into your carpet? All of the smooshing, rolling, pounding, and squishing helps develop small motor skills and strengthens fingers, hands, and wrists. We do a lot of sketching, writing, and illustrating in kindergarten. Well developed hand muscles are very helpful! I also love that Play-Doh provides open ended, imaginative play. There is no right or wrong way to create with Play-Doh. (Well, there are the obvious no-no's like don't eat or throw Play-Doh.) Aside from that, Play-Doh play is something everyone can feel successful at. Most importantly, Play-Doh is fun. I dare you not to sit down and make a few snakes with your kids!

We have a large collection of rollers, cookie cutters, and special Play-Doh molds at our house and in our classroom. If you don't have a great collection at home, there are lots of items around your house that you can use for Play-Doh play.

*rolling pins
*popsicle sticks
*cupcake papers
*small plastic animals
*birthday candles
*plastic knives

Here's the recipe for homemade Play-Doh if you'd like to try it out at home.

2 cups flour
1 cup salt (Yep, you read that right - 1 CUP.)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 teaspoons cream of tartar
2 cups boiling water and a little food coloring

Measure and combine the first four ingredients in a large bowl. Stir well. Quickly pour boiling water and food coloring into dry ingredients ans stir. Turn onto a table and knead as soon as it is cool enough to handle. Store in an air tight container for up to three months.

I hope you'll give this a try at home. Don't tell him that I told you this, buy my 9 year old still loves to play with my homemade Play-Doh too!

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