Holidays are the best time to get your DIY on, as you have a base to start creating from. My child is 2.5 so he’s still home with me, and I’m always looking for fun activities to encourage learning. In March, our focus is St. Patrick’s day so that entails books under that theme, lots of green and gold and a focus on anything that ties in with this particular holiday such as leprechauns, rainbows, gold, 4 leaf clovers, etc. This is why months with holiday’s rock; you have endless material to work from!
Playdough is an awesome and fun learning tool for small children. As an educator, I know the benefits of playdough and they are significant for toddlers, they include:
-Building up strength in all the tiny hand muscles
-Poking in objects and pulling them out of play dough works on co-ordination
-Squishing, squeezing, rolling, flattening, chopping, cutting, shredding develops fine motor skills and requires concentration
-Imaginative play (making a cake out of playdough and adding candles for example)
-Adding scents to the playdough can heighten the imaginative play or also work as a calming tool if you add essential oils
-Exploring textures (letting them add pasta, natural objects like leaves and sticks, straws, rice)
-Maths and Literacy development (using alphabet and number cutters, using placemats that explore letters and numbers)
-Science and Discovery: the act of making the playdough itself and talking about the process and asking questions leads into early science. Talking about the liquids and solid materials being used, observing the changing states of materials.
Now, let’s get started on making some awesome, sparkly homemade lime Jell-O playdough for your little one(s)!
You will need:
-white flour – 1 cup
-warm water – 1 cup
-salt – 2 tbsp
-cream of tartar – 2 tbsp
-cooking oil – 2 tbsp
-Jello – 1 3oz pack
1. Mix all together in a bowl
2. Cook on medium heat
3. Place on floured cutting board to cool for 30mins
4. Add ½ cup for flour and let kids knead it (add glitter and extra food coloring at this stage for a more rich color)
Note: there are several recipes on Pinterest, click here for this original recipe. (http://www.modernparentsmessykids.com/2012/05/play-dough.html)
I’ve made homemade playdough a million times with my students and now I’m constantly making it with my son. The reason I love the homemade stuff best, is that the kids get to experience creating it with you which is an invaluable experience in and of itself. It’s also a great way to bond with children and show them that they have the tools to create. Not to mention, its chemical free and the healthier alternative to the store bought stuff.
This playdough not only looks good, it smells awesome too. Keep it stored in an air tight container and refrigerated to keep it fresh for as long as possible (typically 1-2 weeks with daily use).
Happy St. Patrick’s Day, and may the luck of the Irish be with you today!