Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Starting with the Basics

So where do I start when looking for an idea to share, from all of the hundreds of tips and tricks stored throughout the years in my memory? I guess the best place to start is with the basics – the staples that every joyful mommy needs in her tool kit. And what could be more basic, or more wonderful, than a great playdough recipe! Playdough is the perfect indoor activity for rainy autumn afternoons, and great for a wide age range. Babies as little as 8 or 9 months will love poking and pounding, while kids up to school age can express their creative side.  And the developmental benefits of playing with playdough are almost endless!
Playing with playdough promotes:
·         Development of fine motor skills including dexterity and hand strength, needed for skills such as drawing, writing and cutting with scissors.
·         Sensory exploration – learning to process and integrate information received through the senses. Playdough can be particularly helpful for children who are reluctant to touch new things or get their hands dirty – a fun way to help ease them into sensory play.
·         Language development – playing together with playdough provides endless opportunities for parents to model language and have conversations with their children.
·         Concept development – playdough provides great opportunities to talk about concepts such as size, shape, colour and texture.
·         Creativity and imagination – if you can dream it, you can create it! Be sure to provide some playdough toys, such as plastic cookie cutters and rolling pins.
·         And of course, fun and togetherness – the most important part of all.
This is my favourite playdough recipe of the many I’ve tried over the years. The Kool-Aid adds vibrant colour and  makes it smell absolutely yummy, but it still tastes awful which discourages most little ones from eating it. And if they do eat it – don’t worry! It’s entirely edible…
Scented Playdough
2 cups flour
1 package unsweetened Kool-Aid
1 cup salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups boiling water
In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, Kool-Aid powder, and salt. Add oil and boiling water and stir until well combined. When mixture has cooled slightly, knead until smooth. Store playdough in an airtight container in the fridge. Enjoy!

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