By Mummy B.
Mimi B. spends every day with me. She is an active little girl who loves to be stimulated, so I often have to find activities to distract her, but also teach her some things.
Over the months, we bought some educational materials and Santa Claus helped us a bit! Mimi B. received a Play Doh kit two months ago (thank you Santa Claus from Uncle N. and Auntie F.!).
This is one of the activities she prefers and one of the easiest to set up at home.
Some advice for a no-drama activity
When we are doing this kind of activity with Mimi, it is important to me that she is involved in both setting and tidying. For play dough, the activity takes place on the dining table. Mimi protects it with a plastic mat that also defines her creative space. Then we bring out the dough and utensils.
For now, she uses only one color at a time. When Mimi wants to change, the first color is stored back in the pot before bringing out the next one. So we won’t end up with six not-very-beautiful-brown dough pots!
I give her no directions, I prefer to see her expressing her own creativity. Right now, what she prefers is to make “Olaf” snowmen (Thank you Frozen!) and some birthday cakes. She loves to spread the dough with the roller and having fun with the press to make streamers of all kinds.
At the end of the workshop, we clean carefully each accessory where dough can hide. And we quickly put the dough back into the pot to prevent drying.
After trying a cheap dough (Rose Art Fun Dough, found at Target, $ 1 for 4 pots), I turned to the famous Play Doh, a safe bet! It is much more malleable, does not dry out and like Daddy B. says “That smell is a drug!”.
Learning with play dough
If I don’t ask Mimi to create anything in particular, this workshop is nevertheless an opportunity to teach her some learnings. Colors, for instance, which is still ongoing (Mimi B. still resists!). So we call each color before using it and we even experiment color mixtures with Rose Art play dough as it was quite used and dried so we can study the primary colors (yellow, red, blue) and complementary colors (green, purple, orange) that can be created through the first three.
It is also an opportunity to focus on shapes. Round, square, triangle, diamond, rectangle … different molds are perfect for learning how to differentiate one from each other.
As Mimi B. likes to create snowmen, we can also speak about the human body morphology. If she perfectly knows the names of various body parts, modeling them in 3D is not always easy.
Play dough, an activity which changes with the age of children
I waited Meryl to go over her “I put everything in my mouth” phase (which lasted particularly long!) before offering her some workshops with play dough. But you can also make your own edible dough and therefore play with a children much younger than 2 years old. So he or she will be able to work fine motor skills and play with the soft texture of the dough.
When they will be older, the creation of more realistic shapes and the use of utensils will interest more your children.
Thereafter, you can tackle more complex creations that require multiple colors.
An activity not very expensive, but profitable as it will keep busy your children well and for a long time!
Here are the two kits that we use with Mimi B.: