I'm stealing this list from an article in the Globe and Mail, which I found linked to on the 'Free Range Parenting' blog that I follow and love. I plan to add to it, and maybe even check off things when my kids have done them!
Yesterday morning, I made play-dough for Celia for the first time. I found this recipe online...
- 2 cups flour
- 2 cups warm water
- 1 cup salt
- 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 Tbsp cream of tartar (optional for improved elasticity)
- Food colouring
Add all ingredients except food colouring to a pot, mix together and continue stirring over low heat. The dough will begin to thicken until it resembles mashed potatoes. I found that the mixture stayed the same for awhile - I eventually turned up the heat slightly which sped up the process. Once it started to thicken, I found it thickened quite quickly.
When the dough pulls away from the sides and clumps in the center, as shown below, remove the pan from heat and allow the dough to cool enough to handle. There was a note in the recipe that said if the dough was still sticky, it needed to cook more.
Then, I took a ball of it and mixed in some liquid food colouring by hand. I have no pictures of this, because my hands were covered in food colouring!
So, initially I put a clump in front of Celia and gave her a plastic knife to play with and demonstrated how you could cut and make patterns in the dough. She then asked for a spoon, so I brought her a plastic fork and spoon, thinking she could have fun with those also. Evidently I didn't catch on that because she was strapped into her booster seat in her usual eating-spot, she assumed this purple goo in front of her was food. I clearly told her not to eat it, and I know she understands those words, but when she took a bit on her fork and started bringing it toward her face, I decided to let her find out for herself what it tasted like.
She put it in her mouth, made the most hilarious 'this is disgusting' face, and said 'Mmmm!' as if indulging me or attempting to be polite despite the awful taste. I put my hand below her chin and told her to feel free to spit it out - she did, eventually, but not before she had tried to enjoy it. Valiant effort.
Since she was clearly unsure that it was not food, I played with it for awhile 'with' her, demonstrating how to make a little bowl, a banana, a cake and then chopping it into pieces (maybe I should stop with the food references, way to be confusing). "Don't eat it! But LOOK! It's a BANANA!"
She is probably too young yet to really 'get' it. I finally balled it up and handed it to her, saying 'Look! A Ball!'. She loved this! Lately she's been quite obsessed with anything spherical - my geeky husband and I who have no knowledge of or experience with sports whatsoever are terrified we are seeing a soccer-kid in the making - and when the playdough was shaped like her favourite toy, she was thrilled.
She grew tired of it quickly even still - too young, me thinks? and it was soon bedtime. I lumped the three balls of playdough into a margarine container and into the fridge they went. I'm sure we'll see them again this rainy week.
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