Sunday, October 18, 2009

its the process not the product: playdough

Playdough today Mum" my eager 4 year old announces at breakfast. No problem, I thought as I began to pull the stuff out of the cupboard. "No Mum, I' m going to do it today, all by myself". Its on the tip of my tongue to say " no its faster if I do it" "its too messy for you to do" and just plain "no, not today", but I took a second and thought about it ( rare at 7am to be able to do that really!). How often do I say " no" when really she could do it herself? How often do I do things for her cos its easier and less trouble?? Why not let her have a go? So I took a big breath and said "Ok." (Hey whats a brand new kitchen when your making playdough?!? ;))

And so she found the ingredients and laid them out. Found the recipe on the cream of tartar pack ("Wow! Isnt that handy Mum!") Gets the pot out of the cupboard along with a spoon...cant find a measuring cup bigger than a 1/3 cup. No worries we'll just work it out...

"Mum not food colouring today, it needs to be bright and happy"... Hmmm ok so we will add real paint. Not too difficult, slightly more messy but still ok.

"Mum we definitely need two different colours". Oh no come on really?? This means two batches of playdough to make, two lots of mess, two pans, twice as long to make.....and my 7am brain again says "no really one colour is enough" but somehow we decide that it would be much more fun to be able to play with two colours.


And so, by herself, she begins to make her purple bubblegum-looking playdough. We talked about how three 1/3 cups is the same as one normal cup, how adding more purple paint makes it darker, and how it looks good enough to eat :)

She read out the recipe herself, I helped with the cooking part (thankfully I was allowed to do that part seeing as I tend to burn it everytime I wasnt sure how it would turn out.. possibly better no doubt!)

Purple done. Now onto Pink!

And its funny, it took us most of the morning to make it all and clean up and we only played with it about 10 minutes. But it was the process that she thoroughly enjoyed and learnt so much from. And she was really proud of herself as well.

And I realised that maybe, just maybe, I should say " yes, why not!?" more often :)


  1. as an aside, when i make it at school, i use boiling water (and mix the first bit til it cools down enough for the kids to take over) rather than cooking it since most schools don't have readily accessible stoves and it seems to be less hassle.

    i also tend to have to use food colouring (yes often entire bottles per batch to get the right 'bright, happy' colours!) since they so often eat it, even with extra salt added!

  2. I havent ever tried it with just boiling water.. Im guessing it turns out the same?
    We normally use food colouring as the colours are great :) I have never had any of them go close to trying it which is good but I normally use non toxic paint everywhere anyway. This was a special occasion to use "real" paint". Plus I for the life of me cannot make purple using food colouring!