Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Process, not product

A disposable art material, intended for playing but not for keeping, is playdough. It's not edible, it won't keep for years, and baking it makes it brittle without extra strength. It's not an investment in permanence, which can be therapeutic in itself for some people.

Æsthetically, it's nice for children. It starts off warm (starts off hot), feels good, and smells good, especially with some of the additives Pam Sorooshian recommends here. The play is soothing and easily shared, It can all be saved in ziploc bags for a while, and eventually thrown away.

Meanwhile, children can discover color combinations from mixing bits of different batches. They can experiment with making coil pots and little sculptures, or just generally squish the dough through their fingers. If your children are older, they might still have big fun. If your children are grown, you-the-mom (or dad) might find some unexpected entertainment yourself.

The recipe is at the link below, and other notes about things to do with young children are linked from there.

photo by Holly Dodd


  1. Passing on an e-mail note:

    And tools! You can buy cheap sets of plastic play dough tools with extruders, rollers, cutters and stuff... but even if you can't afford those you can just use basic kitchen utensils. Making patterns with a fork, rolling out with a rolling pin (or jam jar) or cutting out shapes with a knife or cookie cutters is great fun and adds a whole extra dimension! We love play dough!

    J x

  2. You can also experiment with coloring the play dough using beets, blueberries, juiced kale or carrots.

  3. Even when we don't have a great deal of food in the fridge I always have the ingedients to make playdoh in the cupboard. Great stuff.


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