Sunday, August 1, 2010


A salt dough photo frame made by my 4 year old daughter.  A sea theme with a mermaid on the left :)
My initial teacher training was back in the days when there were specific colleges for teachers - Teachers' College.  We went to college 5 days a week from 8-4.  Along with lectures it was a very hands on experience.  In the first week of college we looked at playdough. 

We made playdough.  We made simple salt, flour and water versions, we made microwave and stovetop versions.  We made playdough with cornstarch, and with varieties of other flour like wholemeal and soy. We used different oils and even glues.

dough with a touch of glitter

We scented out playdough, with essences, oils, custard powders and jelly crystals, coffee and mint leaves to name a few.  

We coloured our playdough with food colouring, and paint and food-dyes like beetroot. We left it "raw" and we swirled colour in later. 

We textured our playdough. We added sand and glitter and sawdust and dirt. Pasta and 100's and 1000's. 

We experimented with our playdough, with too much water, or flour or oil. We mixed two different doughs together. We tried pushing it through different utensils like sieves and garlic presses and egg slicers and graters. We dried it and made beads.  We froze it.

We manipulated our dough.  We rolled and cut and squeezed and slapped and imprinted and moulded and kneaded and pinched and threw...

And then we talked about our dough. We talked about all the benefits of playing with dough. Science, maths, language and literacy, fine motor and social development. And how calming it is.

My 7 year old daughter recently hosted a tea party for friends and making a batch of dough with them reminded me of the importance of playdough, and the simple joy.  

I have recently been wondering how I can stress to my new parents, the importance of play - perhaps I should let them play with playdough just like I did in those early days of my teacher training.

kneading and chatting 

serious 'work'


Deborah (Teach Preschool) said...

It is too bad that they don't do that here when it comes to the college classroom. Here the focus is so much on theory that the teachers miss out on the experience of preschool.

Shar Dean said...

I trained in New Zealand over 20 years ago and it is not the same now as it was. Although it was very intensive I am really grateful to have had that training. It is ironic isn't it that students are lectured on the importance of multiple intelligences and planning/teaching different learning styles, but mostly the university lecturers do not apply this knowledge to their own teaching delivery.

Valerie @ Frugal Family Fun Blog said...

Great idea! Play is SO important!!!

Sherry and Donna said...

I love the idea of getting your parents to play with the dough ... I bet they have trouble putting it down once the start!
Play based learning for adults ... I love it!
Donna :) :)