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It's the most wonderful time of the year (to make playdough!)


Christmas holidays are a time where you and your family create lasting memories through the adventures you go on during this period. However, we all know there are times when you might not go anywhere and just want to stay at home to rest and relax. Especially now, with the uncertainty of Covid-19, you may not want to venture too far from home.


If you find yourself running out of ideas to keep the children entertained while you're at home over the holiday period – do not fear and keep reading. This is where we (all the teachers at preschool) can help! We have a wealth of knowledge on all sorts of activities that can keep the boredom away and sibling bickering to a minimum. These activities do not need anything big and expensive in fact, you'll find most of what you need is either in your pantry or around the house! How fantastic does that sound!


So, to start you off, we have a simple Playdough activity that can be varied to suit your child's interest – the possibilities are endless! You have a full range of play dough equipment in your kitchen and garden too! Just remember infants and toddlers put everything in their mouths, so keep an eye on those choking hazards.


You can add toys from your child's toy box (cars, dinosaurs, Polly pockets, dolls, animals, sea creatures), kitchen utensils (spoons, butter knife, cookie cutters, small bowels), natural resources from the garden (flowers, sticks, leaves, pinecones), make small portions and in different colours to suit your theme. The best part is that you can save the playdough, and it will last a week in the fridge or in an air-tight container!!


Below is an easy playdough recipe, and you'll find all the ingredients in your pantry. To add an extra sensory element (smell and texture), you can all some orange rind, lemon rind or vanilla essence. These are all-natural and safe for your child as we all know they like to eat and mouth everything at this age. Please do not put essential oils in your playdough, as these can be potentially harmful to your child.


Homemade playdough recipe

1 cup flour

¼ cup salt

1 tbsp cream of tartar

1 tsp food colouring

1 tbsp cooking oil

1 cup boiling water

Mix together

Tip out and knead

Enjoy!

We have a very technical process here at preschool when making playdough: throw everything in a bowl and mix like crazy! Nothing needs to be super hard when an easy, convenient and fun way to do it is available! Then, if it's too wet, add more flour. If it's too dry, add more hot water till you get the consistency you want. Then look at that! You've made playdough! Great job!


Playdough has many educational benefits too:


Fine motor development: Moulding playdough is excellent for developing a child's fine motor development. Children mould, flatten, squish, pinch, break and roll the substance. To develop fine motor control even further, give your child extra utensils to play with, such as cutters, plastic knives and a rolling pin.


Vocabulary and creativity: One of the ways playdough helps children's development is that while they work on their creations, they form new ideas and concepts. They will learn new words such as roll, squeeze and flatten, along with words describing what they are making when you verbalise what is happening during their experience with play dough.


Literacy and numeracy: Following a basic playdough recipe is an excellent opportunity to teach your child some early mathematical skills by learning about measurements and quantities. They also learn about reading information for meaning, such as recipe instructions. In addition, adding objects such as pompoms, sticks or rocks can provide an excellent opportunity to learn about number concepts, counting and patterns, and activities such as using a biscuit cutter to make multiple shapes out of the playdough.


Concentration: One of the best skills that playdough develops is attention span. As children develop a sense of perseverance, they will also concentrate on what they are making and feeling.

These are just some of the benefits of making playdough!


We hope you enjoy making and creating fun memories with your children through this easy playdough activity, Aroha the Teaching team at Ashburton Baptist Preschool.


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