Here is a fun recipe for a soft and stre-e-e-etchy play-dough.
This play-dough requires no cooking and has a really unique consistency that is fun for squeezing, stretching, pulling apart, and poking. This dough isn't meant for intricate modeling as it doesn't hold its shape well. I found the basic recipe in the book First Art : Art Experiences for Toddlers and Twosby MaryAnn Kohl. (A fantastic book that I highly recommend!)
food coloring (optional)
measuring cup (1 cup size)
Suggested Exploration Tools:
plastic knives for cutting
plastic "dough" scissors
small sticks for poking (chopsticks, popscicle sticks, stir sticks or thin dowels)
child size rolling pins
Before you bring your toddler to the table, do the following:
1) Protect table and clothing- This dough is oily. Which is great for dry skin on hands, but not so great for fabrics so you may want to lay out a plastic tablecloth. If you are also concerned about your clothes, you may want to put on an art smock or apron. I just put the kids in their diapers at the table which makes clean-up even easier!
2) Set the Table: After protecting the work surface, bring all of your supplies over. You will need a bag of four and a measuring cup. Also, for each child's "spot" set out:
-1 cup oil*
-1 cup water*
- food coloring (optional)
- mixing bowel
- various exploration tools
*TIP: Pre-measure the oil and water. It is one less thing you will have to do once you bring the child over to the table and one less distraction!
Process (Adult and Kids):
1) Have the child pour the water and the oil into the mixing bowel and attempt to stir them together with a spoon.
Observations- Notice that the water and oil do not mix no matter how much we stir. Explain to your child that water and oil are immiscible which means that they can not be blended together. TIP: Don't be afraid to use words like that with your toddlers and preschoolers. Even the littlest scientist will appreciate a large vocabulary.
2) Optional: have the child squeeze in a few drops of food coloring into the water. (Warning: food coloring main stain skin, hands, and clothing.)
Explorations: Name the colors as you show them to your child. "This one is blue. This bottle is red." Give them the power to choose what colors they want to add to their dough. Also, talk about how mixing colors makes new colors. Example: red and yellow make orange; blue and red make purple; and blue and yellow make green. And relax...you will probably end up with dark gray water as your toddler experiments with the colors...or splotchy colors as they struggle to stir like we did. But don't worry or stress. It is more important that they have fun.
Observations: Observe that the food coloring is miscible with the water and changes the water colors. However, the food coloring is immiscible with the oil.
3) Using the measuring cup measure 4 cups of flour into each bowel.
Explorations: Have the child help count out the four cups. Also, allow them to practice pouring the flour into the bowel. Don't worry if it spills. The measurements don't have to be precise.
4) Use a spoon or your hands to stir the flour mixture together. After getting it mostly blended, bring the dough out onto the table and knead it with your hands.
Observations and Explorations: Feel the flour before mixing it. Then feel how the flour changes as we mix it with our liquids. Young children also will probably enjoy kneading the dough with their hands.
5) Allow the children to explore the dough with their various tools for as long as they are interested.
Observations and Explorations: Notice that this dough is incredibly "stretchy". Roll the dough into a "snake" shape. And then show the children how it can be held up into the air and swung around to streeee-e-e-tch it. Model other exploration methods like poking the dough with straws or sticks for example.
-Fine motor skills
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