October 31, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Inspired by Nurturestore‘s post on Babycentre this morning, I packed all the bits and bobs I’d need to make up a batch of orange sparkly cooked playdough over at Gran and Grandad’s house. And of course a few other bits – googly eyes and pipecleaners! Also on my agenda was to carve the final pumpkin we gathered from the pumpkin farm the other morning, and to use the seeds from it as extra decoration for the playdough. I didn’t use spices to scent my playdough though, I hadn’t thought of that (I might sneak some in and give it a good knead this evening now!) – I scented mine with almond essence, mainly just to get rid of the floury smell!
It was fab though I left the dough out as a simple invitation to play, while I carved the pumpkin. First, Bear came along and climbed up, and played with the dough with Gran while I carved.
Then, we had lunch and the playdough seemed to be forgotten about so once I’d finished the pumpkin and had cleaned and baked the seeds I re-made the invitation to play, and set it up so that both boys could sit at the bench and get to it. I told Bean that it was ready for whenever he was finished playing with his new lego!
I settled down with my wool and left them to it, playing with their grandparents – but soon I heard playdough noises and went to investigate, and found…
Bean and Bear, sitting at the bench with Grandad, making alienosaurs with the googly eyes and pumpkin seeds! They played for such a long time making their creations. Eventually Bear got tired and came for a cuddle and fell asleep, but Bean just kept on playing and eventually the playdough scene became inspired by watching the workman in the garden who was laying a new set of flagstones. Just amazing listening to his running narrative about what he’s doing and what the story is about. I don’t make playdough very often to be honest, but when I do I always think I should make it more often! Or at least try and make a fresh colour every couple of weeks and set up a new invitation to play
May 30, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Took a fair bit of food colouring gels but it was SO worth it!! I made pirate playdough today. My eyes needed matchsticks and I forgot to put any caffeine in my coffee but Bean wanted to make pirate cakes and pirate playdough and how could I refuse?!
I split a batch of regular cooked playdough gloop into three: the first bit I cooked plain, the second I added a tube and a half of black gel and a big squirt of blue gel; and the third I added almost two tubes of red gel and a vial of edible gold lustre (which I had left over from making my birthday cake last year!). Yeah, a LOT of gel colouring went into it but oh my goodness it was gorgeous to play with. The boys LOVED it. We added a lot of blue glitter to the black dough, and the boys both had a lot of fun mixing the red and black together, and hiding and finding pirate treasure (red glass beads). I cut some little flags out of shiny black card and taped them to cocktail sticks, and Bean found a Lego Bob to be his pirate. Bear had a wooden cow! They played for ages. LOTS of fun!
Doesn’t it look gorgeous all marbled together like this?!
March 29, 2013 § Leave a Comment
We combined two loves today: paint AND playdough! Last night I made a batch of yellow playdough ready for easter playdough fun. Today we have had an abysmal day with cranky children and the playdough cheered both of them up.
I laid out the playdough in balls, and scattered some red craft feathers on the table along with some googly eyes.
Bean had a lot of fun!
Bear decided he was just going to eat everything today so I was kept on my toes a fair bit more than normal. But he still had fun!
Then Bean asked me to make the chicks so that he could play with them. I made some chick shaped critters for him and he put feathers in their heads and for wings and tails. Of course then they needed a nest.
Then I brought out the paintings he’d done, because they looked like water! Bean was thrilled, and had a long playtime with the chicks in the water.
Happy Easter everyone!
March 28, 2013 § Leave a Comment
I declared a “no-tv” morning this morning after watching LOTS of DVDs yesterday. I suggested lots of different things we could do instead. Bean asked if he could watch something while I did some housework, so I let him watch an episode of Octonauts. And he didn’t want any more after that, he came and said he wanted to do some “work” now! I’m not sure I like that he considered playing with playdough or painting “work”, I might have to ask his preschool about that one.
We got the playdough out. He asked for black playdough, he likes the black stuff at the moment! Bear was given a tub of red playdough (I keep pots of various coloured dough in the fridge, if it doesn’t get destroyed it keeps really well for quite a while) and they set to work.
Bean wanted to make a beach! I have a tub of red glass pebbles and pieces of smooth shell so I went and found that. He wanted wood as well but I don’t have any driftwood at the moment. I did have, however, his velociraptor and a plastic tree and was that ok? It was, and so the story began….
The dinosaur was a mummy dinosaur and she had three eggs, and they hatched and she carried them on her head to a tree and helped them climb and play in the tree!
The Bear was having a ball with his red playdough. He was pressing glass beads and shells and playdough tooltips into his dough, and using the rolling pin to make indents in it.
Then I found Noah, and a pig, and a plastic hoop – and we had a funfair, with the pig jumping through the hoop!
Good fun this morning!!
January 15, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Kind of unexpectedly a little while ago on a Friday I found myself child-free and did what any rational mama would do and made a break for freedom, to wander round the shops alone for ten minutes! Ten minutes turned into a little over half an hour and the little Bear was decidedly awake and had just started wailing for me when I returned, but in the meantime I managed to wander around the supermarket completely aimlessly, sure there was something I ought to be buying.
I got home with all the bits I’d need to make a batch of playdough, and fingerpaints! Good old brain, lets me down in the best possible ways sometimes!
So when we started being struck down by the horrid winter vomiting bug the next day I was glad I’d been out and got these supplies. I made up a batch of regular cooked playdough, this time though to make things easier on myself I mixed it up in a bowl and ladled out portions into the pan to cook my red, yellow and blue separately, adding the colour before cooking. Ohhhhh I love the feel of freshly cooked playdough!! I made twice as much yellow as I did blue and red, as I planned to put the dough into pots like this, ready for play:
The plain blue, red and yellow pots had piles of glitter ready to mix into them, and there were two other pots ready to mix together to make secondary colours of orange and greeen. Every opportunity I get I try and reinforce the idea of mixing colours to make other ones, one day I’m sure the Bean will remember!!
By Monday everyone had been through it and we were exhausted but needed something to do so out came the playdough. My Bean was super happy, I forget (and I think he does too) how much he enjoys playdough. He loved mixing in the glitter, and was excited about the glitter being the same colour as the dough, and then needing to share the glitter with the other colours too! He really got the hang of cutting out shapes this time as well, squashing the dough down flat and cutting out stars.
Even little Bear got involved, even if he is still obsessed with trying to eat the stuff.
The colour-mixing pots were a success too, although they came out so early on in our playtime that Bean hadn’t really got the hang of squashing and squishing so he handed it over to me to finish mixing, once we’d seen what colour it was making.
He made LOTS of stars. The star cutters were a brilliant idea!
(A couple of days later I made a batch of chocolate biscuit dough and his obsession with stars didn’t let me down – these are all his handiwork!)
Then he surprised us and asked for some scissors, to snip the ends of the stars off, to make “diamonds”. Very very diligently he started cutting all the points off his stars until my heart couldn’t cope any longer, and we substituted the scissors for a wooden knife! I know he’s good with scissors, but for some reason I was more twitchy than I usually am. Baby Bear watched intently, and added finger poked holes into the row of stars.. I’m sure he would have loved to have had a go with the scissors.
This is the invitation to play that was set up ready for the following day – small balls of coloured dough, with the star cutters, some mini cake cases, and foil wrappers. I live in hope!
This however is what I actually came home to, after taking the Bear out for a walk to get him to sleep. ALL the playdough was out and Bean and Grandma were having a whale of a time!! I think Grandma was having as much fun as Bean, she was doing the dough modelling as Bean was weaving a fantastic story, using her models and asking for others, weaving the mall into his story, The models evolved with the story, ducks laying eggs, eggs hatching, ducklings having sleepovers and visiting friends, crocodiles making friends, ponds and nests and grass – it was amazing. They were both delighted when I produced a pack of playdough tools!!
Bean was keen to show his baby brother what he’d been doing.
And keen to tell me some of the story too!
We had to clear up for dinner sadly, so the story scene was decanted into a one of these fab foil roasting trays, and Grandma made a clay soldier to keep watch over the story while we ate.
I made that dough in the hope it would be played with – never imagined the scope of the Bean’s imagination! His storytelling is hugely engaging and imaginative and he LOVES doing it!
August 13, 2012 § Leave a Comment
I took a batch of black rubbery playdough with us on holiday in case of a rainy day. As it turned out we had LOTS of rainy days, but the day we first played with the playdough was actually sunny! We looked after my neice and the eldest of my nephews one day as we were tired and couldn’t quite face another shopping expedition.
I made the black rubber (it became rubbery because I overcooked it….. although it’s softened with age thank goodness!) using the regular cooked playdough recipe, and added a whole (small) tub of black food colouring gel, and the remains of my blue liquid food colouring. I scented it with quite a few drops of olbas oil – primarily because I really like the smell, but as it turned out we all had colds and blocked noses so it was a great scent to have used! I took a pot of blue glitter with us for the kids to mix in.
Well, they loved it!
We squashed and squished, added LOTS of glitter, rolled it out, made handprints and snails, stuck red glass beads in, buried the glass beads.
The kids asked for table playdough every time they came after that – especially for more glitter to add to it!
We finished by making imprints of our hands in the dough and comparing the sizes of our hands. My niece and nephew made their prints, and then they asked my husband to make a handprint and were amazed at how much bigger his was than theirs!
June 22, 2012 § 1 Comment
Honestly. Why didn’t I realise this before? It’s biscuit dough!!!!
Here’s the recipe I used to make chocolatey biscuits. Messy Boy was fast asleep – exhaustion finally caught up with him from our week away – but I LOVED playing with (and eating hahaha) this playdough.
Chocolate biscuit recipe
2 cups plain flour (about 170g)
1/2 cup caster sugar (about 85g)
3 tbsp cocoa powder
175g butter, room temp
1 tbsp lemon curd
1 tbsp nutella
Chocolate glace icing
6tbsp icing sugar (confectioners’ sugar)
1tbsp cocoa powder
1tbsp cornflour (cornstarch)
a few drops vanilla extract
Sift dry ingredients, add butter, lemon curd and nutella (I was going to add just lemon curd but only had one dollop left hence the nutella) and mix with a wooden spatula (or a food processor) until it looks like sand. Squash it together, and give it a gentle knead to combine.
Wrap in clingfilm or put in a bowl and cover, and put in the fridge for a few minutes. I left mine for over an hour while we prepped our dinner. It needed scooping out of the bowl with an icecream scoop after that but it was very kneadable and with a sprinkling of flour on the table it rolled out very well.
Roll to a thickness of a little less than 1cm and cut out shapes. (It doesn’t mind lots of squishing and squashing, but bear in mind the warmer it gets, from lots of squishing, the stickier it will become. It’s very very edible in its raw state too!!)
Place biscuit shapes on greaseproof paper-lined trays and bake at 175C for 10 minutes. The biscuits will still be soft when you take them out of the oven but they will firm up as they cool.
To make the icing, sift the dry ingredients and add the milk and vanilla. Carefully mix together with a teaspoon until it forms a chocolately gloop. It should be about the right consistency – if it is too thick add a drop more milk (JUST a drop!), if it’s too runny add another tablespoon of icing sugar.
Here’s some of our creations! Boy was awake for this part as we decorated them today but he quickly tired and wanted to eat his instead!! These two are Boy’s decorated biscuits. We had white chocolate mice and jelly beans available to decorate with today, chosen by Boy this morning at the shop.
This is the rest of the biscuits. The small stars I sandwiched together with icing although next time I’ll probably make a buttercream filling. The round ones were balls of dough that I made an indent in before baking to create a kind of nest.
They’re not bad, for a first attempt (in a looong time) at making biscuits! If you have a go at making these, let me know how you get on, right?!
June 17, 2012 § Leave a Comment
The chocolate mud has made two more appearances! Friday, when our Australian cousins came round, it took two and a half run throughs of Happy Feet and getting the playdough out before Boy lost his shyness. He managed to be in the same room as the strangers, and eventually stopped whispering as well! Even better – EVERYBODY ended up playing with the dough. It stayed out all afternoon and evening. People were still fiddling with it when it was time for the boys and I to head off to our new lodgings (moving from parents’ to in-laws’ house).
We’ve just got back from an afternoon an evening out, and as Baby has fallen asleep in the wrap I can’t drive back to the inlaws’ house yet so the playdough came out again while we had a cup of tea :o) Happy days!
June 15, 2012 § Leave a Comment
I have to be honest here, yesterday’s seaside playdough was not the greatest of successes. For many reasons. The playdough wasn’t one of them, it worked pretty well really, but everything surrounding it was just … well … fraught. Too much to do, and not enough playtime. Baby wanted more cuddles than usual, Grandparents were pretty busy, so Boy was kinda expected to play by himself. I didn’t have my usual store of props to raid either, and imagination levels were low!
Still. I’d made some seaside playdough from the no-cook dough from the other day. Added some builders’ sand to a third of it, along with yellow and red colouring to make it look a bit more appealing (we don’t have any play sand here), and I added blue colouring to a third. The rest I left white.
Here’s how it looked…
We made flags by colouring in printer labels, and while Boy was squidging and squashing and making sandcastles using eggcups (and flour to stop it sticking!) I cut them up and stuck them to cocktail sticks.
He had a lot of fun just squashing circles into the dough.
Eventually we got round to making some sandcastles and Boy stuck the flags in before carrying on making circles!!
When he’d had enough, and Baby wasn’t grouching any more, I started to clean up.
But not before having a play of my own
I’ve bagged the dough up and will be taking it home to play with there, with my store of shells and pebbles and cotton wool!
June 13, 2012 § Leave a Comment