Easy Playdough Recipe

Playdough is one of the most requested activities in our setting so we make it a lot.We have tried a few different recipes of playdough but found this one to be the easiest so I thought I’ll share it with everyone.

Three reasons I love homemade playdough: is made of edible ingredients so no danger if any of the children decide to have a taste(which you know they will no matter how many times you tell them not to). It’s easy to make because it’s a no cook recipe and you can get the children involved in the process which means you’re offering them more learning opportunities.

Ingredients

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  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup salt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons cream of tartar
  • 1 1/2 cup of boiled water
  • food colouring

How to make it

First, put the dry ingredients and the oil in a bowl. Next, you have to add the water and the food colouring. I find it easier to put the food colouring in the water so it spreads evenly. Start mixing everything together with a spoon, then use your hands to knead the dough. Add flour if it’s sticky. Be careful, it will be very warm to hot because of the boiled water.

And that is it!

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I make one batch per colour and the playdough lasts a few months if properly stored in a zip lock bag. After a while, it starts to smell funny so a few drops of essential oils should solve the problem.

Let the fun begin.

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Chinese New Year- Dee’s Childcare Style

At Dee’s Childcare we go big on Chinese New Year.

For two weeks (end of January- beginning of February) we focused our activities on the Chinese New Year and included the school children who come in the afternoon alongside the younger children who are here the whole day.

Here are some of the most enjoyed activities:

Trip to the farm

2017 is the Year of the Rooster. And to start off, we visited the farm to see some roosters and introduce the Chinese New Year story to the children.

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Book Club

First, we read the Chinese New Year story and then we did an arts & crafts activity and painted a rooster. We’ve simplified the story for the younger children and used puppets, also the globe to locate China to give the children an idea of its location and size.

The painting was great as a sensory experience as we encouraged finger painting but also a mark making opportunity for the younger children.

The pre-schoolers showed control in painting inside the lines and technique when changing colours, using the water pots appropriately and not soaking their sheets with the water.

Shopping at the Chinese Supermarket

We took the after-schoolers to the local Chinese Supermarket in preparation for our Chinese New Year celebrations.One of the store staff gave a talk to the children about the traditional foods and customs, showed us around the store and presented us with a gift of a Chinese calendar for the setting.

Rice play

This was a messy one. Be prepared for the mess because we were not. However, it was worth it, having seen the children so invested in the activity: filling and emptying cups and bowls, imaginative play, using mathematical language when talking about quantities, comparing and making predictions of who has more/less.20170130_100432

Lunch at the Chinese restaurant

To further enhance the children’s understanding of the differences and similarities between cultures, traditions, foods, we took them to the Chinese restaurant for lunch. One of the children said “Oooh spaghetti” when the food came and it was the best time to talk to them about how noodles are similar to spaghetti but at the same time a bit different in shape and taste. Having tried the chopsticks and the fork, most of them finished their food using…fingers. And the prawn crackers were by far the most enjoyed.

Chinese New Year Party

To finish the two weeks of learning about Chinese New Year, we organised a party. The school children prepared a little performance, dressing up in Chinese clothes and dancing to Chinese music. I would say that was the highlight of the party but the children might think different when presented to an array of Chinese foods and sweets. When they left, they received a fortune cookie and a selection of Chinese sweets in a money envelope which I’m sure they appreciated more than they would have if they were to get money.

We did lots more but these were the most enjoyed activities. Hope this post inspires you and gives you some ideas to build on for next year’s Chinese New Year Celebrations.

Messy play

Messy play must be one of the most loved activities in our setting. And for this we went all out. To set the premises we did it in the garden and we dressed the children in waterproof suits so they basically had the freedom to get as messy as they wanted.

Our messy morning involved painting. For this we set up a painting table with paper, pots of paint and different types of paintbrushes and sponges.

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Then we had the tuff tray with different coloured paints and added some salt to it to make it less slippery when the children stepped in. Next to the tuff tray we put a long white plastic board where they could make feet stamps.

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Also had a few smaller trays with paints and objects that leave traces-cars, balls etc.

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And last was a water station where they could wash their hands and feet or use the water to add to the paints.

It was amazing to watch the children concentrate and be creative.They held conversations between them while painting, shared the pots and the paint brushes, mixed the colours and explored what happened when they did so, imagined and named their paintings.

In the tuff tray they explored the sensory feeling of the paint on their feet, the mix of paint with the salt and how the paint changed texture when they added water.

It was a messy morning but very successful. This was the array of their beautiful paintings at the end of the session.

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Water play

Summer means water play, right?

Well, we have done them all: you name it-we did it. Paddling pool, ocean small world, funnels, measuring jugs, we even went to our local park paddling pool and did a trip to the sea side. And today we bought a water slide for the garden so more water fun coming.

Water play is simply fun.It is a free basic resource which offers so much, children can experiment with it, feeding their curiosity and imagination.

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Children find water fascinating, it’s appropriate for all developmental stages and ages.It’s a good resource for developing skills such as communication, making relationships, experimenting, problem-solving, learning how things work, being inquisitive. And the best of all, it’s so much fun and all for free.

Here are a few pictures to prove it.

Measuring, filling and emptying containers, learning about the mechanics of a funnel.

Imaginative play, learning about water animals, being inquisitive about their habitat, sensory play with water, pebbles, sand, shells.

Finally, splashing, paddling and having fun

And the ultimate experience, trip to the seaside, but more about this on a separate post.

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Spontaneous activity- Cloud Dough

Being spontaneous is one of the best things about this job. Yes, we did plan for an indoor activity but seeing how nice the weather was today we decided to go play in the garden.The slide, the cars, the ball pit, you know- the usual can get a bit boring. Sooo I thought let’s do a sensory tuff tray. I had seen the cloud dough online and always wanted to try it.And we did, tried it, played with it, got messy but had so much fun.

The advantages are countless. It’s very simple to make, only two ingredients- flour and oil, it feels great, safe to eat (you know the babies like to do that a lot), keeps it’s shape and invites to open-ended play. But the disadvantage is that it can get very messy. I personally don’t even mind it because from my experience the messier the more fun but I think of the parents. But to be fair it did wash off with a damp cloth.

The children helped to make it, we followed the original recipe, 8 cups of flour and 1 cup of oil, mixed together and we tripled that. The recipe stated baby oil but we decided to go with normal sunflower oil and it worked just fine.

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We then added cups, spoons, cupcake silicon moulds and an ice cream play set. Let me tell you that the children not only spent the first half an hour playing in there but went back to it many times during the day.

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Did I say it was open-ended play? The children filled and emptied different sized cups, measuring quantities, pretended to make cakes, drinks, ice creams, built volcanoes and castles, practised on sharing and taking turns(especially with the ice cream scoop) all this while socialising and reinforcing communication skills.

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So yes, definitely recommend trying this, easy, simple but messy. Just keep that in mind.

Mirela