Today we have a lovely guest post: Enjoy!
Hi, I’m Louise from ‘Building Blocks and Acorns’ and I’m SO excited to be able to share this guest post with you all! It’s an invitation to play, using home made play dough and elements from nature. I can safely say that my little boy (who is 20 months old and goes by the nickname of ‘Darth’ on my blog… thanks to my husband’s love of all things Star Wars,) well… he spent over an hour just playing with this and it provided SO many learning opportunities. Read on to see just what happened…
Making the Dough
I love the simplicity of this play dough recipe (you can find it on my play dough present pack post, here,) and the fact that it keeps for so many months! Darth has so much fun whenever we make a new batch… I wanted LOTS of gorgeously green play dough for this and we had a great time watching the colour change, as it whizzed around the food mixer (yes, I love to keep things easy!)
Collecting the Components
During a rare break in the weather, we went into the garden and collected herbs and other foliage, to add to the play dough. These would bring the ‘nature’ into the nature themed play dough, and add a delicious scent! This in itself was yet another lovely activity to do together, as we went out on a walk around our local area collecting things to use.
Creating the Invitation to Play
By this time, ‘Darth’ needed his sleep, so I took the opportunity to set up a very… inviting ‘invitation to play’ – that is, everything set up and ready to go, but not actually physically sitting ‘Darth’ down and forcing the play upon him. It was getting quite difficult to resist the urge not to just go ahead and start playing with it and sticking flowers in the play dough, myself!!! A tray helped to display the natural components, whilst also containing them. I also put a few in ‘Darth’s’ little play watering can, for an added invitation for this natural play dough!
Getting Stuck In!
Once he had woken up from his nap, it wasn’t long before ‘Darth’ spotted the tray of his hand-picked natural treasures from our walk earlier. He immediately rushed over, sat down at the table and began counting the individual balls of play dough (well… he managed to get to three, anyway!) He then proceeded to squish them all together into one long shape, and started sliding the play dough across the table. I wondered what he was doing to start with… until he began saying ‘hisssss… hisssss’ like a snake! Yippee! Some natural play with play dough has also turned into a bit of imaginary play, too! This was going well. Then the herbs and other leaves and flowers came out… and a play dough garden was created! (Oh and if you like the play kitchen in the background, you can read about it here, hehe!)
This invitation to play, gave ‘Darth’ so many opportunities for learning, right from helping to make the play dough itself and colouring it green, to collecting the natural materials and playing with the combination of the two! You could even role-play your own vegetable or flower garden/shop with older children, create letters and numbers with the play dough… the possibilities are endless!
Louise is a Primary school teacher in North Yorkshire, UK, where she now teaches part time to be able to also look after her little boy, known on the blog as ‘Darth.’ She loves sharing the activities that she does on her days off, through her blog and has a particular emphasis on open-ended, sensory and imaginative play, often using natural materials (and getting very messy!)
Thank you Louise! This looks like a lot of fun, and educational too!