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Here we are. Week 2 of our 30 Days to Transform Your Play series. Starting this week until the end of the month Rachel and I will be exploring different invitations along with posts like last week to really get us seeing play in a deeper way; seeing how we can adapt different play activities to really engage our children and meet their current interests, allowing them to extend their explorations.
We will be looking at drawing, painting, construction, dramatic play and more. Today we are exploring playdough.
I have a few questions for you:
- How do you usually approach playdough?
- What are your children’s current experiences with playdough?
- How do you typically present it?
- What materials do you typically include with the playdough?
- How do you usually arrange the materials?
For this exploration I would like you to present the playdough each day for at least three days if you can. I think it is really important for our children to have time to really explore a material and their current thinkings. Watch how they play, take note of what they do, build, and stories they create and use those cues to add materials on the following days.
“Sensory materials keep children reinvesting in the invitation, which allows them to see more possibilities for the objects available to build or design something, create a drama, or make up a game”
~ Curtis & Carter: Learning Together with Young Children
Presenting the Playdough
How many materials you present with the playdough will depend upon your child’s experience with the material. If they have never explored playdough before or have only had a few experiences, simply offer the playdough by itself. Watch how they play and over the next few days encourage them to poke, stretch, push, roll and really get to know the material.
If your child is familiar with playdough, you can use it as a sensory base to further explore their current interests; make deeper connections and represent their ideas.
We spoke last week about your child’s interests. Many of you shared your child’s interests on my Facebook page; rockets, space, trains, volcanoes, dinosaurs, insects, fairies… with a few carefully selected materials beautifully presented alongside some natural playdough, you can create an inviting and engaging activity for your child which meets their unique interests.
Displaying the Materials
- decide where you are going to present the materials – it doesn’t have to be on a table….
- why not go big on a plain plastic table cloth on the ground?
- Or a large piece of perspex? – wouldn’t that be great on the grass if your child is interested in farms or even insects; having the grass as an element of the exploration
- find a background for your playdough – I often use a white kitchen tile. Choose something with a solid colour, something neutral which won’t draw attention away from the materials. The background defines their personal work space
- find beautiful neutral (wood, wicker, transparent) containers for materials
- add materials based on your child’s interests.
- something to build with: sticks, small wooden cube blocks, small pieces of dowel, wire etc.
- something to make impressions: shells, bolts, bottle tops, nothing too big though – you don’t want to clutter your work area
- something to create stories with: figurines and materials related to your child’s interests
- try to see materials in new ways. When you add them with figurines or other prompts, your child will use them in new and creative ways. Things like:
- beach stones
- materials with interesting textures and beautiful natural colours
- start with a few materials and add more materials over the following days. Watch your child play, listen to their stories, and add more prompts over the next couple of days
- create a playdough invitation based on your child’s interests
- add a few materials at first and add to them over the coming days
- keep watch for cues on how you could extend the exploration further
- snap a picture of your set-up and share it on my Facebook page or on Instagram using #30daystyp