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Play-Dough + Loose Parts Play

Play-dough is an early childhood staple and quite possibly is one of the most powerful hands on learning props for early childhood development. Using playdough supports a child’s social, language and literacy, science, math, and cognitive skills—all while letting them experiment, come up with their own ideas, satisfy their curiosity, problem solve, and be creative as ever. These are all skills that help children learn and succeed in their learning journey. 

The beauty of pairing loose parts and playdough is that it truly provides endless opportunities to enhance their imagination and harness their creativity. By adding loose parts to be on hand during playdough play it will encourage and deepen their play. This type of exploration with loose parts lets the child truly shape and create according to their own vision. Loose parts also provides unique inspiration, challenges them to think, & encourages them to be creative with unusual things. This is not only a creative way to create from an artistic point of view, it is a way that encourages brain development, scientific experimenting, mathematical thought, risk taking, & trial/error learning. Through this kind of creating, children are really creating: using what they have and what they already know, and combining that to create a whole that’s greater than the parts.

"When ideas meet with hands, extraordinary things happen. Thoughts give shape to the materials and the materials remodels the thoughts and then the things we do grow along with our own growing." Salvador Allende Preschool Identity Book

To set this invitation you can provide playdough (homemade/store bought), tools ( Sensory Dough Balls, Wooden Textured Rollers, Wooden Tools) tray filled with any type of loose parts (acrylic rocks, bolts, flat marbles, buttons, grappats, translucent shapes) all on a tuff tray.

Here is the play-dough recipe we have used for years: 2 Cups of Flour 

2 Cups of Salt 

2 Cups of Water (add food coloring or liquid watercolors to create the color desired) 

2 TBSP Cream of Tartar 

2 TBSP Oil 

Heat a non-stick pan to very low, pour flour, salt, water, cream of tartar, and oil on the pan all together. A little trick we do for the color to evenly disperse is add the coloring to the water prior to putting it in the pan. Continue to mix the ingredients until it hardens. Typically 4-5 minutes. Remove from the pan and roll the play dough around on a cutting board until it cools down. Store in Tupperware or a Ziplock Bag and enjoy! 

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