I was taken with the play-doh recipe posted at Montessori by Hand last year. It has been a staple in my EPL area since last winter. Actually, it took up quite a bit of space. Last week, I attended a workshop titled "Beyond Maps and Magnets" and instantly decided to switch to their method of making play-doh. I'm can be fickle and this is my proof.
The next day, I removed most of the materials and simplified the means of completing the work. I cut the use of space for this singular work in half. The biggest change was removing the bowl. It is no longer needed.
The recipe for this play-doh is 2-1-1. What every you use to measure - an actual measuring cup, a small cup or an empty baby food jar, simply put 2 parts flour, 1 part salt and 1 part water (add more water as needed). I used a baby cup that had a handle - therefore I filled the cup once with flour, once with salt and once with water. Note: Do not add all the water at once. Pour in half and then add more gradually as needed. Add a drop or two of green food coloring or a color of your liking. After each ingredient was measured I poured it directly into a sealable plastic bag.
The next part is great for strenghtening the hands and fingers. The child seals the bag and then smushes and squeezes it with their hands until it is pretty much mixed together. Next, the child empties the contents of the plastic bag on to a slightly floured cutting board or sheet of plastic / placemat for use. When I presented the lesson I pointed out that it would not be possible to remove every bit of the play-doh from the baggie as a small amount will remain stuck to the inside of the bag. It was so simple to present and so easy for the children to make.
Above - the first few steps of making the play-doh
Above - I added the salt to the flour in the baggie and added a few drops of green food coloring. After sealing the bag, I squeezed and smashed the enclosed ingredients until I could feel the play-doh form.
Above - a little flour dusted on the cutting board the children use to work with the play-doh.
Above - The play-doh is ready to be made into a bowl, a snake or whatever one's hands crave to make.
When I presented the lesson one of the children immediately noted that I had not brought the bowl to the table. I told her that I had a surprise. I put all of the ingredients into the baggie. The same child suddenly blurted out, "The baggie is the bowl." I smiled and told her that she had figured out my secret. I love to hear the children laugh.