Playdough is such a simple thing to make I always use the 4 minute playdough recipe from The Imagination Tree and this time was no exception – what I love about this recipe is that it allows you to add so many different things to it to theme it or make it suitable for the season. For our October Playdough I wanted to bring the scents of Autumn to our table and autumn colours so that we could explore and introduce some sensory vocabulary for the season.
To explore the playdough – I set up some nature finds from a recent autumn walk including Sweet Chesnuts, Conkers, Leaves and branches that T could use to explore the dough with and see what patterns it could make as well as combine them to create some interesting structures.
Ingredients from The Imagination Tree Recipe Playdough Recipe;
All purpose Flour
Cream of Tartar Sauce
Orange Food Colouring (Paste or gel gives a more vibrant colour)
Ground All Spice
Orange flavouring or essential oil
Making up the playdough
Mix up the recipe according to the instructions on The Imagination Tree – before adding the hot water add in the spices and the orange flavour/oil. Once the dough is formed add in the orange food colouring and blend it to form a strong orange colour to the play dough. This dough is fantastic and can be stored in a zip lock bag or a air tight container and used over and over again.
Exploring Nature Finds and playdough
We took the exploration of the nature finds with the playdough as an opportunity to extend some language. I love sitting down with T and both of us having our own sets of playdough or combining and sharing a set, this time we shared as I wanted to talk about the feel, smell and look of the playdough and our nature finds.
I set up the playdough and the finds and we first looked at them – the conker (horse chestnut seed/buckeye) looked shiny, the sweet chestnut case looked prickly and the leaves crunchy and dry. The playdough was Orange and looked like it would be squidgy. Take time to add in other words ask children to “guess” what it may smell like, or feel like whilst you look at the objects.
We then picked up the objects and explored them with our hands – the sweet chestnut was hurty – we took the opportunity to talk about what made it hurt and why it may do that. T explored the prints that the nature finds made in the dough, whilst she made the prints we could talk about the words associated with printing like pressing hard, or gently, rolling.
As we played with the objects and the dough T noticed the smell “What’s the lovely smell”, we took time to see if we could identify any of the smells – she said she could smell gingerbread men and apple crumble mixed together. Our hands smelled like oranges – for some reason the orange smell stayed with our hands whereas the spices used didn’t as much.
All of the language we used as we played together form part of her sensory vocabulary which as we play through the seasons we can start to introduce more and more.