Classic Childhood Play

My six-year-old is home from school today on what I call a “buffer” day–getting over being sick, but not lie-on-the-couch sick. So I decided to make some homemade play dough. But because I have celiac, our homemade play dough is gluten free. I used this recipe, but all the ones I found looked the same. I made two batches, using the beautiful natural food colorings from Dancing Deer. (Mine are several years old, and I don’t see them on their site anymore. That’s a shame.)

Warm play dough feels so lovely in your hands on a chilly morning, and this batch was smooth and silky.

I rummaged around in my odds and ends and found some tools for the kids to use–craft sticks, corks, tooth picks, and some table forks. My son created a dragon.

He then created a story, something he does nearly effortlessly. He has always narrated his play (his life, really) out loud. He used the corks as buildings, and covered them with the golden dough, which was fire, and as his hands worked, he told his ongoing story. This was a creative use of the play dough that I wouldn’t have predicted (although I should have, with him, as anything and everything becomes a prop–his imagination floors me). My caution with play dough is that it can become such a two-dimensional medium, with rolling out and cookie cutters and so on. But I haven’t replaced our gluteny dough toys, so he invented new ways to use the dough.

My daughter, when she was done smushing and exploring, created a sculpture with her tools.

Mamas get to play, too.

(That’s supposed to be a snowman next to a tree with a star on top.)

I’m so glad to have a gluten-free play dough option. The kids like to watch the dough come together–there’s something a little bit nicer about making it yourself, rather than popping open a plastic tub (plus, it smells much better!). And then to get to squish it around while it’s still warm, not to mention choose the colors you want… definitely a good use of a morning home from school!

2 thoughts on “Classic Childhood Play

  1. Michelle

    Glad he’s feeling better. I didn’t replace our cookie cutters, which was really mostly all they used – just washed them really well. I need to get a thick dowel rod to cut rolling pins though. The homemade dough really is so much nicer. I want to make some with peppermint oil this month, but I’m sure I’ll forget . . . ok, I’m off to add that to a list. :)

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