Monday, May 30, 2011

Play dough and me at the New Hartford Farmer's Market :)

Why I host a playdough table:

Since 2009, I’ve hosted a playdough table for children who attend the New Hartford Farmers Market.  My intent is in providing children with an opportunity to create something from within their own imagination. I love the outdoor market as the background for this…no tv, no computer, no Xbox…you get the idea!
Why playdough? The influence of my Early Childhood Education background weighs heavily on this. First and foremost, we need to look at the “whole” child when helping our kids develop into who they are. Today’s elementary classroom curriculums tend to tip the scales academically. Playdough can be enjoyed by our very young (the play dough I make is made with natural food items such as flour, vegetable oil, etc…not tasty but not toxic), our preschool age, our elementary kids, and so on. As an adult, I pick up a piece of playdough now and then and find myself kneading a piece in my hand as a meditative device! Yeah…I love playdough and the numerous benefits it provides!
The benefits of playdough:
1.       It helps develop fine motor skills. These help in daily activities such as cutting, handwriting, and sign language.
2.       It gives an outlet for expressing emotions.
3.       Our young kids learn about sharing and other important social skills.
4.       It encourages creativity.
5.       There is no right way or wrong way to create with playdough, if you present it as I do and forego the “craft kits” out there. Set up your playdough table with the dough, 4x4 pieces of cardboard for the base, and several baskets filled with a variety of natural items and watch what unfolds! I love to have a basket of twigs, a basket of pebbles, a basket of shells, etc,  to use with the play dough. Provide a couple of thicker, short lengths of branches as rolling pins.  Where else can you have a gecko creation, alongside a fairy house, alongside a rocket ship?

Here's the best recipe and description I've been lead to by my sister. It's the same recipe I've used for years minus the natural dyes. This is what I'll be bringing to the market on Friday:

http://www.minieco.co.uk/natural-dye-for-homemade-playdough/

I am so excited this year to be presenting a booth of Barefoot Books at the market too! These books, games, and puppets fit right in with my "play dough philosophy of life": encourage creativity and imagination, promote sharing and time together, provide an outlet for expressing emotion, do a little poking here and there to figure out a story, and have fun!

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