You know, "They" say that the bigger the mess at meal time, the more cognitive connections are being made. The more experimenting and independent play with food, the healthier a child's attitude toward it. "They" say that throwing food is a natural process for the toddler and it helps them learn about all sorts of scientific things - like gravity and cause & effect. "They" say that we parents (and caretakers) should just go right along eating, ducking as the food goes flying by.
I'm down with this philosophy. Really, I am.
But maybe "They" would like to come help me clean my floors.
I have vague memories of playing with homemade play dough as a child. I remember the grainy texture, the smell of it (or maybe that's the brand name stuff) and I definitely remember the taste of it - salty! I made play dough last week for Zinnia and her buddy Avi.
Here's the how to:
1 Cup flour
1/4 Cup salt
1 Tbs oil
~1/2 Cup warm water
Once the water boils, add the dry ingredients to the saucepan and continue stirring on low heat. Add more flour or water as needed to get the desired consistency. Once the dough forms into a ball place it on a floured surface. When it has cooled knead it until it's stretchy but not sticking to the fingers.
For the colors I went the eco-groovy route and used vegetables and spices. For the red I boiled a diced beet for about twenty minutes and used the colored water for the play dough mixture. For blue I used a handful of blueberries and for the yellow I used a tablespoon of turmeric. All of the ingredients I found in my pantry. I love knowing that I can whip a fun afternoon of play within a few minutes without having to a) leave the house b) spend money and c) worry about toxic ingredients.
And, of course the most important part of play is that the kids loved it. They smashed and mushed and rolled and threw and made a good ol' mess - and that's what it's all about.
This bowl of dried split peas was the ticket to my success a few nights back. Dinner needed to be cooked but my girl was attached to my leg with all four limbs like some kind of miniature thumb monkey.
She was bored. She was tired. She wanted Mama's milk, but not really. She just wanted to be entertained.
I was hungry. I was tired. I was losing patience.
Insert bowl of split peas. This little spontaneous sensory-play-mess-making bowl of split peas bought me twenty minutes (TWENTY MINUTES) of uninterrupted time to make dinner.
I'm still finding peas underfoot, but can you say worth it?
Some days you're the spider. Some days you're the bee. And some days you just can't tell the difference.
It's crazy over here today! I'm harvesting and preserving garden goodies, while also packing for a little upcoming adventure. And at some point I need to clean (this is the smallest mess left by you-know-who).
More tomorrow with my :: Around the Garden :: post.