Monday, 21 December 2009

The Joys of Play Dough!

I just LOVE play dough, and not the shop bought stuff, but the real deal home made yummy stuff!  It has provided hours of absorption in my setting and is so versatile, just putting out new dough injects a fresh burst of creativity anto the activity!  I make a new batch every 4-6 weeks and vary the recipe each time  - my favourites so far have been chocolate dough and Christmas dough, out at the moment!

This is a beehive, complete with bees all tucked up inside, the brain child of a two-year-old and made with a little technical help from an adult (aka me!), made with the chocolate dough we had out in the summer (see below for recipe!).

I like to put different materials out each time I make new dough.  Some examples are a box with lots of bottle tops and jar lids, or a pot of tooth picks, or a garlic press, some birthday candles, or scissors to cut the dough into lots of tiny pieces!  For December I made 'Christmas dough' scented with cinnamon, nutmeg and mixed spice and put out a dish of fresh cranberries, it smelled divine and the children were enchanted with it! 

I use my mum's tried and tested dough recipe: 2 cups of flour (any cup you have, just use it for all measurements!), 1 cup of salt and 2 teaspoons of cream of tartar (in the baking aisle, the one with the orange lid!) Mix together in a pan, add glitter or spices then add:
2 cups of water (put food colouring in the water to get an even spread of colour through the dough - I use quite a lot to get a good vibrant colour!) and 3 teaspoons of oil. Mix it all together, it will look gloopy and nothing like play dough but keep the faith and cook it over a medium heat, stirring all the time!  You will begin to see it coming away from the bottom of the pan.  Stir until it has all turned dough-like then tip it out and knead it until it is smooth, give it to the children warm for a new experience!

 Areas of learning and development that are supported through playing with dough are:

  • PSED - children becoming excited and interested, forming good relationships with others as they play alongside eachother, and share the dough, behaviour and self-control as they follow ground rules for playing with the dough.
  • CLL - Language for communication as they use words to describe the dough and what they see, feel and smell, language for thinking as they sequence events a they play, and writing, using the dough to make marks and shape letters.
  • PSRN - describing the position of the dough - on top of, behind, under, showing their understanding of space, they may describe the shape of the dough, or compare a ball to a circle, or count the number of shapes they have made.
  • KUW - Exploring and investigating the dough and its properties, learn about ways they can put the dough together, using tools to help them.
  • PD - using equipment and materials.
  • CD - Responding to waht they see, hear, touch and smell, expressing their thoughts and feelings through the dough, exploring media and materials, trying out new things, practising things they know they can already do with the dough

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Trying a New Planning Sheet!

I have always used the 'one size fits all' planning sheet given to me by Early Years but it just wasn't suiting my planning. It was becoming a paper exercise and I didn't feel that it really reflected what and how I actually planned. For example I might change the layout of the room or put out new resources but there was no where to show that I had planned this and why. It also wasn't flowing properly to show how my observations of the children were driving my planning. As EYFS requires that planning shows outdoor and indoor provision, and takes account of both adult-led and child-initiated activities, as well as that it reflects the child's interests, I devised a new sheet that allows me to do this on one page.

If you would like a copy of the planning sheet, please e-mail me and I will forward one to you!