Thursday, 19 April 2012

Union Jack Playdough

This activity was born out of a rainy day and one eye on the Jubilee celebrations coming up in June! I offered up the idea of making a Union Jack from play dough coloured red, white and blue. We are usually very free and easy when we make play dough and don't have any particular goal in mind, except to enjoy it. This time though I introduced a focus as the children had been a bit wild with the awful weather we had yesterday and some direction was in order! If you wanted to be more relaxed about it, you could just put out the three colours and some pictures of flags and other resources like glitter, sequins etc and see what the children come up with!
We pulled up some images of Union Jacks on google images and talked about how the Union Jack is made up of flags from England, Scotland and Ireland (poor Wales don't get a look in!). This page from Wikipedia was useful to show them the different shapes on the flags and help to break it down. We talked about the shapes that they would need, what they would make first (the white rectangle they decided) and how they could make the shapes they wanted. It was a challenge to them to control their hands to make the flag pieces they wanted. They started with a white rectangle, then made the large central cross, before adding the diagonal cross and finally, the blue triangles.
I thought they turned out really well and provided lots of chatter about shapes, techniques, and of course the United Kingdom and flags. I put them in the oven on a low heat to dry out. I hadn't really planned on starting Jubilee things this early but a rainy day forced my hand and it was fun - flags will be a good theme to follow through to the Olympics this year also.
I used my Mum's old failsafe recipe for the dough - 1 cup salt, 2 cups flour, 2 teaspoons cream of tartar, 2 cups water with a dash of oil. My food colouring is really weak so I added a squeeze of paint and kneaded it through to make the colours.

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