I’ve always been a big fan of Play-doh (or playdough), ever since my oldest were babies. Play-doh has provided my kids countless hours of entertainment over the years. I have a few tips for changing things up and making playdough time more fun.
First of all, this just needs to be said: the mess is worth it, so get over it. 😉
Also, free play with playdough is excellent at promoting creativity and imagination, which we all know is what becomes intelligence as kids grow.
Tip #1 – Assign a Theme
When you’re ready to switch things up and especially when you want to do a group art activity, give a set goal for each person to create something specific. Of course, choose something that gives room for personal creativity. My favorite one that I’ve done multiple times is Make a Monster!
More ideas for creative inspiration. Have everyone create –
- a monster (my favorite!)
- a house a bug could live in
- a vehicle
- cookies, cupcakes
- a dinner plate with foods
- a flower
- animals – pets, safari, ocean
- Holiday themes – like decorate Easter eggs, pumpkins, and trees that are made entirely of Playdough
You get the idea!
When you assign a theme, you’ll find people really enjoy creating their own unique creation within that theme. It’s different than “everyone just create what you want” because they have the theme in common to talk about, while they build, laugh and play.
Tip #2 – Having Fun is a Magnet
Last week we began our official quarantine and the kids didn’t go back to school after Spring Break as usual. I wanted to do something with all the kids to have fun and lighten the mood, and my idea was playdough. (I had a bunch of Play-doh on hand because I had bought a supply for a large group activity at church that was cancelled.)
I knew I might get a little attitude if I forced my teens and tween to sit down and play playdough with my 7-year-old, but I’m not new at this mom thing, so I had my ways.
First, I asked my tween for the “favor” to help me do playdough with her little brother. I knew she’d kind of want to anyway, because she is still a kid at heart, but asking her felt very respectful and helped her come with a positive attitude.
As for my teens, I told them what we were doing and just said “you can join us if you want” to which they both said “naaah.” But then, as me and the littles started playing, we were immediately laughing and having a good time. The happy sounds drew the teens in. First was Michelle, who loves art and I think she liked the challenge of the assignment to make a monster. Allison didn’t want to be the only one not doing it, so she joined too.
And that’s how I used playdough and having fun as a magnet to get all my kids gathered around HAPPILY!!! MOM WIN!!!
Tip #3 – Let the Creativity flow into unchartered territory …
It is so rewarding to see your kids’ creativity flow out of them. You may feel tempted to influence them to do things a certain way, but I think it’s important to give some creative license at things like Play-doh. Plus, you’ll be a lot more entertained to see what’s really in their little brains.
Brian certainly took off in a direction I didn’t expect. I was expecting monsters that looked in the genre of the others, but nope, his were all his own.
Here’s how his creation area looked when we started to take the picture …
(We used white paper background and natural light to take our monster pictures. The girls and I got very into getting just the right shot of each monster.)
And here’s how Brian’s creation looked for the final picture.
Yeah, safe to say his creation was a surprise to me. 😂Like I said, we laughed a ton while we made monsters together.
Tip #4 – Stop worrying about the mess and have fun!
Seriously, just stop worrying about the mess. Keep it over non-carpet areas if you have kids that will try to smash it into carpet. Messes clean up, just have fun with your kids.
My last tip – Make sure the kids help you clean up! That will inspire them to be a little less messy the next time!