Having Eyes That See (Life Lessons That Brought Me Closer to God)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Cornmeal Play Dough (Week 3)

Adults suffer from childhood amnesia  

we allow our responsibilities to overwhelm us
we forget how to let go and have fun
we abandon our carefree lives as children

and

we stop

playing in the mud
running barefoot in the grass
making up silly songs and singing them out loud

One of the greatest benefits as a child care provider is having
the daily opportunity to watch children at work

And some days
the students become the teacher

Here's what happened...

Activity #11- Cornmeal Play Dough


What I did:  I found a homemade cornmeal play dough recipe, set out rolling pins, cookie cutters, and play dough scissors for the kids to finally open their bake shop!  I planned to read "Everybody Bakes Bread" by Norah Dooley that afternoon during snack.  I was excited because the kids LOVE play dough, play dough meets almost all of the California Preschool Learning Foundations, and I knew that this would be a hit... (Social- Emotional Development, Language and Literacy, Mathematics, Visual and Performing Arts, Physical Development)

What they did:  To my surprise, no one showed up for the activity.  Do you hear me?  NO ONE!  I called, "We have play dough!  Who wants play dough?"  "Not now" they answered.  What were they doing instead?  Two of the older girls had set up a nail spa with a foot soak tub, towels, and the promise of pretty polish!  Even the one little guy in my care was waiting in line to soak his feet in the warm, soapy water!

Lesson Learned:  Don't anticipate... relax, be free, and live in the moment.

Helpful Tip:  Homemade play dough that is properly stored (in a sealed container, in a dry/cool location) can last quite a while.

Activity #12- Cornmeal Foot Scrub


What I did: I've heard it said if you can't beat 'em... join 'em.  So I made a cornmeal foot scrub for the nail spa customers!!  I mixed a tiny amount of dry of cornmeal with baby powder and baby oil.  The kids LOVED it and said it left their feet silky and smooth, and smelled great too. 
(Social-Emotional Development, Language and Literacy, Visual and Performing Arts, Health)


I see more: I have found that learning how to go with the flow means learning how to meet people where they are. If they want a manicure/pedicure party, then party it is. Join them and supplement THEIR ideas! Build upon what they are interested in and support their vision. 

Helpful Tip: Just realizing that I should have made this clear on day 1, but in order to make the most of your cornmeal, start off by separating it into 3 to 4 small zippered bags.  That way you can bring it out as needed for your different activities.  For instance, once you use a bag to do wet activities, or make play dough, you can not get that cornmeal back.  If you later decide to do more dry cornmeal activities, (like this one) you will still have some in a CLEAN bag. 

Same cornmeal... separate bags

Activity #13- Cornmeal Play Dough (Cheerios)


What I did:   Put out the play dough again with a variety of play dough tools. (Mathematics, Visual and Performing Arts, Physical Development, Health).

What they did:  Used items to cut and poke the play dough.  We ended up with something that looked very similar to Cheerios.

Lesson Learned:  Don't be afraid to revisit activities.  The children rejected the play dough on Monday, but they enjoyed it the following day, and every day thereafter.  Part of "going with the flow" is knowing when to try again!

Activity #14- Cornmeal Play Dough (Necklaces)


What we did:   The night before I baked the cornmeal "cheerios" in the oven and let them cool/harden overnight.  The following day I set out paint and brushes and let the children paint them.  After drying we used them for stringing. (Visual and Performing Arts, Physical Development)

Helpful Tip:  You want to make sure that your children are old enough to know that these are not for eating!  If your children want to explore in this type of way, you must make sure that all of your materials are clean/edible.  Our cornmeal had already fallen to the floor, so this was not an option for us.  Edible play dough recipes can be found online, however, along with "natural dyes" that can be used to color your cheerio beads.

Activity #15- Play Dough and Paint Dotters



What we did: Spread a thin layer of cornmeal play dough onto a tray, gave them paint dotters, and let them at it! (Language and Literacy, Mathematics, Visual and Performing Arts, Physical Development)

(Click here to see Week 4 activities)

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