Following my recent post about wanting to do more meaningful and structured play with my 4 year old, we have started with the most obvious, versatile, easiest and universally enjoyable activity of all: playdough.
I have to admit, first of all I had to re-enter the frame of mind in which the state of the kitchen floor (and the sweeping skills of the child involved) are not all that important; you know, that sometimes forgotten place in your mind where taking out and playing playdough at any time of day is not only perfectly acceptable but desirable.
Secondly, I decided to make our own playdough. There is a wealth of playdough recipes and activity ideas online (here is my playdough board on Pinterest Insha’Allah). I used shop bought playdough all these years, but over the last year or so, I noticed it seems to make me sneeze and to dry my hands out? Not nice. In general I am very much against using food for playing. I believe it is a blessing from Allah and it should be eaten, but, after my first experiment with actual edible flour, I plan to use up the “free from” flour that sat opened and unused in my cupboard for a couple years and, in general, minimize the use of food for non eating purposes, while at the same time avoiding what seems like a mild allergic reaction, Insha’Allah.
I used the first recipe that came up when I searched (although I do know and like this site) and I was convinced by the title Best ever no-cook playdough recipe. It was much easier and required a lot less kneading than I thought and the result was excellent. The dough is very soft and smooth, lovely to work with, masha’Allah. The only let down for ours was the food colouring we chose: the little yellow tube does not give a vibrant colour but a more pastel shade (also, only some colours from this brand are suitable for vegetarians – because I don’t know what actually makes them unsuitable and I have no idea whether that makes them haram for us, I avoid).
On the day we made it, both boys played with it straight away, and from that day on, Bilal has been going back to it quite often. He plays in short creative bursts, then puts away. The best thing is that -Alhamdulillah, all success is from Allah – after he is done with the playdough, he feels sort of “inspired”. He usually goes, “What other job (i.e. activity) can I do now Ummi?” and he is off to the bookshelf to fetch an Arabic wooden puzzle, a geoboard or some stencils. I am now thinking that my plan for a little Montessori shelf for him might still have a chance to come into fruition, Insha’Allah.
Alhamdulillah, it is so lovely to see him busy and suddenly interested in homeschooling, when he is not riding his bike or pretending to mow the lawn that is!