On Mondays I usually struggle through work and have boundless energy at home. Usually by the end of the week, it’s the other way around. Today, a wild hair inspired me to try our very first cooking activity with my girl. Chalk it up to Monday.
I’ve always dreamed of having my daughter in the kitchen with me, learning how to cook. Of course, if I had a son, he’d be cooking in the kitchen with me too, but there’s just something special about a mother and daughter, together in the kitchen. Since she’s been born, I’ve been anxiously awaiting the day that we could do artistic and culinary projects together, but until now, she’s been too young. Some might argue that she’s still too young. Tonight, I was feeling brave.
I decided we would make playdough together. I used to make it all the time when I was a preschool teacher, so I was only slightly intimidated about trying it with a toddler. I’m happy to announce it went better than I’d hoped. We both had a blast.
There are a ton of learning opportunities to be found in playing with playdough, or any kind of dough for that matter, and making your own creates even more learning experiences. Cooking involves measuring and counting (math), cause and effect (science) and pouring and stirring (hand-eye coordination). Manipulating the playdough itself helps to strengthen little hands and fingers (think about all the squeezing and pinching and rolling) which gets them ready for writing later on. It’s also a great time to introduce all kinds of interesting new vocabulary words (squishy, slimy, soft).
Did I mention I was also in the mood to use my camera? It’s been awhile since I featured a pic-heavy post.
First I helped her to pour in 1 cup of flour and 1/2 cup of salt. She looked at it for a few seconds. I told her it was ok for her to touch it and she started to play in it while I gathered some other ingredients.
I let her dump in the cream of tartar (2 tbsp).
Then I poured in 1 cup of water and let her go to town with the whisk.
Next, she chose a color (red) and we counted 10 drops as I squeezed them into the flour mixture. She also wanted some blue, so I squeezed in 5 drops of that and we ended up with a nice purple. Finally, I poured in 2 tbsp of cooking oil, while she stirred.
Now it was time for her to wait a little bit while I whisked out the final lumps and cooked the mixture on the stove. (Stir over medium heat until the mixture forms a ball.) She had really liked playing in the flour, so I put some on a cookie sheet and let her explore. The cookie sheet helped to contain the mess. Well, ok, it only contained the mess a little bit.
Finally, the playdough was ready! We had to let it cool a little bit before playing, so we washed our hands and I cleaned up most of the mess.
The best part of our little activity? When she held up her playdough and said, “It’s amazing!”