Sunday, September 30, 2012

Rainy Day Play: Homemade Play Dough

We finally got a whole weekend of rain in North Texas!  Hooray! Our yards need it!

We rely a lot on the local park to let The Boy work off his energy.  So a rainy weekend, welcome as the water may be, makes for a long weekend inside the house for a very active toddler. After playing chase around the house, hide-and-go-seek, tickles...pretending to feed his menagerie...lunch out, going grocery shopping and working on letters, numbers, shapes, colors, and sight words, we started to run out of things to do on Saturday.

Luckily, my sister-in-law "liked" a page on Facebook yesterday around nap time that featured homemade play dough. Brilliant!  I looked up a recipe for cornstarch play dough on the Internet, and got to work.  I used gel food coloring to make the colors vibrant, like store-bought Play Doh.

My play dough was ever-so-slightly stickier than the real deal, but I think I used too much water, so I would advise to follow the recipe at that link precisely. One batch made four small balls of play dough.

When The Boy woke up from his nap, all three of us got to work with the cornstarch play dough, and a fun time was had by the whole family!

The Boy playing with his play dough:

Dad's green piggie just before The Boy got his hands on it:

The Boy disassembling Mom's pink and yellow angel:

You can store the play dough in the fridge in a plastic container with a damp sponge or paper towel to keep it moist. We can't wait to have more fun this afternoon with our rainy day play!  (P.S.  Yes, The Boy tasted it, but since it's just cornstarch, salt, water, and food coloring, there's no need to worry about toxic whosie-whatzits getting into his system.)

You could even use this recipe to make Christmas ornaments!  Just dry it at low heat in the oven and then spray it with lacquer. I think that may be a project for another rainy day.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

To be still

We're very busy people.  It's not just work that makes us busy.  We feel like we need to fill every moment with edification.  If we aren't improving -- either ourselves or our child -- then we are wasting time.  I'm not making any ground-breaking statements, here, I realize.

So tonight, after bath time, when it was reading and singing time, and The Boy preferred, instead, to sit on the floor between my legs, leaned back against me, enveloped by me, and do nothing else but be still and quiet with his mom for 20 minutes, it was unexpected.  We were supposed to spend these last moments doing things together.  But it wasn't just that he was content to be still, but that I, at first, was not.  I kept asking him if he wanted to sing this or read that.  He'd shake his little head "no."  No, he wanted to sit with me and be still.  At first, I was a little nervous doing nothing, a little impatient.  But slowly, I relaxed and I understood that we were, in fact, doing something together:  we were being still.

There's a lot to be learned from this little bundle of 18 months of human.  He knows what so many of we adults have forgotten:  there is pleasure, there is meaning, there is value, there is edification in simply being in the presence of another human being who loves you and whom you love in return.  You do not always need an activity to have a meaningful time.  You can simply sit with your darling loved one and be still.