Invitation to Play: Playdough and Pasta

I was looking through the pictures on our Facebook page (link( and found photos of our very first ‘invitation to play’.
When we did this activity back in January there was absolutely no planning involved. I just remember there being thick snow outside, Gray was working 12 hour shifts, I had a 9 week old baby and 19 month old toddler to amuse! This was a spur of the moment activity before I’d ever heard of Pintrest or anything like that, and it kept Harrison amused for ages!

The set up was really easy and quick. On his little table I gave him a pot of play dough, and a tub with dried pasta tubes and dried spaghetti and left him to it. Within minutes he was making balls of dough and sticking the spaghetti strands in, and then threading the dried pasta onto the stands. It was a perfect activity for developing fine motor skills!

Now he’s a year older I’m going to do this again,and let Alex have a go. I will challenge him more this time by asking him to count the pasta tubes. I’m going to provide a bowl of cheerio-type cereal for threading as well, and see if we can thread x amount of cereal on the strands of spaghetti.

A brilliantly simple and quick activity that kids will love!



Play dough fun

The kids love play dough. Truth be told, I love it as well. We already had a big box full of it and lots of cutters,and the n for Christmas they had loads more,and several sets of cutters and rollers and other accessories.

I think playdough is a fantastic thing for kids. On a miserable wet day there is nothing better than laying a plastic sheet on the floor and getting the play dough out. We have hours of fun with it.

It’s a fantastic material for developmental play. It’s malleability means young children can manipulate it easily, helping to develop fine motor skills. The opportunities for imaginative play are endless – we’ve used it for ‘cooking’!

Play dough has been around since the 1950’s – not many kids toys have been going for that long! It’s relatively inexpensive and lasts ages if looked after. We also tried making our own, Gingerbread play dough which is great because you can make it scented -the only the only thing I hate about play dough is the smell!

We have lots of fun just rolling, patting and using cutters on it but I wanted some ideas to make it even more fun. I haven’t tried these yet but will be soon, and wanted to share them with you.

Lolly stick playdough from Seeking Shade

Play dough mosaic from Examiner


Play dough monsters from Crafts and Art for children  from Crafts and Art for Children

Play dough cupcakes from Mess for Less


Embellished playdough animals from No Time For Flashcards


I’m going to try and incorporate a play dough activity into each of themed weeks so look out for those!

What’s your favourite play dough activity?


Gingerbread play dough

I love gingerbread. Sometimes I think
I love the smell even more. I love play dough. I absolutely HATE the smell of it, and it always seems to linger on our hands. So….I made gingerbread scented playdough!! I mooched on Pinterest to find recipes, and found a few, but as usual I didn’t have some of the ingredients, so I adapted it, & it worked 🙂
Turned out a lovely ‘gingerbread’ colour, perfect for Christmas, and smelt amazing. Not exactly edible though as there is quite a bit of salt in it which we all know is bad for you!!

1.25 cups of flour (I used plain flour)
0.5 tsp mixed spice (original recipes said all spice but I figured this might be similar/the same)
0.5 tsp cinnamon (recipe said nutmeg!)
0.5 cups ground ginger
0.5 tablespoon cream of tartar
0.5 cups salt
1.5 tablespoon cooking oil
1 cup water

Combine all dry ingredients in saucepan. Add water & oil. Stir over low heat and continue stirring until dough – like consistency. Knead until smooth & consistent.

You can substitute the spices for a couple of teaspoons of cocoa powder to make (non-edible!) chocolate scented dough. Yummy!!!

activities 4 kids