Friday, March 30, 2012

The Great Playdough Play-Off! Today!

Pin It After days of playdough cooking, applesauce eating, and tool gathering, it is finally Friday, and that means Playgroup!

First, the set-up:
I ran around the house and found things with which to cut, mold, imprint, press into, and roll the dough.  Shells, stamps, beads, cookie cutters.  I also took this picture to show that I have a vinyl and fabric pad under the table cloth (also vinyl and fabric) because I'm having toddlers cut on my diningroom table.  (Not a single scratch was made!)

One of our friends brought those awesome Play-Doh presses and monsters, so we had a ton of stuff with which to explore!

On to what we came here to figure out: Which dough reigns supreme?
The Amazing Kids of Playgroup (and their amazing moms!) were given a tub of each kind of dough.
Then we got to work.
My child thought the stamp was better than the dough.

As you can see, our testers were very serious about their work.
The purple, gluten-free (formerly "rubber") dough was the least popular.  Notice how it didn't leave the tubs.  
 The orange, no-cook dough was still a little sticky, but was very fun to squish.  Therapeutic?  Yes.  Easy to clean out of Play-Doh toys?  Not so much.  Regardless, this one gets the Mom Award.  It is quick to make (once you get the ratio down... there are so many variations, I may try a cold water recipe next), is ready immediately (no cooling time), and is squishy like playdough should be.

The classic dough (green) was well-liked and isn't at all sticky.  V. enjoyed when we made some textured doughs by pressing the cup bottoms or Clipo blocks into the dough, and  the green dough was the only one that I didn't find stuck in the blocks when all was said and done.  This wins for Easiest Clean-Up.

The yellow Kool-Aid dough was used quite a bit, and smelled like lemonade.  This isn't sticky to the touch, but I've scraped it out of many toys and off several surfaces.

Lastly, the Jell-O dough (red) wins the Most Eaten award.  This was the one most of us ended up fishing out of mouths, and how can you blame the kids?  It looks and smells like Jell-O.  Nothing in the dough would hurt someone were they to eat it, but it isn't particularly tasty (to adults, I guess) or full of great-for-you things.  My child, who ate her share, still ate all her lunch and is not showing signs of a sour stomach, so I'm guessing she is just fine.  
ALSO: This dough kept fine on the counter, and was color-fast once completely cooled.  Even better!

And then the kids busted out the pasta dryer, and a great deal of pasta was made.

So which is The Best Playdough?

It depends on what you are looking for.  If you want something that is going to take more time to make and cool down but won't stick to anything, go with the Classic Dough.

If you want something that will come out vibrant and amazing-smelling, go with the Jell-O dough.

Maybe you want dough NOW and don't have time to tend dough on a stove.  Then go with the no-cook dough.  (Remember, this is sticky when warm, but will get better as kneaded/aired.  If your kids just can't wait, flour their hands and let them smoosh it all over the inside of a bowl.)

Try one (or three, or all five!) and see if it works for you!

What was really The Best was the communication around the table.  There were many things on the table toddlers don't typically use, so many tools were requested ("that!") and then labeled.  We talked about colors, smells, and in a roundabout way, taste.  Lessons about sharing were also had... important, difficult lessons for toddlers, especially when dealing with Cool Toys.

If you want to have some fun, whip up some playdough and invite some friends!

(Or hide some in Easter eggs for a fun holiday surprise!)

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