This post was originally going to be called ‘Playdough Prints’ and though we did take prints of Immy’s creations I was once again reminded that kids art is all about the process…and that oftentimes art projects work out very differently to how you think they will! What is most important for children however is having opportunities to make art with collections of interesting materials, and this activity is perfect for inviting children to explore and create with a familiar material in new way.
Making Playdough Pictures
You will need:
- Playdough: we used homemade playdough (recipe here) that was about a week old and which had enjoyed life previously as all manner of sculptures
- Rolling pin
- A collection of implements that will make interesting impressions in the dough. We used a popstick, a plastic playdough knife, a plastic playdough pattern maker, a fork and a lid. Although you use cookie cutters or stamps I wanted to choose implements that were more open ended to encourage Immy to make up her own pictures or patterns in the dough.
- Optional – plastic placemat to protect your table surface
- To print (optional) – child friendly acrylic paint, a small paint roller, tray, paper
1. Flatten playdough. We started out using hands and arms as you can never have enough opportunities to develop arm and hand strength.
We then switched to a rolling pin, making sure that we had a nice, smooth, flat surface.
2. Make impressions in the playdough with your collection of implements, whether it be a series of patterns or a more representative picture. Children might start out by simply exploring the impressions each implements makes. Should they wish to start over at any stage, just roll the dough out again.
Immy decided to make a picture of a ballerina dancing on a stage under two willow trees. Making images in the playdough surface was great fun and I saw lots of meaningful problem solving in action as Immy tried to work out which implements to use (and in what way) to form each part of the image. Drawing pictures in playdough in this manner will definitely be an activity we revisit regularly I am sure.
3. Making prints. Now this is where things worked out differently to how I imagined they would! The main problem being that the dough absorbed a lot of paint very quickly. If you would like to try making prints of your images then I would suggest being extra generous with your paint and working very quickly.
Load your roller and then roll the paint over your playdough image, being sure to cover all surfaces.
Place a piece of paper over the playdough and, pressing gently, use your rolling pin to transfer the printed image onto the paper.
Peel back the paper to reveal your playdough picture. I think the finished print has the feel of an Impressionist painting, which is kind of fitting really
What have you been creating with your children recently?
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