I will admit to never having bought into the play-dough “extras”. The ‘hair salon’ or ‘road builder’ or ‘baking’ plastic making machines that made tiny pieces that you needed to put together meticulously. Painful. Hard to clean up. Yelch. The most fun part for us (or maybe more me?) has always been making the actual play dough. I wrote about it last year with an easy recipe.
Our kids are good with the cardinal rule of colour separation in the play dough world and they like to create with it – but they never want to put their creations away. So we have zip lock bags (keeps the dough from hardening) of little masterpieces and half containers of colours… I will often find rotting play dough (the home made kind does rot after a time) and that’s not any more fun than finding the lunchtime surprise that stayed in the bottom of a backpack for a week too long …
Which brings me to my love of Sculpey. You can bake it and it hardens to become a fun creation that turns a crafting moment into a pretty fun playmate (and doesn’t rot).
On this particular day Matt was on a sea animal bent – and this was his sea turtle (having already completed a whale, shark, sting ray and dolphin) and the girls wanted to make unicorns and elephants.
Filmo or Sculpey (I don’t have a personal preference over brand) are great – but much harder in texture than play dough. It requires kids to roll the clay in their hands in order to soften it enough to mold. The whole rolling motion (and the patience factor) can be a learning curve but they sure are proud of themselves when they get the hang of it. It’s a good little skill builder. I think it’s still a little tough for a 3 year old to roll and warm all the colours so I help the girls by making balls for them and then they shape them into heads, bodies, feet, eyes, unicorn horns etc. They pick the colours and body parts and they shape and stick together – I’m just the grunt work girl. Matt will not have any of his mom’s interventions … his creations are all him.
I showed you our veggies that we made using FILMO last year for our veggie garden signs. And this year we’ve made little bugs and butterflies for barrettes, tons of animals and recently some bunnies and duckies. Matt’s is the bunny in the middle below. The girls wanted nicely rolled balls to work with and make their faces and bellies and ears etc – Matt just took a hunk and went and built his own bunny. I love all three and how they each represent our kids’ personal styles (Kate has the bent ears and Charlie’s are straight with perfect little pink inserts in the ears)
Packages of Filmo and Sculpey say different things about cooking temps and times – but I follow one simple rule of thumb when baking 275 degrees. 15 minutes per 1/4 inch of thickness of your creation.
After we finish and bake them – they cool really quickly and the kids will often play with their newly created pals.
Just an idea if you’re looking for some spring break indoor play. It’s great for a rainy day – and I think girls and boys love it equally as long as they get an idea to make something really cool that appeals to them. You can get clay like FILMO or Sculpey at almost any craft store.
Tomorrow while the girls and I make beads from clay, Matt is determined to make a hockey player… we’ll see how it turns out!