I had a lovely reminder this week.
A beautiful small business Happy Hands Happy Heart sent the kids some play dough, simple scented play dough.
We already have normal play dough, and a box full of about a million cutters and moulds and things that you push it through to turn it into spaghetti. It's too full, some of the stuff is broken, it spills out everywhere and it doesn't hold their attention at all because it's crap.
And I should have realised this, too many toys can overwhelm kids, stunt creativity and encourages carelessness. Some kids thrive amongst chaos but mine don't. AND I KNOW THIS but I just kept putting all the crap in the play dough box because we keep all of that stuff on a high shelf and it rarely comes down (because it's crap and they don't care about it) so I don't have to deal with it.
They were actually 'playing' with said box when the package arrives. And by 'playing' I mean; making a mess and not actually engaging at all.
As soon as I opened the box and saw the gorgeous fresh dough, all smelling like lavender I just knew that I needed to ditch the box of plastic crap and give them something beautiful that would hold their attention.
So we made monsters.
Actually I just set up a tray with googly eyes, macaroni and tooth pics on it and THEY made monsters while I drank tea and read a magazine. For over an hour. Then they did it again - every day since. When they are finished they just pull them apart, pack away and start again the next day.
I have just been refreshing the tray that all the stuff is on every so often. The macaroni is getting manky now so I think I'll give them some farfalle next and swap out the lavender for chocolate scented play dough. Also the tooth pics have been snapped and bent in the creative process so I'll replace them too.
This isn't a Montessori activity, but being a Montessori type it is totally inspired by everything I have learned in the classroom. For example, the activity has a clear direction which encourages concentration and all the elements on the tray are beautiful and that makes the kids want to engage and also care for it.
Creative, entertaining, simple and fun.
And because they are not overwhelmed by plies of cutters and crap there is no dough being dropped on the floor, theres nothing being hurled across the room and there aren't any arguments at pack away time.
Just the sound of little brains humming.
I didn't receive any payment for featuring Happy Hands Happy Heart play dough, but the play dough was gifted to us (with no strings attached.) I shared it with you guys because I thought you would enjoy it and I honestly couldn't recommend it enough.
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