Having worked with preschoolers both in camp settings and as preschool teacher I am often shocked by the things parents hate like playdough! Ok maybe I shouldn't be too shocked because I loathe bubbles but still playdough has been such a fixture in my life that I think all these little tips and tricks are obvious and not worth sharing until I hear a mom at church or a playdate say " Oh wow I never thought of that!" So here goes... my tips for playdough.
1. If the thought of making your own is overwhelming don't do it. Unless your child has a gluten allergy or sensitivity just get the regular old stuff! It's cheap, it comes in a container and the smell might just bring back happy childhood memories.
2. If your blood pressure starts creeping up and your eye starts to twitch when people mix the colors of playdough just buy all one color. Part of the fun is mixing the colors but if that is too much just go with one color.
3. You do not need to buy all the special play dough tools. My kids use cookie cutters usually from the dollar spot at Target, popsicle sticks ( they make great knives and sculptures) straws, and my favorite Mr. Potato Head pieces. We even have outlet covers with eyes, drawn on them for them to use.
4. Stay away from carpet. Untill all the playdough is accounted for do not go near that shag!
5. I always keep a small ball of playdough in my hand while we play so as bits fall I just use that ball to pick it up off the floor, then when it's clean up time I do a quick look, and we are golden.
6. Use old clean cutting board as a play area. This is my favorite tip for more than one kid, it gives them their own space, and I can still sit down next to them to chat and have that breakfast that got cold while I ran after them. It also makes clean up easy peasy.
7. Don't expect it to last all day ... if I get 15 minutes out of them I am singing a happy tune. Sure some freak days I get way more but there are plenty when 5 happy minutes is all I get.