Why do it?
Why do it? — He aha e mahi ai?
Playing with playdough is a great activity for tamariki because:
- squeezing, rolling, poking and stretching playdough helps strengthen the fine muscles in the hands, the same ones used for writing, drawing and using tools like scissors and staplers
- it is soothing and can help to relieve stress for both little and big people!
- it provides a variety of ways for tamariki to be creative
- making it is easy and inexpensive
- playing alongside your tamaiti gives you lots of opportunities to enrich their language through asking open-ended questions and introducing them to new words.
How to do it
How to do it — Te tikanga mō tēnei mahi
Look at the recipe for playdough in the play ideas and activities(external link) in the 13–18 months section.
- Encourage your tamaiti to help make the playdough with you.
- Set up an area for the playdough that keeps the mess to one area that you’re okay with.
- Maybe use a big sheet of paper, a plastic tablecloth or tray, an opened out cardboard box on the floor or on a table, or find a suitable area to do it outside.
- Give your tamaiti guidelines that will work for you both. For example, ‘Playdough stays on this mat’ or ‘Ka noho ai te parāoa pokepoke i runga i tēnei whāriki’.
- Look for some kitchen utensils you might introduce — a garlic press, potato masher, rolling pin, biscuit cutters or plastic cups for making circles. Let them explore the possibilities.
- Use a few open-ended questions such as ‘What would you like to make?’ and ‘How could you do that?’
- Follow your child’s lead — you could copy what they do.
- If ideas are needed, you could ask, ‘What about making some kai for the toys? What would they like?’
- When they’ve had enough but want to keep what they’ve made, you can store it in a container with a lid. Otherwise, squeeze it back into a lump and put it in a plastic bag (or container with a lid) and store it in the fridge for next time.
Using more reo Māori
|Te reo Māori||English|
|Kōpē kōpē To press together, squeeze Maori | Verb||Squeeze|
|Pōkai pōkai To roll up, fold, assemble, wind into a ball, coil, wind around, wrap, wrap up Maori | Verb||To fold|
|Poka poka To make a hole in or through, bore, pierce, cut out, appear, poke Maori | Verb||Poke|
|Roha(ina) roha(ina) To spread out, extend out, expand (a number) Maori | Verb||Stretch|
|Mahi mahi To work, do, perform, make, accomplish, practise, raise (money) Maori | Verb||Make|
|Pikiniki pikiniki Picnic Maori | Noun||Picnic|
|Rākau pokepoke rākau pokepoke Rolling pin Maori | Noun||Rolling pin|
|Porowhita porowhita Circle, wheel, ring Maori | Noun||Circle|
|Tapawhā tapawhā Rectangle Maori | Noun||Rectangle|
|Keke keke Cake Maori | Noun||Cake|
|Pihikete pihikete Biscuit, cookie Maori | Noun||Biscuit|
|Āporo āporo Apple Maori | Noun||Apple|
|Ika ika Fish, marine animal, aquatic animal - any creature that swims in fresh or salt water including marine mammals such as whales Maori | Noun||Fish|
|Kina kina Sea egg, common sea urchin Maori | Noun||Sea egg|