One of Pebble’s favourite things to do is collect treasures from the garden. There isn’t a day that goes by that I’m not finding her garden treasures in my pockets, her bags, on shelves and random containers around the house (even in the fridge!?!). They are very meaningful to her, and she pretends with them in lots of different ways. Sometimes they’re part of her fairy world, or perhaps ingredients for cooking, other times they are presents for her friends.
One gorgeous summer morning we took a basket out into the garden and had a hunt for garden treasures together. Pebble delighted in finding leaves, twigs, flowers, gum nuts and seed pods, chatting about them all the way. Colour was very important to her and she noticed the slightest variations in colour from leaf to leaf. We gathered flowers with tiny petals and the smallest gum nuts, then giant seed pods and miniature pine cones.
When we were all done with exploring we took our collection inside while we made some play dough. Together we poured, stirred, kneaded and rolled, until we had the perfect consistency of soft, pliable play dough, just begging to be played with. We took the play dough and garden treasures back outside and sat in the shade. Pebble started immediately ‘cooking’ with all her bits and pieces, creating a delicious dinner. Then her play segued into making a pot for holding flowers, one that dries hard (apparently), and placing flowers just so.
We kept the play dough and garden treasures and revisited them throughout the week, each time they took on new meaning through imagination and were added to with more garden treasures. It was lovely to see how the simplest ingredients lead to magical play and watch as it unfolded over time.
Garden Treasures Play Dough (No Cook)
You will need:
- 2 cups plain flour
- 1 cup salt
- 1 tablespoon cream of tartar
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- approx. 2 cups boiling water
- food colouring (if you like, we left ours natural)
- garden treasures: twigs, leaves, pine cones, rocks, grass, flowers, seed pods, bark. Whatever you can find in your garden!
To make the play dough:
- combine the dry ingredients
- combine the water and oil (and food colouring if you’re using it) and stir into to the dry ingredients until a dough forms.
- knead until smooth and stretchy (careful, the dough will be hot!)
- store in an air tight container in the fridge.
What’s the weirdest place you’ve found one of your kid’s collections in? Anyone else found gravel in their fridge?!