I’m always looking for new playdough recipes that are simple and don’t have to involve cooking. I don’t always have access to a stove, and I want my kiddos to be involved in all of the steps.
I recently discovered you can make playdough with just two ingredients: icing and powdered sugar. I was pretty skeptical at first–because it doesn’t sound like those two ingredients combined would make anything remotely similar to pliable playdough. But it actually works! And it smells SO good!
The first batch of homemade playdough I made with icing was strawberry-scented and so delicious-smelling. But to go along with my first week of preschool theme, cookies, I wanted a Chocolate Chip Cookie Playdough!
2 ½ Cups Powdered Sugar
1 Cup Vanilla Icing
Mini Chocolate Chips
In a medium sized bowl, stir or use an electric mixer to combine the powdered sugar and vanilla icing. It will feel very sticky at first!
If it’s still too sticky, add another tablespoon of powdered sugar.
Add a handful of mini chocolate chips once it’s well-blended. Add as many or as little as you want. We kept adding more and more to ours!
We used the cookie sheet playdough mats from my First Day of Preschool Activities resource on Teachers Pay Teachers. To make it even more fun, you can add cookie cutters, rolling pins, small cookie sheets, and other playdough toys!
I hope you enjoy making this edible cookie playdough with your students or children! It’s definitely a favorite of mine and I know we’ll be making it again soon.
If you’ve been keeping up with my social media, you know that the past few months of my life have been a little… rocky. Everything that I knew has changed.
First of all, at the beginning of March, I had a major flare-up with my chronic illness, Intracranial Hypertension/Pseudotumor Cerebri. For much of the month of March, I was almost completely blind. I had to have brain surgery to put in a shunt to save my vision. I was out of work for two months because of all of this.
During that time, the church decided to shut the preschool down. It just wasn’t profitable for them–and despite all the good we did for the community, it could no longer continue. I had three weeks of work left when I returned. I was devastated–I’d put so much into that place, and it’s heartbreaking to see it go.
My vision improved after the surgery, but still not well enough to drive. This makes the prospect of finding a new job almost impossible. I was riding in the car with my mom one day when she mentioned how she baby-sat to earn an income when I was preschool age. Um, hello. Light bulb moment.
I can baby-sit.
I don’t have to leave my house–children can come to me! Wa-hoo!
My New Sort-of Daycare
In Indiana, childcare providers are permitted to have 6 children in the home before we must become a licensed in-home daycare. This summer, I plan on starting out slow with just a few school-age children before I take the leap to become licensed. My son’s best friend will be here, along with a few other kiddos, most of whom I’ve worked with in one way or another.
When the church preschool closed, so did our summer day camp. So when I posted online that I was looking for kids to watch this summer, I had my spots filled within 45 minutes, despite being a ten minute drive from town. It helps that I know SO many local kids & their families!
I have lots of fun hands-on activities planned this summer, borrowing ideas from the summer camp and incorporating plenty of nature play, sensory play, and open-ended art activities.
Learning on the Homestead
My family lives in a rural area surrounded by fields and trees. Just 100 feet from my house is my parents’, and my brother lives just down the hill. Beyond that, our closest neighbor is a half mile away. When you wander around our property, you’ll find gardens of flowers and vegetation. There’s so many opportunities to learn from nature here.
I’ve been studying the concept of wildschooling, made popular by Nicolette Sowder. She says, “Wildschooling is a movement designed to honor and support our innate, inexorable bond with nature and lend a voice to our inner wild.” While I’m new to the term itself, the idea of bonding with nature is something near and dear to my heart. I grew up running around barefoot on this farm; I feel truly connected to the earth when I can feel it against my feet. (I know that makes me sound like a hippie. Shut up.) My husband also has a deep respect for nature; he’s fascinated by the wildlife we discover out here. In a tech-obsessed world (our family is no exception, mind you) we are doing our best to strengthen our son Holden’s bond with nature. I’m so excited to bring more children into this environment.
Coming this fall: a nature-based, play-based preschool
What I’m most looking forward to is my new idea for a nature-based, play-based preschool group. My plan is to have four preschoolers in my home, starting in August. I still have some big decisions to make as far as the length of the day–whether it will be part time or full time–but this will be my chance to incorporate some wildschooling and Waldorf concepts. At this age, the environment is their curriculum.
We’ll plant and grow things, we’ll make mud pies, and we’ll learn about the nature that surrounds us in a collaborative way; the very idea of wildschooling is that nature is another member of the family or class. It’s not just the backdrop for our learning.
A blessing in disguise.
My feelings about the preschool closing vary between anguish and relief. I enjoyed most aspects of my job. I’ve never been happier at any other place of employment. However, this gives me a chance to adopt my own curriculum and teach in a way that makes sense to me. The hippie way, I guess. :)
Happy October! This is one of my favorite months of the year. Just gimme all the hot apple cider and teacher-y cardigans. It’s also time for my favorite preschool theme: PUMPKINS.
You know I love process art, and I’m always looking for unique tools to paint with or use as stamps! (Read about why my preschoolers don’t do “crafts” here.) We recently painted some pumpkins with LEGOS!
I gave the students two shades of orange to choose from by adding white paint to the orange. I also provided different sizes of Legos for them to choose from. Tip: In the pictures here, you can see they’re just holding one Lego, but I recommend stacking two together. That’s what we did on Day 2 of this craft, and the children were much less likely to get paint on their fingers.
While they were painting, we talked about how the Legos made circles on the paper. They noticed some blocks made 4 dots, and other blocks made 8! Some of the kids used their Legos like stamps to make circles, but some of my preschoolers slid their Legos across the paper to make swirly lines. It’s so important to let them explore different methods of painting & stamping! There was no “right” way to paint with Legos.
These were so fun to make, and it’s such a simple fall art activity to set up! My preschoolers are already asking if we can paint with Legos again.
My preschoolers don’t do crafts. You know those cutesy little crafts you see on Pinterest with the popsicle sticks and the googly eyes where everyone’s art is just perfect and looks exactly the same? The ones where the parents are just delighted at how “adorable” it is? Yeah, we don’t do those.
Instead, when you look around my classroom, you’ll find meaningful process art activities in which the children were given the freedom to make decisions about their own artwork. Process art is any kind of art activity in which the focus is on what the child learns during the art experience, rather than the end product. It’s all about the exploration of the tools and materials used to create. There’s no “I CAN’T!” or “HELP ME!” Instead, I see kids smiling and laughing and saying, “Can I make another one?”
Rather than following a sample and creating something just like their friend’s art beside them, they are given open-ended art activities where there’s no right or wrong way to do it. The end results are not all the same.
So, when you’re planning your activities for the week, how do you determine if an art activity you found on Pinterest is a craft or process art? Check out the list below!
CHARACTERISTICS OF PROCESS ART:
Process art is child-led.
There’s no sample to follow.
There are no complicated, step-by-step instructions.
There’s no “right” or “wrong” way to create!
The activity is open-ended. (They’re done when they decide they’re done; not when the steps are finished.)
The focus is on the learning process and the exploration of the tools used to create.
Everyone’s art isn’t the same.
The teacher is not very involved.
Process art doesn’t take much prep work
The child can say “I made this by myself”
Children aren’t rushed to complete their art.
Teachers don’t fix “mistakes” or make suggestions.
They might work on a new skill in the process! (e.g. painting with a cotton ball on a clothespin enhances fine motor skills)
HOW TO FIND PROCESS ART ACTIVITIES
First of all, let it go. Accept that sometimes process art isn’t pretty, and that the parents might not understand it (at first.) This mentality will open you up to a new world of possibilities. Seriously–enjoy it, and your students will too!
Change the way you search. Type “preschool process art” instead of “preschool crafts.”
Use what you have! Find tools and supplies in your classroom and ask yourself, “Hmm, could we dip that in paint?” The answer is yes. Yes you can.
Let them choose! Set out different materials and let them show you what they can do with them.
Use items from nature like pinecones, sticks, leaves, grass, etc.
CAN THERE BE EXCEPTIONS?
Of course! If you think my preschoolers don’t make cutesy crafts a couple times a year for Mother’s Day and Christmas, you’re wrong! Yes, I break my own rules sometimes. But when 98% of the work my students do in the art center is process art, I feel confident that they’re truly learning something and exploring their creativity without too much interference from me.
HOW DO I LET PARENTS & OTHER TEACHERS KNOW ABOUT PROCESS ART?
First and foremost, make sure it’s in your preschool parent handbook.
Talk to parents about process art during your meet-the-teacher night or open house events.
Take pictures of the activity and hang them out in the hallway next to the artwork. Let the parents (and staff) see what the creation process was like.
Download these posters & printables about process art and hang them in the classroom, especially where children’s artwork is displayed. If you are a director or lead teacher, some of these pages are really helpful in staff training!
Good luck with all of your process art endeavors! Like I said above, enjoy it! It’s so fun to create with materials you never would have associated with art, like potato mashers or bubble wrap. I love to sit in the art center and create some crazy abstract art right alongside my students. :)