Friday, November 8, 2013

Natural Play Dough Sculptures




Day 8: Natural Play Dough Sculptures

Wow! The possibilities with play dough and nature are absolutely endless! I have a basic homemade play dough that I like to use. I have looked it up several times, but most recently found the recipe here. It is a cooked dough that uses flour, cream of tartar, salt, oil, water, and then any additives that are desired. It stays fresh for quite a bit of time and is very soft and easy to work with. It also is very quick to make. For our Natural Play Dough Sculpture station with early childhood educators, I made the recipe times 6. There was plenty with some even left over. I have added things to it to make pumpkin pie dough--heavenly! It smelled good and was easy for little hands while playing. I usually leave the vanilla out so then it can be generic enough for many applications.

At the recent Children, Nature, and Art program, we had a station set up with supplies for nature sculpting. I premeasured some of the ball of dough so there could be some portion control as we stretched the dough to meet the needs of 75 attendees at the Early Childhood Professionals of Northern Indiana (ECPNI) sponsored program. On the table, we also had several types of essential oils, dried herbs (fresh would be good, too), mortar and pestles, tissue paper, rocks, pinecones, leaves, sweet gum balls, etc. At the participants' tables there were also many other items available. People started gathering supplies and then brought them back to their work areas.

 



This morphed over time. I liked the original sculpture just fine, yet there was more to add to it! The artist had a larger vision with "weeds" from my grandparents' house, evergreens, snake grass, rocks, etc.


This pink play dough was colored from the pokeweed berries that are out this time of year. They were just smashed in until the desired shade was met. Don't eat these ones. :-) I noticed as I was measuring the dough that I had some of the berry juice dried on my hands. It was turning the dough a lovely shade of pink. I loved this little squirrel with an acorn! 


These sculptures included dried items, rocks, sticks, textured items, and more. I imagine the hands creating these had to work and develop them over time, course changes, and the experimentation of elements.


 

This similar central design certainly allowed for different interpretations. The one on the right made the plate as part of the canvas, including milkweed, evergreen, paint, dried leaves, etc.

 

This was quite interesting to see all the textures and elements used to pull these natural play dough sculptures together. I like the leaf as a base! I also liked the element of weaving in this tall sculpture. 



This person sculpted a little reptile on top of a rock and then started painting! This pink play dough was colored from the pokeweed berries that are out this time of year. They were just smashed in until the desired shade was met. Don't eat these ones. :-) I noticed as I was measuring the dough that I had some of the berry juice dried on my hands. It was turning the dough a lovely shade of pink.

 

What would you create with your natural play dough? Lots of possibilities! I have many more ideas and have used the play dough in other ways, but thought this was good documentation of many ways to take this. I also found this fun post with other options for this open ended activity. 

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