March 28, 2013

Easter Bunny Mountain: Play Dough Fun

Easter Bunny Mountain: Play Dough Fun

What can we make with our leftover play dough?  I asked myself that question, but answer came.  So Calvin and I decided to just play with the dough. We had no idea what we'd make, if anything.  

The result of our spontaneous play was the little mountain you see above. It took three days to make: one day for modeling, one day for painting, and the last for collaging.

How did it become Easter Bunny Mountain?  Read on to find out.  

Note: I made my own nontoxic play dough which I call The Recipe.  (Click for instructions.)  I found the recipe on the Artful Parent blog.  Thanks, Jean.

Procedure for Day 1:

  • I formed some play dough into a tangerine-size ball and handed it to Calvin just to see what he would do. SPLAT!  He smashed the ball flat.  Then he giggled and asked for more.  So I rolled another and another. Splat!  Splat!  Faster and faster I rolled until all the play dough was used up. 

  • Calvin piled the flattened balls one upon another. 

  • Opps! The pile grew too tall and started to topple, so Calvin flattened it with his palm. 

  • By the time all the flattened balls were placed, we had quite a big pile.

  • I set the pile near a sunny window to dry. After two days it was firm but not completely dry. I turned the pile on its side and scooped from the bottom which was still soft.  I removed the insides so the pile could dry all the way through.

  • Then it was back to the sunny window for a few more days. I wondered what the pile would become or if it would remain just a pile, but first it had to be painted.

Procedure for Day 2:

  • Calvin squeezed some tempera paint out.  Well, he couldn't really squeeze the bottle yet, so he just shook the paint out. We chose yellow as our base coat.

  • Next we loaded our brushes and painted the pile. Calvin painted the big areas, and I painted the nooks. 

  • By now we had a yellow pile but still no idea what it could be.  It had to dry, so back to the sunny window it went.

Procedure for Day 3:

  • I set the pile in front of Calvin along with a container of torn paper and some glue.  I wanted  to see what he would do. 

  • Calvin went for the glue right away.  He became very serious as he squeezed and dribbled glue around the pile.  Earlier I had made the glue applicator hole wider to allow for easier squeezing.

  • When all the glue was gone, we stuck torn paper on the pile. I worked slowly, one piece on at a time, but not Calvin.  He dumped the torn paper over the play dough to speed things up. 

  • After a while we had more paper on the floor than the table, so we finished our work on the floor. That made Calvin happy. Whenever he needed a break, he threw torn paper pieces in the air and watched them spin and drop to the floor. His giggles were heard all through the house.

  • As I looked at our yellow pile with it's green paper pieces, an idea came to me.  The big Aha moment I'd been waiting for. The pile looked like a miniature mountain.  Now all I had to do was figure out how a miniature mountain would fit into an Easter centerpiece that already contained our Fuzzy Wuzzy Bunny and six Easter Eggs Colored with Tempera Paint

  • I placed the mountain in the middle of the center piece and stacked the Easter Eggs  around it . Calvin placed the Fuzzy Wuzzy Bunny right on the tip top, and we were done.  

Happy Easter to You and Yours.

Extend the Activity:

I love play dough.  Here are three more idea sources for play dough fun.

  • Mary Ann Kohl (art teacher and author)  has published a book full of dough modeling ideas: Mudworks Creative Clay, Dough and Modeling Experiences.
(click for

Do you have a comment or a suggestion? I'd love to hear from you.

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