The area we live in is very close to a major archeological site, one of the oldest known cemetaries in the pacific containing the bones and other artifacts of the Lapita people. In our area anyone digging to make a garden digs up Manga’asi pottery. It’s everywhere over here! How incredible to be surrounded by 2,000 year old pottery (everything we find is being documented by an archeologist). To celebrate this, we chose an indigenous pottery inspired activity. We made modeling dough and stamped all kinds of patterns in it!

I used this recipe, which calls for 1/2 cup oatmeal, 1/4 cup flour, and 1/4 cup water. Following the instructions . . . this is what I got:

Very, very sticky hands! So I just kept adding flour until it was usable as modeling dough. It worked! My toddler had a lot of fun pressing shapes and sticks into it.

To make this fun for a wide age range, since our play group is for 0 – 6 year olds, I thought it would be great to have the kids mix it themselves and even choose what color they would like. I needed to figure out the ratio of ingredients that actually worked, since following the recipe didn’t produce the results we needed. After experimenting, I found that 2 parts oatmeal, 2 parts flour to 1 part water worked really well. In other words, an equal amount of oatmeal and flour, with 1/2 as much water. I pre-poured into re-used spaghetti sauce jars and had food coloring ready to mix into the water after the kiddos chose which color(s) they wanted.

Pre-poured in jars, ready for the kids to add food coloring and mix!

I didn’t know how many kids would be coming to the playgroup, so I didn’t stress about having a set for each child. When put to practice, it definitely wasn’t necesary for each child to have their own, as we had fun circling up doing it together. One child chose the color, another liked getting their hands dirty mixing it all together, while another took turns mixing it up with a spoon and others preferred to watch and then play with the end result.

Circled up to mix it together!

I had A LOT of fun with this and so did the kiddos! I got my hands dirty right with everyone! We also wove balls and pinwheels out of coconut leaves, but I’ll have to make a video tutorial for that as I don’t think words and pictures will convey that one!

Coconut leaves woven to make a ball!

As usual with our playgroups, we also had lots of free play! The tide was out and so some children spent time checking out the creatures in the little pools while others spent time climbing rocks and picking up sticks. It was great!

A father and daughter at our playgroup checking out the tidal pools

Have you made a taste friendly modeling dough? Or any ideas for our playgroup? If so, comment below! 🙂

Lukim yu!

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