Indigenous Pottery Inspired Activity Using Taste Friendly Modeling Dough

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

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Natural Dye “Jungle Paint” Fail + Success

From the July 22, 2019 Vitamin Sea Playgroup

Let’s start with what didn’t work . . .

Natural Dye – Tie Dye FAIL
So I had dreams of picking random flowers and plants throughout our property and producing beautiful tie dyed items! Pinterest pins abound promised a beautiful array of colors just from red cabbage alone! Since my goal was to do this activity with toddlers, I really wanted everything we used to be “taste friendly!”  . . . however . . .

There are several things to consider when attempting to use natural dyes as a tie-dye activity for a playgroup full of littles! 

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Watercolor Bubbles & Hibiscus Bubbles with All Natural Bubble Wands

From the July 8, 2019 Vitamin Sea Playgroup

Watercolor Bubbles

At today’s play group we made art with bubbles!  I bought bubble solution at the local grocery store, and divided it out into individual jars.  I then added food coloring to each jar, which was also purchased at the same grocery store.  

Blow the bubbles onto paper and ta-dah! ART!  

The store only had green, black, yellow, and red food coloring so we couldn’t quite operate with all the primary colors as we didn’t have blue.  Primary colors cannot be mixed from other colors as they are the source of all other colors. If we had the primary colors it would have been a great homeschooling exercise to discuss how colors mix together, but it was still pretty nonetheless! I almost didn’t buy the black food coloring, but I’m glad I did because it turns up light grey on paper, which I think looks really nice!

For my 15 month old, he had more fun chasing bubbles randomly than making the bubble art. I imagine with a slightly older age group, they’d be into the color part of it more.  We also experimented with using clothing pegs to attach paper to hand fans, so that toddlers could swat the bubbles with the fans.  

This sort of worked, but might be more fun for older children.  Using bubbles in this way provides a sort of age-continuum activity!  The littles can simply chase the bubbles while anyone a bit older can focus more on the art aspect.

Food coloring is also great to use as edible water color paint for toddlers.  I’ve shied away from arts and crafts with my toddler as inevitably paint, glue and all sorts of chemical laden arts and crafts supplies end up right in the mouth, faster than I can blink!  But by adding just a bit of food coloring to water, you have edible watercolors. Now we can paint with freedom! 

I do have to warn you though,

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