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My Blog

Play Dough Restaurant

Good morning.  What a beautiful day.  I love it when the sun is shining and the birds are singing.  Makes me happy to see the beauty set before me.
Today I thought that I might go back in time a bit and reflect on Play Dough.  I remember the enjoyment that I used to get with that colorful clay.  The smell is like nothing else I have ever known.  I remember getting cans of it and the imagination would just start to flow.  I loved creating objects even back then.  It was such a good tactile thing to do. 
The one person I remember who used to encourage it was my grandfather.    We lived it a 2 story home in the far west side of Chicago.  It was a 2 flat, that was always filled with family.  At one point in time, my grandparents resided on the first floor and my mother had the 2nd floor.  The odd thing was that, even though she had the second floor all decorated...we lived together with my grandparents on the first floor.  The second floor was really for show or when she had company.  I still to this day don't quite understand why it was that way. 
Anyway, my grandfather and I would go upstairs to play.  Especially with the play dough.  I guess in hindsight, we were staying out of Grandma's hair.  Grandpa Joe would sit at the kitchen table and pretend he was the owner/maître de of the restaurant and I would be the cook.  I would have all these items prepared and would put them in my mothers empty appliances that were displayed on all the counters. 
Grandpa would make up name of people as they entered the diner and order different foods from me.  I played both the chef and the waitress.  I had one of Grandma's aprons on and had a hankie pinned to my top just like in the real restaurants at the time. 
Grandpa would have funny names and silly conversations with these pretend people as they walked into our restaurant.  My favorite was "Good morning Myrtle....how is your girdle today?"  He would then pretend to seat her and take her order and then call it in to me.  I would prepare the order and take it out to our pretend customer. 
I used to use my Betty Crocker baking pans to create pies and cookies and madeleine's.  I made hamburgers and other items as well.  One time...we got carried away with time and forgot about the extra Play Dough items in the pans when we put away the dough.  One day my mother found all those little surprises in the kitchen...she now knew our secret play area.  She must have had a talk with Grandpa, because from then on, he always had me clean out the pans first, before anything else.   
When I sit today and use my polymer clay to create jewelry or statues, I can't help but smile remembering the good old days.  That was where my love for creating things with my hands came from.  I laugh as I remember my big burly grandfather playing childish games with me.  His sense of humor...and especially his love.  Not many Grandfathers would take the time to do that.  And if they do..I am sure they have no idea what sort of lasting effect it has on the children.   
Today, who would have ever guessed that you could now make your very own play dough.  Wow, if we could have done that long ago, I would have all those customers eating my creations for real...and my poor Grandfather would probably have a full stomach all the time. 
You can now make play dough with Jello, Koolaid, peanut butter, and even to taste like gingerbread.    You can still buy Play Dough in the store and let the children create, although most mother's are leery about the Dough in the house.  Many think it is a messy project, but I think it is because they don't take enough time to sit and foster the children with it.  It is such a wonderful tool for them.  Both for the dexterity of their fingers and also for their minds and imaginations.  I think we need more and more of that these days. 
Here is a recipe for Play Dough made with Kool Aide.  Have some fun with your child or grandchild today and make some memories of your own!
Kool Aid Playdough Recipe
  • 1 cup of water
  • 3 teaspoons of Cream of Tartar
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 1 package of Kool-Aid Mix (any flavor of unsweetened)
  • 1 tablespoon of cooking oil
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • Mix dry ingredients in a large/medium pan.
  • Add water and oil.
  • Stir over medium heat until it looks as playdough.
  • The end result should have the color of your chosen kool aid.
  • The whole process takes about 8 minutes.

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