I don’t think there are many of us who didn’t play with play dough when we were kids. The combination of color and texture and the limitless possibilities on offer makes the salty dough irresistible to children of all ages.
But I wonder how many of us realized the potential for learning that lies within this simple childhood play thing.
Play dough has also been an integral part of Rowan’s learning for some time now, helping him understand everything from fractions to division to decimals. He loves the color and feel of the dough and it often much more motivated to learn when we incorporate it into our lessons. However, this summer he took his love of playdough to the next level when we invented the playdough play.
As many regular readers of this blog are probably aware Rowan’s passion this summer has been learning about history and his particular focus has been the Ancient Greeks and Romans. Every day for the past week we have spent some time each morning fashioning Greeks, Romans or Visigoths out of play dough and then using them to reenact moments from history that we have been learning about. Never was a playdough moment so poignant as when a purple Julius Cesar was killed by a blue Brutus.
Keeping with an artistic theme Rowan, who loves to puzzle, decided we should also make our own ‘Horrible History’ puzzles again depicting the Greeks and Romans. So far we have created a Roman communal toilet puzzle and a puzzle depicting when the Visigoths sacked Rome.
Who knows what we will decide to create tomorrow...but whatever it is it will be chosen by Rowan - because if he is intrinsically motivated to learn something he will end up knowing it in far more detail than if we force or bribe him into learning about what we decide.