Scéalta – The Early Childhood Ireland Blog

< Back to Blog

Same Thing, in a Different Way


Tuesday 17 April 2018

‘Let’s make playdough’ is a popular sentence with many children. The simplicity of the flour, oil, water and colouring continues to amaze children each time it is made. Each time I engage in making playdough with a child or a group of children, the process appears wonderous, this is evident through their curiosity as they work with the ingredients. Last week I was spending time with my godchild. Her concentration of getting the flour into the bowl, and each time she tries to get more balanced onto the spoon. The weight of the water jug as she is pouring it in, and she carefully watches the splashes of colour add to the flour. At each stage, she puts her hands in and is exploring it in her own little world. The feel of the flour pressed under her palms, the sensation of it running through her fingers. This week however, it was different, she chose to add the oil last. And wow, the experience for her was different to all the other times. She carefully watched the oil fall into the bowl holding it steadily. She looked in amazement, as it is sitting on top of the other ingredients. Giving a curious look towards me, she chooses to put her fingers into the bowl. ‘It’s cold’ she says, as she lifts her fingers with the red mixture underneath falling from her little hands. The curiosity and imagination of her exploring three-year-old mind spent over 30 minutes playing with the mixture as it was. As I sat with her, I could not help but think of the learning that has spontaneously happened here. This is something we do regularly, but this texture is new to her.

Showing the rich learning that happens when open ended materials, time and space are provided – the learning is endless and how interests can easily be extended. For the afternoon, this ‘playdough’ became food which was fed to her teddy, it became poop as she explored her recent toilet training, it became a treasure hunt as she added in small figures to find as she exclaimed ‘arrrggg matey’.

What was fascinating though, was the one thing it didn’t become was playdough! Or playdough as we know it - it was slimy, greasy and liquid. But for her, this was what she made and it was something important in this moment. Afterwards, I was thinking that how we so often become overly focused on the end-product of the playdough, we often overlook these play experiences in getting to the end. We know playing with playdough is enjoyable for children, but more importantly the making of it, so it has become a key activity for many early years services on a weekly basis. However, how much time do we allow for the making of it, in comparison to the ‘playing’ with the final product? Next time, I would love for you to set aside more time for the making of it, the playdough will be there tomorrow, it is only made once and that is where the most fun, and learning is for children.



Lorraine O’ Connor works as an Early Years Specialist with Early Childhood Ireland. She has an MA in Social Studies and BA in Early Childhood Studies. Lorraine's areas of interest are play, children’s rights and movement. And she is continually intrigued by the playfulness and curiosity of children’s stories through play.

0 comments Comments

Leave a Reply

Please Log In to comment:

Covid19 crisis(1) Performance Management(1) Kilkenny(1) Eritrea(1) iOS(1) mushrooms(1) Pedagogical leaders(1) collaboration(1) role playing(1) MA(1) education(2) Malaguzzi(1) Budget 2018(1) Budget 2020(1) Support(1) guardian(1) Universal Design(2) Teamwork(1) Síolta(139) scéalta(58) Hand Hygiene(2) Proceedings Journal(1) Santa(2) Research and Professional Learning(1) Craft(1) Exercise(1) Educator - Leader in Practice Award(1) under 3's(3) pablo(1) toddlers(3) play pods(2) Intention(1) Arithmetic(1) Cognitive development(1) Exclusion(1) Children and families(2) Counting(1) UNICEF report(1) purpose(1) COVID(3) child-centred approach(1) Irish guidelines(1) ReCreate(2) presentation skills(1) Mindfulness(3) blog(56) Shapes(2) play stories(2) Ariana Pucci(1) Design(1) Celebrate(1) Early Years Educators(3) social media policy(1) Sculptures(1) budget(1) Italy(1) racism(1) gender stereotype(1) College(1) Awards 2019(1) Children(8) Digital Devices(1) DCYA(6) outdoors(4) Reopening Childcare(1) Laugh(1) Trade Unions(1) Vivian Gussin Paley(1) emotional well-being(1) routine(2) childcare services(1) GDPR(1) early life(1) Síolta Quality Assurance programme(1) Investment(2) Childhood(2) educating(1) Map(1) learning(19) Snack Time(1) transitions(10) Fee Play(1) Irish Early Years Research & Practice Seminar 2018(1) Department of Children and Youth Affairs(2) Dr. Emer Ring(1) Pobal sector profile(1) research(8) Childcare(3) dogs(1) Plastic(1) early years research(3) relationships(18) Workforce(1) Pretend Play(1) First 5 transitions for children award(1) First 5 strategy(1) natural environment(1) Traffic Lights(1) Deirdre Rogers(1) Recycling(2) experience(1) Culture(2) Empathy(1) Rituals(1) Workplace Relations(3) Kindness Challenge(1) Mount Everest(1) International Narratives(1) play(37) Body Language(1) grandchild(1) conversations(1) Learning through Storytelling(2) Touch(1) Academic Skills(1) Maths(6) movement behaviours(1) SAC(1) Awards Night(1) refugees(1) Social Skills(1) National Pyjama Day(1) Jenga(1) UN(1) primary education(1) Scéalta Book Review(1) family time(1) Spiders(1) Rising to the Challenge(2) women in research(1) Trigonometry(1) books(5) Care routines(1) Leprechauns(1) Building Resilience(1) Awards 2018(3) aistear blog(3) meals(3) Exploring and Thinking(1) Trauma-Sensitive(1) education system(1) NCCA(4) CPD(1) Gratitude(1) Technology(3) Running(1) Montessori & Early Childhood Professionals Ireland(1) Behaviour(3) Diversity(1) Special Needs Assistants(1) Impact(1) Early Childhood Education(1) Confident(1) food(1) Love(3) Scents(1) Europe(1) National Awards 2019(1) Appreciation(1) Funding(1) Certificate(1) Ceremony(1) Role play(1) Dance(1) Consent(1) Large Doll Play(1) Independence(1) Workplace well-being(1) Degree(1) planning(1) Magnavacchi(1) Identity and Belonging(4) story time(2) learning hub(2) Educators(2) multi-generational community(1) Learning journals(1) Buddy Bench(1) value(1) Aldo Fortunati(4) Titles(1) Halloween(2) Quality(4) Covid-19 lockdown(1) Montessori(3) risky play(2) coronavirus(1) Settling in(4) Wendy Lee(4) Reflective Practice(1) Obesity(1) Primary School(3) UD(1) art of the relationship(1) overhear(1) Party(1) Line-ups(1) ECEC(4) Motor neuron disease(1) Autism(4) Weather(1) Administrative Burden(1) National Bereaved Children's Awareness Week(1) Learning Stories Award(3) Women(1) United Nations(1) Maths Week Ireland(1) Pobal(1) Mental Health(4) christmas(9) Photographs(1) science week(2) Book Review(1) Children's Book Club(1) Playschool(1) Visual Impairment(1) Snacks(1) supportive environments(2) learning bias(1) early years settings(1) Winter(1) Staff Motivation(1) Annual Conference 2017(2) School Age Childcare(2) maternity health(1) quarantine(2) Early Years Education(1) Iraq(1) Early Learning and Care Centres(1) Laughter(1) Summer(2) National Holiday(1) dining experiences(1) Identity(5) Frustrations(1) Opportunities(1) Time Out(1) listen(1) Family(1) Infectious diseases(1) Treasure(1) Exit interview(1) Wilenski(1) Maynooth(1) Síolta QAP(1) social media(2) feisty(1) General Data Protection Regulation(1) Communicating(1) bonds(1) Online(1) Toby Bears Camping Trip(1) Arlene Forster(1) Irish Childhood Bereavement Network(1) worries(1) baby room(1) behavioural science(1) Traditions(2) Digital(1) Adverse Childhood Experiences(1) apps for children(1) Return to Work(1) HR(1) Anthony Semann(1) Favouritism(1) dublin(2) Leadership(1) Child Care(1) Gardening(1) Learning Story Awards(2) Supernanny(1) Educator of the Year Award(3) Upcycling(1) First 5(1) Anxiety(2) NAEYC(1) ears(1) Human Resources(1) Universal Design Guidelines(1) interacting(2) MECPI(1) Children's Rights(3) Inter-generational(2) COVID-19 landscape(1) Maynooth University(2) Infection Control(1) friendships(1) inspiring interactions(1) Positivity(1) COVID-19 Reopening(2) Engineers Week(2) Reggio Children Network(1) Covid response(2) Feeding(1) imotion(1) Equality & Inclusion Guidelines Training(1) ICBN(1) Leargas(1) UK Government(1) UN Sustainable Development Goals(1) Sociodramatic play(1) Childcare Barometer 2018(1) Minister Katherine Zappone(1) Nordic model(1) Death(2) Communications(1) Providing Leadership to the First 5(1) Looking Back(1) Looking Forward(1) Early Childhood Ireland National Awards(2) Performing(1) Care-giving routines(1) Penguins(1) Mo Scéal(1) Belonging(3) Children's Research Network(2) STEAM(1) Valentine's Day(3) Giraffe(2) Together Old and Young Programme(1) Easter(1) preschool settings(1) Annual Conference 2019(1) curiosity(3) E.coli(1) Nonverbal(1) emotions(2) INTO(1) Engagement(1) Builders(1) online training(1) European Project(1) Liz Kerrins(1) Glitter(2) educarer(1) AIM(2) Our Little Seed(1) Super Shed Stories(2) Art(6) Graduate(1) Affordability(1) STEM(3) Emergent Curriculum(1) National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education(1) Budget 2019(2) Irish(1) Cork(1) Jillian van Turnhout(1) Wesco(1) outdoor space(3) Inspiring Practice(1) Awards(2) Maths Week(1) Story(2) Competent(1) developing motor skills(1) Self Help Skills(1) show and tell(1) playleader(1) Fire Safety(1) Meal time(1) ELC(1) Little Buddies(1) keezy(1) quarantine kids(1) curriculum(7) Nutrition(1) Skillnet(1) life long learning(1) keep in touch(1) Minister for Children and Youth Affairs(1) Online Research Symposium(3) Names(1) Vietnam(1) Brain(1) Research Conference 2019(1) outdoor environment(1) Margy Whalley(1) Socioemotional development(1) Potential(1) New Appointments(1) Mark Twain(1) Unesco(1) early childhood(1) Child mental health(1) Early Years(1) stories(3) reopening(1) Nuturing interactions(1) National Early Childhood Research Conference(2) preschools(1) social science(1) Plants(1) Shoes(1) Sustainable(1) Lego(2) children’s learning(1) ECCE(7) Maternity Leave(1) University(1) Your place(1) phone apps(1) Kindness(1) Educator Award - Leader in Practice(1) Engineering Ireland(1) Storytelling(8) Buddies(1) staying connected(1) Inspections(1) UNCRC(2) child led(1) Loving Relationships(2) responsive relationships(1) Wrapping paper(1) Well-Being(10) Creative(1) early year’s classrooms(1) The Jelly King(1) ECEC Setting(2) Light table(1) CCTV(1) Routines(2) UK(1) Loss(1) Oireachtas(1) Maria Montessori(1) preschool(4) Mayo(1) Family wall(1) play pod(1) Dr Mary O'Kane(1) Japan(1) Children's Voice(1) science(3) Interactions(3) Croatia(1) Early Learning and Care(2) lockdown(1) scientific and artistic processes(1) EECERA(1) risk assessment(1) linc(1) Meet the Members(1) Access and Inclusion Model(2) Qualifications(1) dining(1) Trick or treat(1) Effect of Lockdown(1) ECIAwards20(1) Twitter(1) Youtube Series(1) Magic(1) Decision Making(1) Inspired Practice Awards(1) mental health problems(1) annual awards(1) The Lullaby Book(1) World book day(1) Albert Einstein(1) National Council for Curriculum and Assessment(1) Study Trip(1) Aistear Siolta Practice Guide(1) Health(2) Self-Esteem(1) Reggio(1) Whole Group(1) Flowers(1) DES Inspection(1) memories(1) Sweets(1) Policy(2) Sport(1) Iceland(2) Window(1) reopening ireland(1) Visitors(1) Sustainability(3) Treasure Chest(1) Partnership with Families Innovation Award(2) community(5) Blocks(1) Sessional service(1) Early Childhood Ireland’s National Early Childhood Research Conference 2019(1) emotional environment(2) TOY Programme(1) Biting(1) children development(1) Kerry(1) EM Standing(1) Prexit(1) Celebrations(4) an post(1) Challenges(1) respect(5) Breathing(2) Music(3) Early Childhood Ireland(10) Siolta blog(8) World Health Organisation(1) documentation(4) ERASMUS+(3) continual professional development(1) democratic citizens(1) structure(1) Sequins(1) EECERA 2016(1) Relaxation(1) parents(7) Playdough(1) man up(1) Drawing(2) Through the looking glass(1) upskilling(1) code of ethics(1) Time(1) SPICE Framework(1) eating(1) Employee(1) TRAP(1) San Miniato(4) QRF(1) Frosty the Snowman(1) Arts(1) Leadership for INClusion in the Early Years(1) gender bias(1) Confidence(1) Community involvement(1) communication(4) Change(1) Advocacy(1) listening(1) Cork Institute of Technology(1) National Childcare Scheme(1) Scéalta Blog(106) Covid pandemic(3) early childhood educator(2) youdoodle(1) Thanks(1) Smiles(1) Stress(2) Creativity(7) bloom app(1) St. Patrick's Day(1) Graduation(1) Early Childhood Care and Education(2) Exploratory Play(1) Sleep(1) Recycle(1) Imagination(3) Xbox(1) Interaction(1) Inspired Practice Award(6) early childhood ireland research(1) Self-regulation(1) Mealtimes(1) Return to Work Training(1) Department of Education and Skills(1) AsIAm(2) Reading Time(2) Inclusion(3) Facebook(1) june29(1) Rich Documentation(1) Academics(1) IGL(1) Patterns(1) Pen green(1) Adoption(1) Kids Own(1) National Research Conference 2019(1) Wonder(1) democracy(1) Participation(2) Leaders in Practice(1) RIE philosphy(1) Seas Suas(1) LINC Award for Leadership in Inclusion(2) learners(1) RTE Investigates(1) animals(2) Equality(1) Pre-School Services(1) Event Guide(1) Mud kitchens(1) Painting(1) Exploring(1) Queues(1) Growing up Outdoors(2) Seanchaí(1) development(9) Syria(1) built environments(1) Small World Play(1) Aistear(132) awards 2020(1) Learning Stories(9) pets(1) Reggio Emilia(2) Masterclass(2) Pedagogy(2) Elders(1) Horizon 2020(1) Orla Kenny(1) CIT(1) Mantra(1) journey(1) Capable(1) Thank you(1) Inspirational(2) Learning Story(1) Inter-generational learning(2) partnership with families(1) annual conference(1) Aistear Siolta in Action(1) Policy and Implementation Panel(1) Environment(2) Limerick(1) Fabric(1) Norway(2) Training(3) research submissions(1) Thinking(1) reading(6) COVID-19 crisis(1) risk(2) Mathematicians(1) GoToMeeting app(1) European Early Childhood Education Research Association(2) worldbookday(1) Home Corner(1) Fantasy play(1) Afghanistan(1) trust(4) Snakes(1) National Annual Awards 2020(1) Book Club(2) Trade union(1) PIP(1) conference(1) Bereavement(2) Tuscan Approach(2) Games(2) Learning Journal(2) Vertical grouping(1) partnership(1) Growing up in Ireland(3) Interests(1) peer group(1) Grief(1) TUSLA(1) Christmas Creativity(2) child-centric(1) timekeeping skills(1) The Play and Learning in the Early Years(1) babies(7) early years learning(1) Valerie Gaynor(1) National Awards 2018(2) COVID-19(18) Mixed age groups(3) play therapy(1) Research Seminar(1) healthy eating policies(1) child safeguarding(1) Document Learning(1) environments(1) homeschool(1) creche(1) outdoor play(7) code of professional responsibility(1) Yoga(1) Decisions(1) Professionalisation(5) Engineering(3) Magda Gerber(1) Regulation 23(1)


Site maintained and developed by Cloud Nine