Before my mother was a mother, and before she became a psychologist, she was a kinder teacher. Mum studied at the Institute of Early Childhood Development and spent eight years nurturing little minds in the late seventies and eighties (with breaks for maternity leave), before doing further study when my younger brother was a baby. As you might expect, she is an invaluable resource for me when it comes to raising my daughter. When Joan and I are with my mum, she will often notice that Joan is doing something new, developmentally, and will casually mention ways I could encourage her - things I would never have thought to do. But mum isn't overbearing, either. She is a big fan of sitting back and letting children learn, discover and engage with the world on their own. She's my biggest inspiration as a parent. And a cook.
Every Tuesday, mum comes and spends the whole day with Joan while I work, before heading off to work herself. One of Joan's favourite activities to do with her Nana KK is make playdough. Many months ago, Joan and I made homemade playdough, and it was good - perfectly tacky. However, it didn't last long, and the colour was rather pallid. I asked mum to share the recipe she used as a kinder teacher so we could try again. While she couldn't remember the precise recipe she used thirty years ago, she found one online that looked similar, and which worked wonderfully.
Mum and Joan have made yellow playdough by colouring the mix with a little ground turmeric. They've also created a pink version by using beetroot water (which involved heating leftover roasted beetroot in water, then removing the beetroot pieces once cooled). Six weeks later and that pink playdough is still going strong. We whip it out on rainy days or during that tired + hungry hour right before dinner. There's nothing quite like smushing and rolling dough to make you feel at peace.
Here is the recipe mum used, though she didn't add food colouring - just turmeric or some pink beetroot water, as described above.