Play-Doh Redeems Itself

If you’re like me and have ever thought you loved Play-Doh, then experienced the joys of a child smearing Play-Doh all over the carpet and it never coming off again, you’re probably already suspicious. We were in Target last weekend looking for something… Now I can’t even remember what. You know how that memory just melts away with each kid you have, and I’ve got four. Anyhow, of course we wound up in the toy section, of course a bunch of stuff was on clearance, and of course the kids all had money left over after Christmas because they were smart and spent *our* money on gifts and saved theirs. They really needed new toys a week after getting like a zillion of them. Two years later, they’d finally picked out the toys they were going to buy, when I spotted something that gave me pause.

Yes, it was the dreaded Play-Doh. Play-Doh like I have cleaned up a million times and swore we were finished with. But this Play-Doh came with letter stampers! This elevated it out of toy status and into the realms of school necessity. Plus, it was on clearance at 50% off, and you know what a cheapskate…err, bargain hunter I am. The Play-Doh came home with us under strict admonishments that it would live in the school closet and only be used by Coral for letter practice. I figured we had about a 10% chance of abiding by those rules for more than a day.

School was back in session on Tuesday, and after forging through the kids’ PE classes and other bookwork, we finally got to open the Play-Doh and try it out. I figured it would be best utilized for spelling out key sight words in Coral’s kindergarten readers. The set is actually called Cookie Monster’s Letter Lunch, and I envisioned her stamping out the letters to create the words and then feeding them to Cookie Monster. The added bonus that he “poops” them out the back of his body would leave her in sheer delight; what is a four-year-old’s obsession with poop, anyway?

I was right, she loves it. Every day this week, she made “school soup” or “I have soup” to go along with her readers, and every day she was in hysterics feeding the words to Cookie Monster and watching them tumble out the other end. She’s practicing letter recognition, sight reading, and spelling along with developing her fine motor skills. I may have new respect for Play-Doh.

Now if it winds up ground into the rug, we can call it art.

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