Of Snowmen, Worms and Birthday Cakes

I spend a good part of most weeks playing with Play-Doh.  My Play-Doh basket contains a wide assortment of primary, pastel and neon colors, plus at least 20 shape cutters, a small rolling pin, some plastic knives and a few birthday candles.

My two-year-old and three-year-old grandchildren are in the process of teaching me the finer points of the art of Play-Doh.   I am at about a level two out of ten, while my young grandchildren are established masters of the craft.

Here are some things I have learned while playing with Play-Doh.

  • You can never have too many cans of Play-Doh open at any given time.  Even if you are assembling a whole family of snow-people from white Play-Doh, cans containing other colors should be open and at the ready.
  • Pretending goes a long way in the world of Play-Doh.  Worms can quickly be transformed into snakes, ropes, coiled pots or even necklaces.  Small balls can become bird eggs or even eyeballs; a flattened circle can become one-half of a hamburger bun, or with the addition of candles, a birthday cake.  A triangle can become a clown hat, the base of a teeter-totter, or an Egyptian pyramid.  Don’t tell me that pyramids can’t be red.  I have seen them.
  • As a general rule, the different colors of clay should not be mixed.  When this inevitably happens though, mixing red and blue clay creates purple clay; mixing yellow and blue creates green; mixing red and yellow creates orange; and mixing five or six random colors creates a muddy hue that has no place in the forming of a rainbow.
  • If one player declares a certain formation of clay to be a horse, it is a horse.
  • Play-Doh snowmen need legs.
  • Yellow Play-Doh spiders are nice but blue ones with red spots are mean.
  • You never really eat Play-Doh, but you can pretend to eat all colors of cookies, hamburgers and birthday cakes.  If an item of Play-Doh food accidentally touches your lips, it tastes salty.  It tastes even saltier if it touches your tongue.  This grandma moves at the speed of an Amtrak train if she sees Play-Doh beginning to be chewed.
  • When an adult plays with Play-Doh, she is reminded that its smell is unique among all smells.  Catching a whiff of it transports her back to a time when she was a pony-tailed seven-year-old whose biggest challenge in life was getting past her threesies when playing jacks.

Truly, people who play with Play-Doh learn to express themselves without inhibition, to appreciate other people’s artwork, and to give and receive both praise and constructive criticism with grace.  Best of all, people who play with Play-Doh together create not only beautiful works of art but also sweet memories that may last a lifetime.


©Debbie Scales                 January 9, 2016                 478 Words


8 thoughts on “Of Snowmen, Worms and Birthday Cakes”

    1. When I have reached my limit in entertaining my grandkids and trying to keep them happy, I reach for Play-Doh. It’s a lot less messy than finger painting!

  1. What beautiful memories you and your grandchildren are creating and what better way to preserve them than by sharing.

  2. While you, Debbie, may “never really eat Play Doh” I (along with many others I am sure) still like a bit now and again. The taste, the texture, it’s all good.

    And if you Google “eating play doh” you’ll see I’m not the only one….though perhaps the only one whose age is in double-digits.

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