A big shout out to The Imagination Tree http://www.theimaginationtree.com/ for the exceptional idea of adding herbs to playdough. Following their recipe, more or less, led to a fairly sticky concoction. This was alleviated by adding a sprinkling of flour onto the table & dough.
Providing some rolling pins, popsicle sticks & twigs led to the children exploring the new dough with all of their senses. We all had a smell of it. Some thought it was "Yuck" while others were a little unsure of what to make of it. At some stage most of the children used their sight & pointed out the green bits in the dough (grass, trees, leaves were some suggestions of what they were). Using their sense of touch the children discovered the varying dryness & stickiness of the dough at different times during the experience. While manipulating the dough a few of the children tasted it, with mixed reactions. One child even dropped their pile of dough onto the table repeatedly, listening to the sound it made with their hearing. So in essence, the opportunity to explore with all their senses during one experience was quite unique & very rewarding.
The lack of artificial colouring as well as the natural colours & smells of the herbs led to a discussion about them & what else they could be used for. A link to home life/culture as we talked about cooking various meals & a growing appreciation of natural materials. They also had the opportunity to use conventional unconventional tools, which led to more creativity & problem-solving.
Playdough - a simple, yet very effective learning experience & now it seems, even a herbal remedy for boredom.