Play-Doh celebrated its 60th anniversary this year, which reminds me just how old I am. I pre-date Play-Doh!
I grew up playing with traditional stiff, sticky modeling clay. My children were luckier. My first child was born the same year that Play-Doh was purchased by General Mills and went mainstream, so all of my children and my grandchildren have grown up with the magical stuff.
I loved playing with modeling clay, even if you had to warm it and work it for ages before you could make anything with it.
Even if it stuck to everything, which meant that Mother made us use it on top of wax paper, which it stuck to. No wonder that we 50s-era kids fell in love with Play-Doh, even if we were old enough to have our own kids. It felt and smelled clean! It wasn't sticky! For years a fresh pack of Play-Doh was a special treat for my kids, treasured right up there with a 64-count box of Crayola crayons.
Like lots of grandparents, I'm a bit of a purist. I didn't buy my children or grandchildren a lot of the specialized Play-Doh products, figuring that simple products are best for creativity. We did have a series of Play-Doh Fun Factories, because playing with the extruder is too much fun.
I must admit, though, that my youngest grandchildren and I are similarly taken with the recently released Play-Doh Town series. Each playset comes with at least one cute character, some accessories and at least two mini cans of Play-Doh.
There are larger sets, too. My granddaughters are partial to the ice cream truck and the pet store. The ice cream truck lets you make your own cones and ice cream bars. With the pet store you can press out goldfish and hamsters or extrude long ears for the bunny.
I like that the sets are relatively inexpensive — $6 to $15 — so that you can buy one or two for fun without feeling as if you have made a major purchase.
They make good rewards and just-because gifts.
More About Play-Doh
Here are some hints and tips from the Hasbro Play-Doh website:
- If Play-Doh gets a little dry, you can work in a few drops of water, or wrap in a damp paper towel for a few minutes.
- When a child doesn't want to dismantle a masterpiece, take a picture of it. The picture will last. The creation won't. Play-Doh creations will eventually crack and crumble.
- The easiest way to clean up those tiny bits of Play-Doh from play surfaces is by pressing down with a larger piece of Play-Doh.
The website also has a section called Imaginative Creations that show you how to make dozens of works of art. Click on what you want to make, and a simple series of 3-4 pictures will show you how. There's also a function that allows you to select the colors of Play-Doh that you have and see creations made with those colors.
Over 100 million cans of Play-Doh are produced each year, which makes me fairly certain that it will be around for the next generation of my family. I certainly hope so. I hope to be still playing with Play-Doh when I'm a great-grandparent!