We love playing with homemade play dough. It is so much softer than the stuff in the yellow cans AND it stays soft for months longer. If you have never made play dough, it's really quick - it only takes about fifteen minutes (see here for a quick tutorial).
Yesterday we started playing with our play dough, and then I remembered that for Christmas we bought two canisters of SAND from Brookstone (blah blah, I have not been compensated for this review, all opinions are my own, blah blah). So, if you have never played with this stuff it's - - - mesmorizing. You can mold it and then watch as it slowly breaks apart. Here is a link to their video demonstrating how easy it is to mold and create, and then watching as the object slowly disintegrates back into grains of sand.
Little Miss is using the alphabet cookie cutters to sing the Alphabet Song,
where as Wild One is pretending he is Sebastian and conducting an orchestra.
Little Miss really loves playing with this. Each time we break this stuff out, she will sit at the table for an hour (more if I'd let her, I usually pull this out while I'm making dinner). She likes making molds, pretending she's a sand teacher and I'm her student, creating designs in the sand, and adding objects to the sand to decorate it.
When Grandpa tried it, even he became mesmorized by it. Little Miss was showing Grandpa what to do, since she is the sand teacher. They are so cute! He was only torn away from it, because Wild One was asking to play The Three Little Pigs with the puppets.
This stuff is all about imagination, relaxation and just letting go. Yes, they are working on fine motor skills, pencil grips, hand-eye coordination, sensory development, but for now this is just for fun. No hidden math lesson (although, I could easily hide a few shells and invite the kids to find and then count them). Just fun.
Now, they claim that this is no mess and that it doesn't stick to you. It's sand, ok SAND, and kids are messy so this can be messy (I always have to vacuum when we are finished). It does stick to us, we can swish it off of us (like we can do with dry sand) to remove it, but it does stick. Still with that said, it's a lot of fun.