Play-Doh

Play-Doh, what a delightful material. Talk about fun!

I hope that everyone reading this post has had an opportunity to create with this soft, colorful, mold-able compound. If not, I strongly suggest you buy a few containers and discover the joy for yourself. You can buy small plastic cans for fifty cent a piece. It’s an incredible deal when you think about it. Of course, there’s no price tag for pure joy.

I remember playing with it as a child. And, it just so happens that it was marketed in the mid 1950’s, so Play-Doh and I grew up together. I loved it from the start, even though the selection was pretty basic, unlike today’s explosion of colors.

Not only was it fun to mold, it smelled great too. I couldn’t wait to open the container and get that first whiff…mmmm. And I confess, yes, I’ve eaten my share. Not whole cans mind you, but a nibble here and there. It’s very salty, in case you wanted to know.

To me, the ideal is to enjoy Play-Doh with children. Watching them is a magical experience. It’s also an opportunity to learn about the world.

Think about it for a minute.

You open up a few containers, take out the dough and then what?

Here’s what…you create something out of nothing. Of course, you can copy something you’ve seen but you can also allow your imagination to run wild. It’s all up to you.

What a divine experience, to be a creator. Free of any rules or restrictions. Well, maybe one restriction. Don’t let it fall on the floor and get mashed into the rug. It’s super hard to get out and homeowners are funny about things like that, unless it’s your home and you don’t care, then you’re free again.

I wonder.

Is our life like play-doh? Is it fully moldable? Is it a little bit salty and a little bit sweet? And, are we truly the creators of our own experiences here?

To me, a lot rides on our answers to these simple questions.

What’s really at stake here?

When I watch children create with play-doh, they fully engage in the experience. They often choose lots of colors, so their creation is more beautiful. They aren’t afraid to mix and match and smash and start over again. They walk away for a snack, then come back. They talk about their life, or at least bits and pieces of it and some of their energy gets infused into what they create. They seem to understand that joy is a part of the process, not only the end result.

Every one of these things inspires me to see my life from a different angle. I don’t always have to be in a rush. I can enjoy the moment. I can explore. I can release pursuing life as a goal. I can open to an inner freedom. And I can know a truth, that it’s okay to start over, because there’s always more play-doh.

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3 Replies to “Play-Doh”

  1. Hi Rob,
    Enjoyed reading your playful play doh memories. You were more adventurous than me, tasting it.
    And I like to eat.
    But I more relate to similar experiences , playing with silly putty.
    My uncle worked at the silicone GE plant and he could get it for free. Maybe before it was on the market.
    We could press in onto comic strips and reproduce the comic.
    I usually made food creations, ie pizza, cookies, spaghetti and meatballs.
    Just the Italian in me, and still like to cook. Hope my food taste a little better than silly putty.
    And the other cool thing, you could roll it and bounce it.
    And the downside, as I remember was once I wanted to save it for later, and put it in my courderoy pants pocket. Not cool. When I went to retrieve it, it had eaten away my pocket and not usuable. A washing nightmare for my mom.
    I don’t know if I was that creative or if I answered your leading questions but it gave me a chuckle to walk down that childhood memory lane.
    Thanks!

    Like

    1. Loved your response and I fondly remember silly putty too. My sister and I would squash it onto the comics as well and then stretch it to make the picture look really funny. Thanks for the silly putty memories!

      Like

  2. In my earlier years when my thoughts were dualistic (good vs bad; right vs wrong). My creativity and the use of my imagination were used mainly at times I was unsupervised. This coupled with the fact that at 8 years old I hung around with boys who were 10 to 12 made me a bona fide street kid.
    Most activities I got into were both bad and wrong. I started smoking at 8.First long butts off the ground then stealing cigarettes .Carrying a knife was common.

    So why go into all this? Because the summer after the sixth grade I spent the summer in Harrisburg, PA with my mother’s sister, husband and two children.
    They lived in a new home built on a country club to which all residents were members. What a turn around my existence took that summer.
    Then when I returned it was to a different home, for my family had moved to Frankfort, NY where my father had purchased an Insurance Agency.
    I started 7th grade in a public central school as a new kid on the block.

    Although I didn’t imagine or create any of the changes these events brought about, I now had a different perspective to imagine and create from.

    Like

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