Here are five ways to explore bible stories using playdough. The dough I like to use is the 4-minute dough from The Imagination Tree. I make lemon, chocolate, peppermint, lavender, glitter spice (with cumin), glitter herb (with mint and coriander), golden caramel (with gold glitter and caramel flavouring) and lavender bake (with lavender essence and poppy seeds).
Here are some ways to use it:
- Have fun! Children learn through play, so make it fun! Sometimes ‘just’ having fun is all you need. I’m always amazed what children come up with given something fun to play with and a simple question like, How could we use this to explore a Bible story?
- Introduce the Bible story or a complex concept in it. Eg to explain tax collecting, make coins from dough and show how someone might earn 10 coins for working in a field, but had to pay 2 coins to the Romans as tax. You could also say that some tax collectors, the people who collected the tax coins for the Romans, took extra coins!
- Tell the Bible story. Invite children to create characters objects and landscapes. Don’t be precious. Let the dough be messy. The children will engage more by doing it themselves rather than watching you.
- Retell the Bible story or better, encourage children to retell the story themselves. Allow it to be fun. Enjoy the ad-libbing – let them play with the story, inventing people who might have been in the crowd, and things people might have said. This is their way of exploring the theology in the story and how it relates to them. For example, my daughter often creates pictures of herself and her sister to go in stories about Jesus.
- Respond to the Bible story. Give children the freedom to respond in whatever way they choose. This is hard for adults, but children instinctively play and respond to stories. Use it as a chance to sit back and watch them, not asking questions about what they’re doing but observing what God is doing in their lives.
See also Prayer with dough