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No Mixing = No Fun

Yesterday my four-year-old asked to play with play-doh.  We’ve had play-doh in the house for about two years and have played with it about five times.  Mainly because I find it the most stressful activity in the world.  Actually, I’m sure things like finger painting, or even regular painting with paint brushes are more stressful.  But I’ve convinced my children that those crafts are only allowed at preschool.  I wish I had included play-doh in that group. But I didn’t. And last Christmas, we got the mega pack of play-doh and accessories.

My problem with play-doh is mixing colors.  Am I right that once you mix play-doh, there is no going back? I didn’t miss out on some color separating play-doh tool did I? One of the packs we got had pictures about how to make hamburgers and pizzas out of play-doh.  Of course these all required 4-5 different colors.  Really?  Do people really do this with play-doh? No wonder my kids think play-doh is boring.  I don’t even let a new color be opened until the color that is out is all cleaned up and put away. This is how play-doh is done in our house.

Except yesterday.  Yesterday, Jackson made a bold decision.  I was busy in the other room and Jackson saw his chance to take play-doh to the next level.  He mixed two colors. He didn’t even hesitate.  He just did it.  And I think he liked it. Because when I walked into the room, instead of hiding his creation, he asked me to open another color. In case you’ve lost count, this is now three play-doh colors that will be forever destroyed. I told him that I really didn’t like the colors to be mixed.  His reply? He looked up at me with his sweet little face and held up his creation and said: “But Mom, I’m making the earth and I need blue for the water.”

My heart sank. I was crushing his creative drive.  A future world-famous sculptor could be standing in front of me and here I am telling him that he has to make his earth with one color. That’s a ball. Not the earth. It’s a ball. How much fun can you have not mixing colors in play-doh?

So I did something bold.  I gave him the blue.  I assisted him in mixing the colors.  Can I just say, we made the best play-doh earth. If we keep this up, we are going to need to buy a new mega pack this Christmas.  Personally, I think it will be worth it.

Am I alone here? Anyone else have the “no mixing” rule? Did you feel as liberated as I did when you let your kids mix the colors?


kelly c

susan, you are not alone. that was the rule for years here – 1 color at a time. then i relented and we had all brown. it was so gross. so, i tossed it all and opened up new colors. they are mixed yet again, but not yet brown. not sure how it happened but i found a drawer in the art room stocked full of new containers. hooray!
ps – i have the theory that play-doh knows kids will want to mix and it will turn brown and parents will buy more. but that is just me.


I’m so glad I went back and read this — I was feeling guilty (really!) about the play doh pack we handed down — there were some mixed colors. gasp. I’m so glad we dovetailed on this. phew.