Real Stuff: The Dough Edition

There is something about real dough, especially bread dough. When I bake a loaf of bread I feel I have accomplished something . The act of kneading the dough is my favorite part, its like meditating.  I loose myself in the process of making bread.

Last week the children baked pizza from scratch for their father’s. We practiced making dough a couple weeks ago. I showed them how to knead bread by pulling one side over with their fingers and pressing it down with the palm of their hand. The children really enjoyed this process. So much so that when we made the dough for our father’s day party I had children who kneaded the dough for a long time. I watched as they poked the dough and watched it spring back with delight. This is the thing about real dough it reacts. It springs, it rises, it gets hard and crusty on the outside and soft and bubbly on the inside.

I made play dough this week thinking the children would enjoy kneading it, poking it, etc…. but here is the thing about play dough it doesn’t react. It does not spring back, rise, get bubbly etc…. I did not colour this batch, I don’t usually.The children got excited when they saw the dough initially but without the reaction it seemed to loose its appeal.  So now I find myself wondering why do we always have play dough? Just like real tools, maybe children appreciate the realness of a dough that reacts.


About Danielle

Danielle is an Early Childhood Educator,blogger, self admitted ECE geek, Preschool teacher, Mother and project coordinator for The Images of Learning Project. These days she juggles presenting, conference calls and blogging with playing with her daughter and nursing her son. She looks forward to the day where she can once again finish her morning coffee.

3 thoughts on “Real Stuff: The Dough Edition

  1. Upon my first quick glance I thought the first photo was of a child kneading playdough. We made white playdough today and it was the first time in about 6 months. (They liked kneading it but then again, unlike your group, they have not had a real bread dough making experience with me.) The children have been experiencing clay instead over these past months and I wondered what would happen if playdough was offered today. It definitely was acted upon differently to the clay. I can totally get how the children you made bread with would love the action/reaction in movement with the real stuff (bread dough) compared to the playdough. You said the children lost interest kneading the playdough sooner than when working the bread dough. And in my setting, so did the children lose interest sooner with the playdough today than they did with the clay. Real stuff and natural materials!! The way you described the bread dough’s movement made it sound alive (live yeast?)…and thus it was able to react to the children’s live movements keeping them engaged in a back and forth encounter? Thanks for this!!!! I’ve been doing a LOT of reading/thinking about materials having agency…what’s better than (A)LIVE bread dough?? Beautiful idea…how were the pizzas?

  2. Many years ago. I used to make 9 loafs a week for my family.It is great exercise to knead the dough.It feels good to slap your hand into the dough. Even for me as an adult, I love the feeling of making breaddough.
    But play doug has a different value.I am in the process of gathering my playdough observations from over the years to illustrate the amazing stories that can be told over play dough. All material has value. It is all discovery.

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