We can learn (and teach our families) some important lessons by making homemade playdough. It provides for quality family time AND quality family discussions! (I used this recipe from I Heart Naptime.)
1. It takes effort. When you start mixing all the ingredients together, there comes a point when it takes some good elbow grease to keep mixing everything at the end. All important tasks take hard work.
2. Once you’ve finished working the ingredients together, you can mold them and create with them. Isn’t that true with all of our growth and effort ? While it may require work and determination to get through it at the beginning, we can then use the characteristics, lessons, and efforts we have achieved to mold other events in our lives. We take the beauty of what we’ve learned to create new masterpieces—over and over again.
3. When properly taken care of, playdough can last much longer than we expect. I would have thought homemade playdough would last for only a week or so, but the recipes I found online said it can last for months when stored properly. When we let ourselves learn from our growth, it can change us not just for a week or a few months but permanently.
4. Think about what color does for you. For me, color brings happiness, joy, hope, creativity, beauty, and more. Just as food coloring brings beauty to cream paste by adding color, we have power to add color to our trials and efforts—and to let that color be the defining point of the effort that stays with us after the work is put in place. When I look at this playdough, it’s the color (not the cream paste that it was) that stands out and defines how I’ll use it.
5. Once we’ve created that color through our experiences, we can use it to spread joy to others. The things we create can help others feel the same happiness, joy, hope, creativity, and beauty. I know I feel those emotions when I look at beautiful masterpieces made by others—in literal works of art and in daily acts of kindness that add a color all their own to life.
6. When making playdough, it’s much easier to add the color right up front as you mix the ingredients together. Because I wanted to divide the recipe into several playdough balls, I added the color afterward instead; doing so required much more effort to knead in the color that way, but it was still possible. The same can be true of the work that helps us grow; when we add in the color right up front, it’s easier to enjoy the beauty and learn from our tough experiences throughout the process. But we can also add color to those experiences afterward as well, and its beauty can still shine forth. It reminds me of the power of Jesus Christ, the Creator of all beauty (literal and figurative); whether we turn to Him in the midst of growing experiences that require effort (which is really every day) or we turn to Him to make sense of those experiences afterward, He can take any situation and make it beautiful. He can make “all things . . . work together for [our] good” when we turn to Him (Doctrine and Covenants 90:24).
So try making some playdough with your family today. Use it as an opportunity not only for bonding in #qualityfamilytime but also to ask questions like these:
• What experiences have we had where putting in effort has helped us have skills to mold us and our experiences in the future?
• How can we invite Jesus Christ to add joy and beauty to all of our experiences—those we’re going through now and those we’ve had in the past?
• How can we help create beauty (literal and figurative) for others to enjoy in their lives?
If you want a reminder of these lessons, I’ve made this image as a FREE printable. Click the images below for a rectangle or square version.
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