There are many things in Asher's life that have not come easily to him. He could not sit up, crawl, stand or walk without intensive physiotherapy. When he began to read, he saw all of the letters and numbers very differently, and had to learn how to make them face the right way and stay put in two dimensions. But he has always been cheerful and hardworking, has never complained about his exercises or reading work. When he was a baby and I was being taught how to help him learn to stand and walk, the therapists told me he would be fine because of his joyful attitude. So this summer, when we were asked to work on his fine motor skills, he happily informed me that this meant handwork. He came up with a list of things for himself to try: play dough, beeswax, colouring, clay, finger knitting... Sometimes I look at him, and wonder at his patience and perseverance. Things that I do not think about, that his sisters and friends and classmates are all unaware of, he has to concentrate hard on. Sitting up in a chair is hard. Holding a pencil is hard. Writing with a pencil is really hard. But he does, and he doesn't complain or get discouraged. I am really proud of this little guy.
Anyway, one of the best things for strengthening hand muscles is playing with play dough. Asher can now do most of the making on his own, but I stay on hand as we make the cooked kind. Here is how you can make your own. Skate board helmet is optional.
1.5 C flour
.5 C cornstarch (this gives it a much finer texture)
1 C salt
2 Tbs cream of tartar (this also improves the texture)
2 Tbs oil
2 C water
Food colouring (we used gel from the baking aisle this time around)
Essential oil/ imitation vanilla (for scent, if you'd like)
5. When it is cool enough to handle, knead it well.
This keeps a really long time if stored in an air-tight container. It feels much nicer than store-bought dough as well.