We bought the children some new play dough at the weekend and I made a mistake. Instead of stashing it away, I left it out on display and Harry saw it. I'm very strict with our play dough, and I only open one pot at a time. If both children want to play with it and they have a different colour each, they sit at opposite ends of the table and there is no mixing. They are only allowed a second colour if all traces of the first are put away.
Then this week I had a sudden realisation. Play dough is not that expensive. You can make your own very cheaply. The colours are designed to be mixed. Harry spends ages watching YouTube videos where people play with play dough sets and make all sorts of colourful creations. By only allowing one colour at a time I am stifling little imaginations. Furthermore, play dough will not be a part of this household forever. In a few short years there will no longer be any play dough in the house and I'll probably even miss it.
So I let Harry open up four whole pots of play dough and mix up the colours. I made sure that he understood that once the colours were mixed they wouldn't go back to how they were, and he didn't mind at all. So I watched through my fingers as he smooshed the colours together, copying models from suggestions on the packaging and coming up with his own designs.
Harry had a wonderful time. The world didn't end. He happily packed it all away himself ready for next time, and he was so proud of the things that he had made. And I was quite proud of myself too. So no more to play dough OCD!
Where do you stand on mixing up the play dough?