Personal Posts

Banning Play Doh? My Hubby & The Play Doh “Deposit”

Play dough is banned

Let’s face it. Kids are messy (some more than others), no matter what they do. Play dough is one of those things that can be extra messy. As much as I like things neat & clean, certain things are worth cleaning up the mess. Your baby learning to feed him/herself, your kiddos “helping” cook/bake, art projects, play dough…

Maybe a year and a half ago, we (me, DH, DD-around 6 at the time, and DS-2ish) were in a long line at the toy store, buying my son a play dough set like his sister’s. A man in line with 3 kids behind us said “I hope that’s not for you,” motioning to the play dough. He then proceeded to tell me how he has 6 kids and the older 3 played with play dough, but the younger 3 never had, since he had banned it (like, for real, not just joking that he should.) I don’t think he was trying to be a jerk, but by the time we got out of that line, he was working my last nerve, essentially telling me I knew nothing about anything since I had 2 children to his 6 and my oldest was 8, while he had teens. It was totally unsolicited & I quickly realized I needed to just smile, nod & say as little as possible.

Anyhoo, I think about him every time my kids play with play dough! Yes, it’s a mess. Between the dropped pieces, cleaning out “tools” and putting everything away, it takes a while, and sometimes I’m just not in the mood. When my daughter asked to play with play dough and I said no, she swore she’d clean it up herself.

Well my husband turned this into a great teaching moment. He explained the concept of a fully refundable deposit to her, and said he’d take her deposit and set it aside. If she cleaned up like she promised, she’d get it back. If he or I had to clean it up, we’d keep the deposit.

I realize some might think this is inappropriate for an 8-year old (mine isn’t typical & we have to get creative), but I thought it was ingenious, and it worked! 🙂


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Maria Moser
Maria is the mother of 3, writing about cloth diapers & going green. You'll often find her juggling her preschooler and typing 1-handed in between sips of cold coffee. Maria works with many companies within the cloth diaper industry and beyond, providing social media management, product development and other services.
11 Comments
  • One Southern Girl
    February 28, 2013 at 10:14 pm
    Reply

    That is a great idea and something my mom would totally do! Now, just to get my brother (8 going on 2ish… he has Down syndrome) to get the idea of consequences too! 🙂

  • Caitlin
    February 27, 2013 at 10:05 pm
    Reply

    I think a deposit is a wonderful idea! What a smart husband! I love play-doh and want my daughter to be able to play with it whenever she wants! It’s a great learning tool!

  • Julie
    February 27, 2013 at 6:40 pm
    Reply

    My mom never let me or my sister have play doh. We had to play with it at our cousins’ house if we wanted to use it. I think the deposit idea is an excellent one. My second child (14) does not remember to clean up after herself either and she also loves crafty stuff. I remind her every time and she says she’ll remember every time but she rarely does. I just might use it too.

  • Katie S
    February 27, 2013 at 5:35 pm
    Reply

    That’s a great idea! It teaches her to be responsible or there is a negative consequence!

  • Sharona Kahen
    February 27, 2013 at 4:45 pm
    Reply

    I love the idea. Why not. Even younger kids clean up at school, they just refuse to do it at home. This way they learn to give their word and the consequence of not keeping their word. I make my kids pay their own library fines at schhol. I remind them that they need to return their books if they don’t, they pay.

  • February 27, 2013 at 2:13 pm
    Reply

    I think he’s on to something. We have a daughter that is always begging to do creative things that also happen to be very messy things – Play Doh, cutting up paper, glueing, taping, painting, etc. etc. Nine times out of ten she leaves her mess, or at least most of it.

    I’ve been trying to think of creative ways to hold her accountable!

  • beth c
    February 27, 2013 at 1:24 pm
    Reply

    ha, ha! not the kind of ‘deposit’ i was thinking this would be about! 😀 i love this idea! i’ll have to keep this in mind for a little later in life! 🙂

  • carla g
    February 27, 2013 at 12:30 pm
    Reply

    As I read this, I realized my almost 2 year old hasn’t played with play doh just yet. I banned play doh from my oldest 2 after they, nce again, left it out and it all dried up. I don’t mind the mess all that much. It’s pretty easy to clean up. My kids have a play doh table box thing that has a work surface (too small for 2 or more kids) and it stores the supplies. it’s been a few months. I’ve bought more play doh, but it’s hidden. I think I am going to let my almost 2 year old give it a go in a few minutes 🙂

    I may have to use that deposit idea, too!

  • Betty
    February 27, 2013 at 12:11 pm
    Reply

    I love that idea! I have to be super creative with my 8 year old as well…I wonder if that would work for us as well. I understand about the play doh. I cringe every time they want to play with it…but they love it so much. I’ve learned to loosen up a bit and it’s not really all that bad since they have so much fun. It’s half an hour that no one is whining or yelling for me. Totally worth the mess!

    • February 27, 2013 at 12:17 pm
      Reply

      LOL! “It’s half an hour that no one is whining or yelling for me.” Yep. 😉

  • Karen
    February 27, 2013 at 11:10 am
    Reply

    I LOVE the idea of a refundable deposit. I’m stealing you idea 🙂 My kids are 8, 6, and almost 4 with a little on the way any day. My older 2 would understand the concept and it would make it so that some things are not a battle. Great idea and thanks for sharing.

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