Radical Self Acceptance vs Perfectionism

Radical Self Acceptance vs Perfectionism

Rainy Day Play Dough

Inspired by Where Learning Meets Play's Instagram Play Dough recipe.

Let’s start this off with a full disclosure… I HATE messy and sensory play, it makes me gag and cringe and I find myself on the edge of tears at the slightest hint of gross or anything going out of order. *scroll down for more on this. But here I am, with a 3 ¼ year old and we’ve made out first ever batch of play dough! - Small wins!

Parenting in Flow

The Luteal phase of my cycle is about heading into Autumn, slowing down and hibernating. When we woke up this morning the sky was overcast and it’s been drizzly all day. As I move into living and parenting in flow I am learning that we can resist everything that is, and that will breed more resistance and fighting, OR we can choose to submit to the flow and enjoy the journey!

So, today I ‘wrote off’ our morning routine; we usually head to my shop for a few hours where I sew all the gorgeous creations you see here And this morning I made a plan to flow with the play dough. Last night I found a recipe on IG by Where Learning Meets Play. I’ve seen dozens of them before but this time the timing was just right.

Games ALL the way!

We started out by turning the shopping into an adventure and a treasure hunt and got the ingredients and tried to find tools to no avail. Living rural can be like that sometimes.

Little one LOVES to bake and make and create so she really enjoyed the process of play dough creation. I had also seen Where Learning Meets Play did a ‘mystery dough video’ and decided to go all in!

Adding in maths, science and other supported learning

Little one is into counting and addition at the moment so while we’re cooking we add that in. I’ve been using the ½ cup scoop and together we’re discussing and learning about fractions and addition. Today that looked like: "You have the ½ cup scoop. To make 1 cup, we need two scoops. For this recipe we need 2 cups, so how many scoops do we need?”

We are also using our fingers to count and do addition. This is a great way to embody maths and loads of fun! This recipe was great as we also got to discuss steam! And of course the whole process of adding liquid to dry ingredients and then it creating a completely different texture at the end is one of the best things about science.

The setup and pack-down

Little one is on her learning tower, this means that she can stand next to me, at an equal height and be fully involved in the process.

I read the recipe out loud and she collects the ingredients and tools and puts them on the bench and then we follow the recipe together. I try to allow her to be as hands on as possible. She is the best egg cracker in the house by far.

She has a table in her art space where we set up our messy activities, this supports my need for order and cleanliness in the house and creates dialogue for us around boundaries.

The main boundaries here are:
1: “today we are doing play dough on your art table”
2: the art table needs to be clear and clean before we start so we have lots of space. While waiting for the play dough to cool, I asked her if she was willing to clear and wipe the table.
3: the art table, tools and play dough get packed away after so we have space for other art activities. Today that looked like “the lid needs to go on the play dough so that it stays fresh for next time.”

Because we use non-violent communication and conscious conversations, supporting the will, I avoid phrases like “you need to” and “can you please?” We discuss this a lot more in the 5 week course coming up in August (Stay tuned for more information)


A part of supporting longer play includes following what our child wills to do, an easy way to build games and activities around them is to observe the schemas they explore in independent play.

At the moment little one is into POSITIONING (also early maths), this week it looks like; the animals in the shower all lined up and matched with their “mummies,” taking the cushions off the sofa and lining them up across the floor and today…

She’s also into ENVELOPING, so the mystery dough with glitter** and colour was a hit! She is also getting a great deal of joy out of putting the play dough into the container and sieve, we have also seen a resurgence of independent dressing so I have finally nailed the self-dressing kids leggings!

TRANSFORMING has been fun to explore today, with the steam, the play dough creation, the colouring and mixing and creating colours, she’s a big fan of making “sausages” with the play dough and made butterflies, people and rain too.

Conscious Parenting Gateway

As conscious parents, we know that we can use every experience within a day, and each interaction with our children to:

1: move towards becoming the kind of parent we want to be.
2: heal our own trauma and childhood by
- being the kind of parent that we needed
- being the kind of kid that we wanted to be

Sometimes it can be the smallest things. Today I chose to be aware of how many times I said or felt to say: “don’t,” “no,” “stop,” or encourage my little one to do something other than what she was drawn to, which was mostly around “mix(ing) all of the colours together to make brown.” You can see from the canvas that this is a common theme in our home.

I noticed that I felt we had to do the game in MY order, to mix all of the colours and then to take only a bit of each and make brown with a small amount. I stepped away, because I knew I was interrupting her play, and this was just my ideas and my thoughts around it, it does not make the game ‘perfect.’ In fact, it was the start of her expressing her frustration with me and also losing interest in the activity.

She did eventually walk away and come back later “to do more play dough.” Second time round I sat with her and allowed her to lead the journey.

Generally when it comes to activities I manage to not guide her, and so I felt drawn to exploring why this came up for me today, I have noticed that this comes up with EVERY SINGLE sensory experience we have: painting, cooking, gardening etc. I also already know that these things make me feel uncomfortable, so I know that there is lots for me to explore around this.

Exploring the sensory aspect, the play dough smells gross so I am going to add some essential oils in as well, I went with Lavender.


Please feel welcome to get in touch and share your experiences around exploring your journey when perfectionism comes up!

See you again soon.

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*the glitter we have used is 15-20+ years old, it's been sitting in a box as I haven't known what to do with it. As we don't have access to composting the dough will end up in the bin. I am looking for more ideas on how we can use up AND contain the glitter.

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