I knew I shouldn't do it, but I did it anyway...
I bought GENERIC playdough.
It was sticky. It was weird. It was not fun.
However, I had just bought this kids baking set from IKEA:
It is AWESOME! Real materials, heavy, could actually be used in a real kitchen. Totally Montessori.
So, I splurged on the REAL PLAYDOUGH.
Suddenly, Hazel is spending HUGE CHUNKS OF TIME baking, making cookies and cakes and becoming an expert roller. Such a great creative activity, building fine motor skills, role playing, and simply playing independently. Though I am always convinced that each age the girls are at is my FAVORITE age, I'm loving observing my brilliant, creative girl play by herself... and Heidi and I love being food critics and "sampling" countless gingerbread men! (ok, sometimes it ends up in 1.5yo Heidi's mouth, but mostly she mimics my reaction and fake chews... she loves it when I declare the cookie "YUCKY"!)