To transform a flat circle into a filled triangle requires skill and patience, and the last thing I want is for my bakers to have a perfectionist freak-out. So, I like to program a bit of Hamantaschen-folding Practice at Purim classes and parties, even with kids who think they are too old for PlayDo. No one is too old for PlayDo, not ever.
With little bitties, we practice on a train table, which is the perfect height and width, and allows for PlayDo action on 4 sides, simultaneously. Older kids are more comfortable regressing in the relative privacy of a desk or normal table.
I make or collect lots of PlayDoh, some mini rolling pins (or short lengths of 1.5 inch PVC pipe) to flatten it, and some circle cookie cutters. With a crowd, I use the threaded rings of Ball canning lids as cookie cutters: they are cheap, plentiful, will never cut a child, and because they are rings (no middles), children can push out the dough circles from above.
A handy practice “filling” is a plastic checker: red (cherry / strawberry) or black (mohn, or poppyseed). A firm, plastic filling makes it much easier to fold and build the triangle. A squidgy clay filling can frustrate kids intent on multiple do-overs. The whole point is to have fun do-overs for a nice, long, calm stretch of time. Later, with our practiced skills, we can make the really-real Hamantaschen in the kitchen. (Practice, in this case, does not mean perfect. Perfect is rarely a helpful modifier, don’t you think?)
Download the hastily-made 8.5 x 11 sign (above) to print and use at a party, program or class, if you wish. Here’s the pdf file: MakeaTriangle. I usually put two copies back to back in a lucite holder in the middle of the PlayDo table.
By the way, Hamantaschen Folding Practice makes a great Station at Purim Carnival. I add the simple, plastic Purim cookie cutters made by Rite Lite. (Here’s a link to the product page at OyToys.)
Oh, and here’s my set-up at Sunday School this year: