Summer is great, but entertaining my daughters 24-7 can be hard. At 11 and 7, they’re more independent than ever, but they still need & welcome suggestions when they’re bored. That’s why I’m always on the lookout for creative ideas to keep them happy.
With lots of kid-friendly recipes, activities and crafts, lovely full-color photos, even “safety notes” and supply lists, it’s a terrific resource for parents & their children. We’ve been home less than a week and my older daughter’s already thumbed through it a few times, eager to try this and that. Yesterday we inaugurated the book with an easy, homemade craft: PLAY-DO!
I’ve made several varieties of homemade play dough over the years, some good, some less so. This recipe is a cooked version, requiring only 3-5 minutes of actual stove time. I helped my daughter measure the ingredients and she did the stove top stirring, so YES, it can be made by a child, though adult supervision (at least for the assembly) is recommended. The resulting dough is soft and pliable, cleans up easily and can be stored for up to 6 weeks in the fridge. Cream of tartar (found in most kitchens) is the most exotic ingredient, so you likely have everything you’ll need to make this already.
HOMEMADE PLAY DOUGH
Recipe yields about 1 1/2 cups play dough.
1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 cup water
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
5-6 drops food coloring, in desired colors
Measure the flour, salt and cream of tartar into a 2-quart saucepan and stir to combine. Add the water and vegetable oil and mix well. Place the saucepan over medium-low heat and stir constantly until the mixture thickens and begins to form a ball, roughly 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat.
Turn the clay out onto a clean surface and let it sit for a few minutes until cool enough to handle. Once cool, knead the clay until smooth. It will initially be a little gloppy, but keep working it and soon it will change from sticky to smooth. Once the dough is smooth, divide into portions and add 5 or 6 drops of desired color to each. Work the dough until the color is uniformly distributed, adding additional drops of color as necessary.
Once the dough is colored and smooth, it’s time to play! It’s fun to shape and mold as is but “tools” make it even better. Some suggestions: assorted silverware, cookie cutters, a rolling pin, etc. After playtime, place the dough in a zip-top plastic bag, mark the date on the outside using a permanent marker and store in the refrigerator for up to 6 weeks.
Any other suggestions? Feel free to share by commenting below. HAVE FUN!