One thing my kids love to do is help in the kitchen but as cooking under normal circumstances is not my forte I have to think of more creative ways to include them to minimize my stress! A great way of doing this is baking esp if it’s for their birthday party. I try to let them do some stirring or adding of ingredients – as they get older I will increase their participation but this is all I (and they) have patience for at present!
A variation of baking that is fairly easy to do is to make playdough! I make a batch every few months and as our last batch started looking a bit old and we have a 2nd birthday coming up I thought I should make a new batch that could be used as entertainment at the party and then in our home for indoor, winter play.
I roped in my 5 year old – or should I say he roped me in – as soon as I casually mentioned I needed to make a batch he grabbed hold of the idea and would not let it go until it was done…..
Here is my recipe and process for making playdough – with pics! I prefer to “cook” the playdough as it lasts longer. Obviously you can choose any colour – we went with purple to match the party theme of Barney.
Recipe for Playdough
2 cups plain flour
1 cup salt
4 tablespoons cream of tartar (find it in little sachets in the baking aisle)
2 cups water
2 tablespoons oil
I also use a few drops of lavender essential oil to add a calming scent to the playdough and it worked nicely with the purple colour we choose! You can also add glitter to make it sparkle…
Gather ingredients and mix dry ingredients
Add Water and Oil
Mix to make dough
Place in a saucepan on a low heat
Add one or 3 drops of food colouring
Stir until the dough pulls away from the edge of the pan. (It can get quite hard for little hands to stir at this point. I prefer to over cook slightly to avoid the playdough from being too sticky!)
Wait to cool then knead to spread colour
Store in an air tight container. It will harden if left out in air but that way you can save your child’s creations!
Tips for playing with Playdough
Playing with dough helps children to release energy and relieve tension.
Squeezing, pulling, pinching, punching, rolling etc helps to develop and strengthen little hands and fingers and is great for fine motor skills. Encourage your kids to use both hands to pull apart and join etc.
Use a variety of plastic cookie cutters, rollers, knives and forks even toothpicks to add interest and make patterns.
Decorate your creations with buttons, beads, pipe cleaners and any other items around the house.
To make it easier for you I have put all this (minus the pics) into a document that you can download for free here: Free Playdough Printable
For more interesting articles and info on playdough visit Nurturestore website. They also feature a recipe for “uncooked” playdough.
images: Kathryn Rossiter