Thursday, August 4, 2011

Make some Dough! - Play Dough that is.....

Home made play dough is easy to make, easy to store and fun to use.  When I was a teacher at the YMCA, I had a class of 2-1/2 year olds.  As most teachers know, you usually have to spend your own money for supplies for your classroom.  I would make this play dough for them.  Working and rolling this dough is very relaxing for children.  This was one of their favorite things to play with and keeps them busy for at least an hour!

This dough is safe if some finds its way into the sculptor's mouth.  I've had to remove it from a few kids ears!  The dough contains alot of salt, so if they do want to try a piece, I don't think they will come back for more.

You can roll it out into slabs with a rolling pin or pat it flat with your hands so you can use it for building material or for cutting out shapes with cookie cutters or plastic knives.  You can make animals, people, "hot dogs", snakes - just let the kids use their imagination!  It's a big part of their development!

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup salt
  • 1 Tbsp. alum or cream of tartar (optional, but helps preserve the play dough)
  • 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 cups boiling water
Food coloring (optional)            

Mix the flour, salt and alum or cream of tartar together.  Add the oil, water and coloring if you plant to make just one color.

Knead for 6 to 8 minutes.  If you want more colors, divide the dough after kneading for 3 or 4 minutes, add a different color to each piece and finish kneading each separately.  (This is a good job for the kids.)
Refrigerate until ready to play again!

If you would like to make a dough that can be "fired" like clay to make permanent sculptures,

3/4 cup boiling water
1/2 cup salt
2 cup all-purpose flour
Food coloring (optional)

Pour the boiling water into a medium-sized mixing bowl.  Add and dissolve the salt.  If you want the dough to be all one color, add color to the water.  Stir to cool a bit and then add the flour all at once.  Mix and shape into a ball.  Knead for 6 to 8 minutes.   To make more than one color divide as in above recipe.

Preheat your oven to 225 degrees F.  Lay the shapes on foil-covered baking sheets and bake for 30 to 90 minutes depending on thickness.  Cool completely before painting.

If you plan to hang the dough creations, before you bake them make a hole in the top of the piece or shape the dough so that a string can be tied around it.
 You can paint these with acrylics, poster paint for water color.
Use felt tip markers for detailing.
After painting bake once more in a warm oven 200F for 30 minutes.
Have some fun with your kids!
 My mom made this for me when I was growing up - so you are going to make some memories for your kids and have lots of fun doing so!  This is a great summer afternoon project.  Sit down with your kids at the table and just take some time to play!
Parents:  I have a full year's curriculum of ideas and crafts for Toddlers that I am no longer using. If you are interested in a monthly newsletter, please contact me.  I'd be happy to send them to you!

1 comment:

  1. I'd lost the recipe for this, so thanks so much for posting. My great-niece is coming to visit and I'm sure this would be a great activity for her.


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