This activity series is for those days when you feel like utter rubbish but the bambinos still need entertaining and you have limited amount of energy but just enough to at least try to avoid binge watching Peppa Pig all day.
First up is playdough. Elsie absolutely loves this and would rather play with playdough than go to the best park in the universe that serves all you can eat ice cream with sprinkles. Please note, this isn’t my recipe. I found this on HomeSchool Creations but will be adding a few insights of my own.
There is a fair amount of cream of tartar in this recipe. If you are making this as a one off then you will need a box of sachets from the supermarket. 6 sachets is 2 tablespoons. If you will be making this more often, I’ll include a link in the ingredients to a big bag that cuts the costs down. This is an affiliate link so if you do purchase I will get a few pennies from the sale at no cost to yourself. If you choose not to add the cream of tartar you will have a crumbly dough that will work but not have the elasticity of playdough and may involve wailing on small people’s parts due to it not fitting through the playdough ‘chine and making noodles. From experience, it’s not worth the tears, use the cream of tartar.
This is a good article if you are interested in the sciencey bits behind playdough.
I will also include a link to purchase KoolAid. This is an American drinks thing (I’ve drunk it, it’s not great and I certainly wouldn’t give it to kids) that comes in a sachet. Whilst not really fit for human consumption it does give a great colour and smell to the dough and you can use it to dye yarn! Bonus! It can be a bit pricey so we save this for special. If you don’t want to use KoolAid then normal food colouring will work as well. Or you could leave it plain.
If you are planning on making this regularly (it does keep but you might not always want to use it again) then chuck a bag of value flour, a cheap bottle of vegetable oil and a bag of value salt into your trolley next time you go shopping. It doesn’t need to be posh stuff.
Right, enough waffle.
You will need:
Medium to large mixing bowl
What to do:
Place the flour, salt, cream of tartar, KoolAid and water into a saucepan and mix until combined. If you are using food colouring and want it all one colour, add this to the water first before putting in the saucepan. If you want multiple colours from one batch, leave the food colouring out at this stage.
Place the saucepan onto a medium heat and stir whilst adding the oil. It will take a little bit of stirring to combine it all. Keep stirring the mixture until it starts to form a dough. You want to take it off the heat before it gets too hard to mix but not too early that it’s still sloppy. It should be about the consistency of firm mashed potato.
Leave it to cool a bit. Remember this step. Mummy is no fun with burnt fingers, especially if she’s already feeling grotty.
Scoop the mixture out of the pan with the spoon and place it in the mixing bowl. I find it helps to add some hot water to the saucepan at this point to let it soak a bit, it’s then really easy to clean.
When the dough is cool enough to stick a hand into without swearing you can start to knead it. I do this in a bowl first as it can be a bit sticky to begin with. About 3-4 minutes of kneading later and you have a dough for your cherubs to play with leaving you some time to sit on the sofa and feel grotty.
If you are doing multiple colours, split the dough into even pieces and squish into flat disks. Place some food colouring into the centre of the disk and then fold the dough around it. Keep kneading and folding until the dough is fully coloured. You will end up with coloured hands for a few hours, just pretend you’ve been wrangling unicorns.
You can add all sorts of things to playdough, glitter is a favourite here. You can add a few drops of essential oil or a little bit of vanilla essence. This is not an edible mixture, especially if you are adding essential oils so only use with little ones who have got past the “everything must go in my face” stage. I’ll be adding a taste safe recipe soon.
The dough should keep for a few months in an air tight container. Ours lasts about a week depending on what it gets used for, what she’s stuffed in it and whether I can face picking all the bits out of it.
What have you added to yours? Do your kids have a favourite tool to use? Let me know in the comments or on one of my social media jobbers.