Yesterday I threw out all the play dough. All of it. All the colours that were too dry, all the colours that were too sticky, all the colours that had been mixed together, all the pots, all the random lids and all the rock hard bits that no-one had bothered to put back in any of the hundreds of little tubs we have in the play dough drawer. That pretty much left nothing.
The kids and I love play dough and it is such a great activity for them in so many ways – working those little hand and finger muscles, developing fine motor skills, sparking the imagination, providing sensory stimulation, roleplaying real life skills…and so on. However the store bought stuff only seems to last so long before it falls into one of the categories above. It also comes in such little tubs that you have no choice but to put a few of them out and then you get the dreaded colour mixing (something I have had to come to accept but would still rather not witness)! The last straw was coming down from a very rare lie in after my office Christmas party at the weekend to find that the kids had been having a play dough session with Daddy and there was dry crumbling, sticky, messy, ugly play dough everywhere!! I couldn’t face trying to salvage a few still usable bits from all the rubbish bits and the easiest way to clean up seemed to be to throw the whole lot away. So that’s what I did, promising myself that I would replace it all with new stuff that would be more fun to play with anyway.
I didn’t go to the shop and get more in the end, I decided to make some play dough at home instead and add my own little festive twist to it. I’ve made no-cook play dough at home a couple of times before and it is actually really easy, very economical and so much nicer to play with, so I had this huge batch whipped up in no time at all. My planned Christmas twist was to add sparkly glitter and a peppermint smell to green coloured play dough. The resulting play doh was a huge hit, providing multi-sensory stimulation through the soft texture to touch, the dancing glittery reflections to look at and the refreshing peppermint smell. It kept my little ones entertained for ages and I can see us getting a lot of use out of it over the Christmas period and beyond. I also want to try a few more combinations with a Christmassy feel, I am thinking red play doh with cinnamon and orange playdoh with cloves. Can you think of any other great Christmassy combinations for me to try out?
For anyone who wants to have a go themselves, I have set out the recipe and method below:
No-Cook Multi-Sensory Christmas Play Dough Recipe
2 Cups Plain (All Purpose) Flour
1 Cup Salt
2 Tablespoons Cream of Tartar
2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
1 1/2 Cups Just Boiled Water
Glycerin (Optional – for shine)
- In a large bowl add all the dry ingredients (flour, salt and cream of tartar) and the vegetable oil.
- Add desired amount of glitter and a few drops of the essential oils or other flavouring/scent (I only needed 3 drops of peppermint essential oils for once batch).
- Add the food colouring to the boiled water and then the coloured water to the dry ingredients.
- Mix the ingredients together until they come together as a dough.
- Turn dough out onto the counter and knead well for a few minutes.
And that’s all there is to it! Store the finished play dough in an air tight plastic bag or tupperware box and it will last for ages. It is so easy to make that kids could do it almost entirely themselves, other than the boiling water part which obviously an adult should do.
Set out to play with a protective table mat or sheet underneath (I use a spare shower curtain as a messy mat for such activities!) and some Christmas themed cookie cutters. Or pop some into a small tub, attach a Christmassy cookie cutter with a ribbon and give as little Christmas party favours, class gifts or use as a stocking filler.
Troubleshooting: I didn’t need any modification to the above recipe but if your play dough is too wet/sticky just add a little more flour until it reaches the right consistency. If it is too dry/crumbly just add a little more oil until it is right. The glycerin is optional to add some shine to the play dough. I didn’t happen to have any at home so didn’t use it and it was just fine without.
Have you ever made your own play-doh? Let me know what you think if you decide to make this and please feel free to share pictures on my Facebook page, I would love to see them!