I hate store bought play-dough. It's expensive and rarely lasts for more than a few play sittings. Here's a great recipe for play-dough passed down to me by Katie Browning, the first pre-school teacher I had the privilege of working with.
Time needed: 20 minutes
Appropriate for ages: 3 and up
WHAT YOU'LL NEED:
- 1 cup flour
- 1 cup salt
- 1 cup water
- 1 T cream of tartar
- 1 T oil
- Food coloring (any color)
- Mixing spoon
- Mixing bowl
WHAT TO DO:
- Combine the flour, salt and cream of tartar in the pot.
- In a mixing bowl combine the water and the oil.
- Choose a color for the play-dough .
- Add a few drops of the right color food coloring to the liquid mixture. (Make sure your child watches what happens as you add the food coloring.)
- Add the liquid to the pot with the dry ingredients and place it on the stovetop.
Mix it over a medium fire until the mixture feels like play-dough.
WARNING: Never leave a child unsupervised near an open flame. You can let your child watch and participate, but only with your assistance.
- Allow the mixture to cool. (Let your child feel the play-dough while its hot, but first check to make sure it's not too hot.)
- As soon as the play-dough is cool enough to be comfortable for your child's hands, give her some and enjoy watching her work.
A plastic knife and cup can make great play-dough utensils. If you don't have any of the store bought play-dough accessories (which are not necessary) try letting your child cut out shapes with a plastic knife and a paper or plastic cup.
Roll out the play-dough in the shape of a snake.
See how many shapes, letters or numbers your child can make by combining different snakes.
Let your child see what happens to the play-dough when she pricks it with a fork.
Make sure to give your child plenty of free time to make the shapes she prefers. Often the imaginative ideas that children come up with while playing are far more creative than adult ideas.