So far this winter has been unseasonably warm in New York City. I can’t even believe it’s January! I must admit, I’m stoked about the warm weather, even if it is a little weird. I was a little concerned about how I was going to keep my two boys (ages 3 and 11 months) busy during these normally frigid winter months. I wasn’t looking forward to being trapped inside but, so far, so good and we’ve gotten to enjoy playing outside way more than we thought for this time of year. Of course, now that I’ve said this, we will have a blizzard and I will be eating my words. Honestly, though, regardless of the season or the weather pattern, every parent knows that they always need a few tricks up their sleeve to keep the kids busy. Am I right?
Something we really enjoy doing is making playdough. I know some of you think I’m insane for making something you can easily by pre-made at the store. It’s true, pre-made Play-doh is a life saver (especially at restaurants), and we certainly have some of those yellow cans floating around our house. Still, making it from scratch is super easy and super fun and I bet you already have all of the ingredients in you pantry. All you really need is flour, salt, water, oil and a little food coloring if you want to get fancy. The kids really get a kick out watching the raw ingredients turn into something fun to play with right before their eyes. They love customizing the colors and playing around with fancy mix-ins such as glitter and sprinkles (see ideas below). Most importantly, making it myself allows me to control the ingredients so I can ensure it’s truly non-toxic—super important when you have an 11 month old who wants to play with his big brother and loves putting stuff in his mouth!!
Homemade playdough is fun for all ages and takes less than 10 minutes to make. Give it a try the next time you are looking for something fun and creative to do.
1 cup salt
2 c warm water
2 cups flour
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
*optional-food coloring, sprinkles or glitter to add pizzaz!
Dump the first four ingredients into a large pot and stir.
Continue to stir over medium heat until dough begins to pull away from the sides of the pot and stick together in one large clump, about 5-6 minutes.
Allow to cool slightly before turning dough out onto a floured surface. knead the dough with your hands until it becomes smooth, soft and pliable.
Cut it into six or so, even pieces and make each one a different color by adding food coloring. You can keep the dough natural in color or add some food coloring to each ball.
Use a plastic baggie over your hand to keep your hands clean while you are kneading the color into each ball of dough.
TRICK OUT YOUR PLAYDOUGH TIPS:
1. Knead in some glitter to make sparkley playdough.
2. Don’t have glitter? Work some ice cream sprinkles into the dough. You will notice that the color melts off the sprinkles and gives the dough a swirly/funfetti look and it keeps it edible unlike the glitter. It will look funky and tacky and your kids will think it’s GREAT!
3. Work in a few drops of food extracts such as lemon, orange, licorice, vanilla or almond to make scented dough. Match the scent to the color and play a guessing game of guess the scent. It’s so much fun to have your kids guess what their smelling!
Note: I do not recommend anyone eat or allow their kids to eat this dough. As with all craft projects, always supervise your kids wile they play. Just because it can be eaten without harm to you or your children, doesn’t mean it should be eaten. It still tastes kinda salty/nasty. Ya dig?