Monday, November 21, 2011

Play Dough Recipe & Gift Idea

I found a website tonight quite by chance.  It is Sensory Processing Disorder.  I was doing a web search for a homemade Play Dough recipe and stumbled upon the website.  After glancing through as much as my phone would allow, I thought I would pass the link along.  What I noticed is that they have a lot of information about Autism and other types of sensory disorders.  If you have need of this type of information and resources, then that is a site that may be of interest.

As I mentioned, I was searching for a play dough recipe.  I used to have a really good one, but it was misplaced.  Our son is getting more involved and wanting to mimic what our daughter and grandson are doing.  With this in mind, I decided to make play dough again.  In the past, our son was not interested in anything that felt sticky or strange on his fingers.  Commercially made play doughs have a slight stickiness to them that caused him to not want to touch it.  In making homemade versions, I am able to control the dough consistency to match what he will tolerate.  I have been finding that if I knead in a bit of Cream of Tartar into the dough before giving it to him, it makes the dough more smooth.  Cream of Tartar also has a quality in it that will extend the shelf-life of the play dough.  The following recipe, found on the above mentioned website, will last about 3-4 months.

Play Dough Recipe

In a 2-quart pan mix together:
1 cup flour
½ cup salt
2 teaspoons Cream of Tartar

1 Tablespoon oil
1 cup water with food coloring in it

Cook over a medium heat.  At first it will appear to have too much water in it but will quickly begin to form into a ball of dough.  When dough pulls away from the sides of the pan, take out of pan and lightly knead until smooth.  If necessary, knead in a little flour to remove any stickiness.

Store play dough in baggies or air-tight containers for 3-4 months.

If you do a web search for play dough activity ideas, you will find many activities to teach fine motor skills and sensory activities for young children to enjoy.  With the holiday season coming up, you can make up a batch of dough without food coloring.  Choose a recipe that can be baked to harden the dough after it is formed into shapes.  Allow the kids to roll the dough about 1/4" to 3/8" thickness.  Cut out into shapes using holiday cookie cutters.  With a drinking straw, make a hole near the top of the shape for threading a ribbon through after it is baked.  Place the cut outs onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet and bake according to the dough's recipe directions.  When hardened and cooled, use markers or paints to decorate the ornament.  Let dry.  Thread a length of ribbon through the hole to make a hanging loop.

One Christmas gift that the kids are making for their Grandparents are hand prints pressed into the clay.  The dough will be rolled out about 3/8" thick and cut the size of a dessert plate.  Once their hand print is pressed into the clay, it will be baked until hardened.  They will then paint the hand print, let dry and add the ribbon for hanging.  I will write our son's name and year on his.  Our daughter will write her own name and the year on her hand print.

If there are little ones on your gift list, consider making them a basket filled with various colored homemade play dough.  Include in the basket the recipe for their Mom to help them make more as needed throughout the year.  I have also seen batches of homemade play dough prettily packaged in little baskets or containers of about 6 colors each being sold in craft shows.  Using unsweetened drink mix, such as Kool-aid to both color and scent the dough is a fun option for doughs you give as gifts.  The only caution I would add to that is to be sure the scented play dough isn't given to a child who is likely to eat some of the dough because of it having a fruity scent.



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