As the cold weather draws in we are all going to be looking for a few more indoor activities for the little ‘uns. The best things provide a range of activities rolled into one to keep the kids engaged for a reasonable amount of time. This is an old one, but a great one and both Munchkin and I love it – making playdough and having a playdough party.
Activity one: playdough making
Even young children can help with the mixing and kneading as both are done away from the heat.
1 cup water (it doesn’t matter what size cup, just use the same one throughout)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
½ cup salt (This preserves it and makes it unpleasant for little ‘uns to munch on!)
1 teaspoon food colouring (You may need more if you want very vibrant colours)
A few drops almond essence (This is not essential, but mimics the scent of the bough playdough)
1 cup flour (Make sure it’s plain)
Put all the ingredients, other than the four, into a large saucepan and warm gently.
Remove from the heat and add the flour.
Stir in the flour, then remove from the pan and knead until smooth
Keep in an airtight container (we often use old take away containers)
Activity two: playdough playing
Once you have made the playdough, you can keep it for months (no exaggeration, if you’ve used cream of tartar) in an airtight container, but nothing beats that first game with the new, still slightly warm dough. I actually find it quite relaxing, rolling, shaping and squishing the dough!
Munchkin and I usually have a playdough party the first time round. We get cake decorations, fairy cake cases and candles and make numerous cakes. We usually then get out all the stuffed toys, a picnic blanket and the tea set and have a playdough party.
Making the dough is brilliant for their cooking skills (older children could help weigh and measure too) and the child’s enquiring mind will love watching the individual ingredients combine and create a new substance – chemistry in action! Playing with playdough encourages imaginary play and also helps with fine motor skills.
All in all, then, making playdough is a great activity for a cold, rainy day.