Rolling out playdough, getting a handle on “gack,” sifting homemade sand and discovering “ooblick” are fun ways for children to use their five senses. Here are some recipes for you to make at home to encourage your child to learn through play. Mix up a batch, grab a smock, and enjoy the exploration!
3 cups flour
1 1/2 cups salt
1 tbsp. cream of tartar
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
3 cups water
food coloring (add enough to get desired color)
1. Mix the flour, salt, and cream of tartar in a medium pot.
2. Add water, food coloring, and oil.
3. Stir over medium heat for 3-5 minutes, until dough comes away from the side. Don’t worry if the mixture looks like a lumpy mess; it will turn into a smooth dough once kneaded.
4. When the mixture forms a ball in the center of the pot, turn off stove and let cool a bit. Then take it out of the pot and place on a floured surface. Knead it several times (or use rubber gloves to knead it while still warm).
5. Store in an airtight container or Ziploc bag in the fridge.
Variations for playdough:
— Color/scent the playdough with 1 package of unsweetened “Kool-Aid” mix.
— Scent the dough with various extracts, like vanilla, peppermint or orange.
— Add glitter to the final mixture for some added sparkle!
Mix equal parts liquid cornstarch, glue and food coloring. Makes an oozy, gloppy substance.
Mix equal parts cornstarch and water. Let your child discover the changing properties of this wet (and often messy) mixture, which takes on a “hard” surface when touched with force or speed, and a liquid surface when reached into slowly.
Homemade Sand Recipe:
4 cups used and dried coffee grounds
2 cups cornmeal
1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
Mix ingredients together. Keeps fresh in an airtight container or Ziploc bag.