Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Homemade Playdough Adventures

For the past month or so, the kids and I have been experimenting with as much playdough as possible.  They've been loving it even more than I expected, and I've become quite obsessed... new flavors to try keep coming to mind faster than we can keep up with!

 Lately I've really been thinking of how pleasant sensory experiences really make a person feel better... everything from chicken soup to a clean cozy house, to an herby epsom salt bath to the little lavender sachet pillow that Rowan carries around... There was always that voice in the back of my head that said those things don't matter, but they DO! They really do, and they lead to a calm and more peaceful life.  Peace of mind.

When I look at my kids and I look back on my own childhood, I see how sensory experiences made the most  impression on me.  Especially if it had to do with food. And nature plays a big part as well. The smell of the apple orchard in fall, a strawberry scented doll... kids love that stuff.  And grown-ups do too!

Rowan mostly has been teaching me this, because he is such a sensory oriented boy.  He loves to smell things, and he loves soft things... he has replaced his lavender sachet with 2 different balls of playdough ~ these he now takes everywhere with him! Rowan and Fynn spend a lot of time pulling out their collections of playdough "cookies" and saying, "Here, smell this one. Now smell this one..."
I had tried homemade playdough before, but it mostly turned out terrible or okay.  But finally I found a recipe on this site:

It was so simple and took about 5 minutes to make and turned out wonderful! So I use that recipe for the basis of everything I make.  Pictured above is the first batch I made with that recipe.  I used tempera paint to color them. 3 batches; red, yellow and blue. I was so excited! And so were the kids!

I think the next idea I had was to do one chocolate batch and one vanilla batch.  They smelled delicious! For chocolate, I just added cocoa powder (1/4 C. I think), and for vanilla just added 2 or so tsps of vanilla.  We colored some amaranth seeds with food coloring and used them for sprinkles.  Fun! That was when we began rolling out cookies for Mama Whale.

This is what we called Minty Ocean Playdough.  Instead of tempera paint I colored it with a few drops blue and one or so green food coloring.  I scented it with peppermint oil.  I put out blue glass beads and some weird salt we got from a discount health food store years ago that we never used because it had a lot of sand in it.  I thought the kids would like to play "ocean" (like they usually do) but really they just wanted to make peppermint cookies for Mama Whale.  That's fine!
For old time's sake, I thought to make these Hershey Kiss shaped Mints... one of my childhood passions!
And here comes the Licorice (Anise) Playdough...  Black tempera and anise oil are what make this one special.
We got black licorice to chew on 'cause we knew we'd be craving it!
It just smells sooo good!
Here's a plate of vanilla and chocolate "cookies".  One looks like a Saltine cracker.
Here is a Pumpkin Pie Spice Playdough that Rowan and I made one afternoon out of some leftover red and yellow primary playdoughs.  He's become accustomed to pulling them out of the cupboard on his own saying, "Can I have this playdough?"  We just mixed the colors together, then added cinnamon, ginger, cloves and a lot of nutmeg.  Yum!
Fynn came out and happily joined us.  That's my favorite kind of afternoon.  With some snacks and coffee and "tea and honey and cream" too. :)

I'm sure there will be more posts on playdough in the future.  It's now past my bedtime, but I'll leave you with my basic playdough recipe.

1 C. flour
1/4 C. salt
1 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 C. tempera paint
1/2 C. boiling water (or use 3/4 C. water if not using paint)
few drops of essential oils or flavoring (optional)
flour for dusting

Mix dry ingredients thoroughly.  Add boiling water, tempera, oil, and mix well.  Add essential oils, and add more flour 1/8 of a cup at a time and knead together till playdough no longer sticks to your fingers.  Store in an airtight container till ready to use.  Have fun!


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