Children's Make & Do

How to make Playdough!

Playdough - is there more fun a child can have?!  You can make uncooked playdough, edible playdough, scented playdough, coloured playdough, sand dough - the list of possibilities is endless!

We’ve compiled this list of playdough ideas and recipes to help you get started on your playdough journey.  Be creative, create your own, and share it with us!!

Playdough is suitable for children aged about 18 months and above.  Any younger than that and it poses a choking hazard.  If you make your own playdough from a playdough recipe, it’s ok if your child eats a bit here and there - all of the ingredients are edible.  Most children won’t like it on account of the VERY salty taste.

You will need:playdough.jpg
1 Mug of Flour
1/2 a Mug of Salt
1 Mug of Water
1 Tablespoon of Cooking Oil
1 Teaspoon of Cream of Tartar
A Few Drops of Food Colouring

Place all the ingredients in a saucepan and cook on a low heat until thick.

Take the playdough out of the saucepan and knead until cool (if the dough is too sticky, add extra flour and cook again in the saucepan just for a minute or two). Add food colouring at this point too, if you like! You can also add glitter to make it sparkly!

Keep the playdough in a sealed plastic bag, clingfilm or a plastic container in the fridge when not being used and it will keep for ages.

Adding Sensory Fun to Playdough

You can turn your playdough into a full blown sensory experience by adding some or all (if you’re game) of the following:

  • Glitter
  • Sand (coloured is cool)
  • A few drops of essential oils (1 drop per 2 cups of playdough is enough, and stick to lavender, mandarin, tea tree and orange oil for safety)
  • Vanilla Essence - add a teaspoonful when you’re kneading the playdough
  • Peppermint essence - be warned, it makes the dough smell very edible!! (It is, but it doesn’t taste any good)
  • Rice - plain or you can colour it

Cornflour Play

You will need:
Food Colouring
A tray or bowl

Mix the water and a few drops of food colouring together.  Add the cornflour to this water solution slowly, until it binds.

Now place in a shallow tray or cotainer and try to pick it up!

Encourage children to use their fingers to explore the different textures.

Great messy fun!

Salt Dough Recipe

You will need:
2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
1 Cup Salt
1 Cup Cold Water

In a large bowl, mix table salt and flour together.  Gradually add 1/2 cup of water and mix to desired consistency.  Knead the dough on a flat surface, adding a few more drops of water as needed (but not making it too moist).

Once the dough is made, you can divide it up into small portions to roll into 1/8" thick pieces with a rolling pin.  Use cookie cutters to cut out a variety of shapes, and place the shapes on wax paper or other surface to dry.  If you want to make hanging ornaments, pierce the dough through with a toothpick while it's wet.

Allow the shapes to dry for a day or two, turning them over periodically to speed up the drying process.  You may need to re-pierce the hole several times during the drying process.  After the shapes dry, you can use a fine grit sandpaper to gently smooth any rough edges.

Baking Alternative

Instead of allowing the dough shapes to air dry, you can bake them in the oven at 200 degrees F until hard.  Baking times varies depending on oven and dough thickness.  Make sure the dough is completely baked.

You can cover the dough with aluminum foil if it starts to darken before completely baked through.

Make your own Kite!

Anything that’s sail shaped, and attached to string will catch the wind, and make a makeshift kite… but a good flying kite needs some structure.  The easiest shape to make is a diamond kite.

You will need:
Construction Paper
Gaffa Tape (or any strong tape)
Two pieces of bamboo cane for the frame
Paints to decorate
Old bits of rag for the tail

To make your kite:

Lay your bamboo pieces across one another, and tie them together using some of the string.  Go round several times, until they’re firmly secured in a cross shape.

Using a hack saw, cut a notch into each end of the bamboo, and thread the string through it, to make a diamond shaped frame (secure it with a good knot!)

Cut a large diamond shape from the construction paper, large enough for the bamboo to lie diagnonally corner to corner on.  Tape your paper to the string.

Tie one end of your string VERY securely to the middle of the kite.

If you want to make a tail, tie a length of string to the bottom point of the kite, and knot pieces of rag through it.

Decorate it!!

Fly it in a strong breeze.  BUT never ever fly your kite around electricity pylons, poles, cables, etc or during a storm!

Bird Feeder

Children can start to learn about caring for the environment and identifying the different wildlife and habitats within it.

You will need:
Clean yoghurt pots (make a small hole in the bottom)
Grated Cheese
Garden Twine or String
Peanuts or Wild Bird Seed

1. Thread one end of the string through the hole in the pots from the bottom up and tie a knot big enough to stop the string going back through.  Leave enough string at the top so it can be tied to a tree or bird table.

2. Allow the lard to warm up to room temperature, then cut it up into smallpieces and put it in the mixing bowl.

3. Get the children to add the other ingredients to the bowl and mix themtogether with their fingers until the lard binds the mixture together.

4. Ask the children to talk about the different ingredients.  Do all birds eat seeds?  Some birds e.g. parrots eat fruit.  Do we eat the same food as birds?

5. Fill the yoghurt pots with the mixture and put them in a fridge to set.  After about an hour they should be ready.

6. Hang your bird feeders from trees, sit back and watch them come!

This activity is unsuitable for children with nut allergies.  Don’t forget to make sure that the peanuts are suitable for birds to eat!