Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Christmas Countdown: Day 18!

I originally planned to do this craft a few days ago but discovered I had run out of salt. No matter, I thought to myself, I'll just use sugar! I mean, it's not all that different from salt...they're both grainy, they're both white...this will work!


Sure, it worked in a way...and by"worked" I mean made a very sticky, porridge-like slop. No matter how much flour I added to try to counteract the stickiness it would not bind like it was supposed to. So, the craft was placed on hold until I bought myself some more salt.

Which brings us to today! I finally had some salt and was all set to make some:

Candycane Playdough!

I started out making homemade playdough when my son was but a little, wobbly baby. I was looking for something fun for him to do that didn't involve the usual noisy toys. He was the type of infant who explored and learned by eating things. No matter what it was it always seemed to find a way into his mouth. So, when we began crafting together I made most of our art supplies - from paint to playdough. That way, I didn't have to worry about what was in it when it inevitably found its way into my toddler's digestive system.

I explored and experimented with several different techniques before settling on one that worked well for us. First, I started out making a cooked playdough, which was fine when Toddler Bee was younger and not quite ready to be a kitchen helper. Now, we do a no-cooking method so he can get his anxious little hands right in there. We don't make our own playdough as often anymore but this recipe, with it's Christmas colours, glitters, and minty smell, are a Christmas tradition in our household. And gave a perfect opportunity to introduce Baby Bee to playdough!

What You Need:

1 cup flour
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup salt
Food colouring (we used green)
1 tbsp cooking oil (or baby oil)

Peppermint extract (amt. depends on preference)

*Some recipes use cream of tartar, but I never have that on hand so it's not included. You can add it if you want your playdough to last longer. Ours never lasts more than a few days before it's so mangled/squished onto the floor that it can't be used.*

How To:

In a large bowl combine your flour, water, oil, salt, and peppermint extract. Mix with a spoon until cooled enough to handle. If your dough is too dry add some more boiled water. If too sticky, add some more flour.
Yes, it looks slightly suspicious...but it gets better!
Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until it holds together and resembles a smooth dough. Ours was still a bit too sticky so we added some more flour.

*Homemade playdough will not have the same feel as store bought (it's much softer).*

Divide your dough in half and set one section aside. Using the other section, form it into a ball and then use your finger to create a well in the middle. Add your food colouring to this well. I used 6 drops of green. 

Carefully fold the dough in half so your well is now covered. Repeat this folding and watch as the colour spreads. If you do this carefully you shouldn't get any staining on your hands. You can always wear gloves or place your dough in a Ziploc bag for this stage. (This took some trial and error for me when I first started making my own playdough).

Add some glitter to the playdough you left white, folding it over like you did with the dyed section.

The glitter is hard to see in the photo, but it IS there!
And ta-da! You have some lovely Christmas playdough! Like I mentioned above, this playdough will last a few days in the fridge or in a airtight container on the counter. If it gets too runny just add some flour to it. Ours usually gets tossed after a few days because playdough never lasts long in this house.

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