Saturday, September 7, 2013

Autumn Scented Play Dough


Play Dough. Oh, play dough. Many wonderful activities can be created with play dough, but sometimes it is just fun to play with a huge lump of it and see what happens. :)

We try to always make our play dough from scratch because it's frugal and a huge batch can be made for the same cost that I would pay for a small container of Play-Doh (not that I am against Play-Doh). But making our own play dough means that we can create our own colours, scents and add anything else that we want! 

We made three batches of play dough the night before and brought them out the next morning at breakfast. We use a no-cook method of making play dough, which is perfect for the kids because it means they can help make the play dough. The only step that I do by myself is mixing in the boiling water and stirring, but once it is cooled down they are able to help again.

The recipe that we follow is one that we found from The Imagination Tree. It's AMAZING! Before I found this recipe I was using a stove top recipe that seemed to take forever to make and it never came out this perfect. So I highly recommend checking out Anna's No-Cook Play Dough Recipe. All credit for the original recipe goes to her!

The Recipe:
- 2 cups plain flour (all purpose)
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup salt
- 2 tablespoons cream of tartar
- 1.5 cups boiling water (add more if needed)
 - food colouring (optional)

The only thing that makes our recipe different is that I added something special to each of our batches...
(The links take you directly to the McCormick website so you can see what product I am talking about.)
Batch 1 ~ 2 tablespoons McCormick Apple Pie Spice
Batch 2 ~ 2 tablespoons McCormick Pumpkin Pie Spice
Batch 3 ~ 2 tablespoons McCormick Imitation Maple Flavor (in other words, I dumped in the whole bottle.)

Directions: Mix together all the dry ingredients (flour, salt, cream of tartar, and spice mix), then add the vegetable oil and stir it in. Slowly add the water and mix it together. We only used about 1 1/2 cups and didn't need more. For the maple flavour, I added it while I was mixing the water into the dough. Mix until it is thoroughly combined and there are no dry bits/clumps or pools of unabsorbed water (it will be VERY sticky). Then let it sit and cool down (which only took a few minutes). I then got out a cutting board and poured some extra flour into a bowl and sprinkled some on the cutting board. When the dough was cooled, I gathered it into a big ball and placed it on the cutting board. I added some flour to the ball of dough and began kneading it and adding flour to the particularly sticky parts. By working with it, it will slowly begin to not be so sticky anymore. And soon a perfect ball of play dough will form. :) 

The kids really enjoy helping to make play dough! Not only does it help them to learn about measurements and control of mixing (because flour can sometimes go everywhere), but it is a great way for them to create something for themselves that they will play with for days after. 

I wish I could add a scratch-and-sniff option right here... But I can't, so all I can say is that they smelled lovely! It also happened to be a chilly morning, so it felt like a perfect way to start the day with autumn scents! I set up the play dough on our fold-out table that we usually use for board games and gave the kids a couple autumn themed cookie cutters (pumpkins, apples, leaves, etc.) and a few play dough tools. 

They did not need any directions to begin. :)



Pumpkin Pie play dough... made me want to make pumpkin cookies. It's on my to-do list.


~Suddenly inspired to create "apple pie" cookies.. I am totally going to make that happen! Playing with play dough can be very inspiring. 


Munchkin was so caught up in this simple activity that he barely noticed when breakfast was brought out to him... How many cookie cutters can he manage to shove in the play dough? All of them.


Mmm... Apple pie anyone?


Apple pie muffin?


And meanwhile daddy is creating... something. But hey, he's getting his hands dirty (not really) and playing with us! Typically he does not get involved in our messy play.. because it can sometimes actually get messy. :)


Pumpkin man! He gives the Gingerbread man competition. ;)


Munchkin made so many funny faces! He was completely amazed that he could hide play dough under the silicone cupcake molds. Hence why the pictures are in this order. He wasn't amazed that he could lift up the molds and discover what was underneath. He was amazed that he could put stuff under the molds and make it disappear for a second. Clearly that made a big difference. :)



And Bean just sat there and played with her lump of play dough for a while. Mostly she just picked bits and pieces of it off and smooshed them into a ball and then eventually into a cookie cutter.


Daddy made a volcano with a face.


Rolled up they look pretty similar, but luckily I can tell them apart. And not to mention, they all smell completely different. We are trying to keep them separate, so the scents don't blend. But I'm pretty sure eventually they will all be combined. Because that seems to be the only fate fit for play dough.


Autumn shapes to match their scents! (Ok, technically that is a maple scented oak leaf, but no one will notice...)


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