Saturday, April 25, 2009

Doughs of the "Play" variety

I thought I would share some recipes for a basic fun dough that my kids loved to
manipulate when they were younger. I will also share a few other recipes you may not have tried. Each kind has different colors, scents, and textures and these doughs provide a smorgasbord of sensory stimulation!
Playing with dough has proven to be therapeutic and calming
for people of all ages, as well as helping to develop manual
dexterity and hand strength. So, dig out the dough when the
kids need to settle down. You can refrigerate it to make it last longer when not in use, but most of these will mold if left out for days at a time.

Basic Dough
2 cups flour
1 cup salt
2 T. cream of tartar
2 cups water
1 T. mineral oil
*food coloring if desired

Mix all ingredients in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat,
stirring until stiff. Allow to cool. Knead until smooth.

You can add flavored extracts to this mixture at the end, for
a variety of scents.

* Paste food coloring gives a more intense color, but is also
more expensive than the liquid. Tempera paints are usable and some people use packages of powdered, unsweetened drink mix or jello. Other more natural options include turmeric, cinnamon, cocoa powder(below) as well as colored powders from chalk or a natural food store.
I myself am not a big fan of artificial colors and find the kids will work fine with the plain dough(no colors) or natural options we can find.

Chocolate Dough
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup salt
1 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 1/2 tsp. cooking oil
1 cup boiling water

Mix together dry ingredients. Add liquid ingredients. Stir
quickly and thoroughly. Cook over low heat until mixture forms
a ball. Knead when cool.

Fall Fun Dough
1 cup water
1 T. oil
1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
2 tsp. cream of tartar
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice or use 1/2 ginger and 1/2 nutmeg
1 tsp. cinnamon
a brown or orange form of food coloring

Mix together all ingredients. Cook mixture until it forms a
ball. Knead when cool. Add more flour if needed.

For Christmas dough, you could omit these seasonings and add
peppermint extract and a red or green food coloring.

Oat Dough
1 cup oatmeal
2 cups flour
1/2 cup salt
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup oil

Mix until desired consistency. You can add more water or flour as needed. Again, the texture is appealing to some children. I like the smell of this one too.

Coffee Dough
2 cups used coffee grounds
1/2 cup salt
1 1/2 cups cornmeal
Mix all together and add water to moisten. This produces a very grainy type dough. The texture may be very appealing to some kids and may be annoying to children with sensory issues.

Hardening Dough
2 cups baking soda
1 cup cornstarch
1 1/2 cups water

Combine all ingredients and cook over low heat, stirring
constantly, until the mixture thickens. Cool and then knead to
a smooth texture. You can shape this dough and let it dry
overnight. It can be painted after it hardens.

Edible Peanut Butter Dough
1 cup Peanut Butter
1 cup honey
1 1/2 cup powdered milk
1/4 cup powdered sugar

Combine all ingredients thoroughly. Truly edible, so this
would be a good one for toddlers who like to taste everything.

Miscellaneous Favorites

1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup cold water
2 cups boiling water
1 1/2 tsp. Alum

Combine flour and sugar in a saucepan. Slowly stir in cold
water until smooth (a whisk will help). Slowly add boiling
water. Stir to break up any lumps. Bring to a boil, stirring
constantly, until thick and clear. Remove from heat and stir
in alum.

2 T. sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
2 cups cold water
1/4 cup dish liquid
tempera paint

Mix sugar and cornstarch in a sauce pan. Slowly stir in water.
Cook and stir over low heat until smooth and transparent.
Remove from heat and cool. Stir in the dish liquid. Divide
into a few containers and color each with the food coloring or

3 cups water
1 cup dish liquid
1/3 cup corn syrup
Mix together. Keep in a jar and use within a couple of weeks.
*Finally a use for corn syrup!

Sparkle Finish
1 large jar of hair gel
1 small container of very fine glitter

Stir together and paint over any finished art project for a
beautiful sparkly finish.

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