Critters And Crayons recently participated in the HEB & Pampers Little Texans Tour as it visited the Laredo HEBs.
The kids and I had a great time meeting some of the fantastic families in Laredo who came out to chat and play with some of the items we brought with us!
At our booth, I set up a few items to show some of the topics you might find on The Critters And Crayons Blog. There were some:
- DIY Educational Materials for small children,
- Fun Sensory Arts & Crafts like the many different types of “fun doughs” you can make right in your kitchen to stimulate and entertain your kids during the hot Summer,
- and Resources For Laredo’s Families About Child-Centered Activities In Town.
There was a great turn-out and I am very thankful to all who took time to come and visit!
I promised to write a post about the materials we brought
with recipes, tips, and resources so everyone could do the same at home…
We made four different “Fun Doughs” for families to take home with them and they are all easy and cheap to make!
One of the best things about making these fun doughs at home is that it’s something that the kids can do with you! The act of simply mixing the ingredients together is huge sensorial fun!
It CAN be messy, but there are some pretty easy ways that even the most mess-averse parents can totally beat the mess!
See that large floor covering underneath my kids while they play on my kitchen floor with four very different and potentially very messy Fun Doughs?
It is paper cut from a huge spool of butcher meat-packing paper I bought at a bulk warehouse a couple of years ago for around $17. Duct tape it to the floor and let the kids have at it. The paper is the boundary. You’ll note that that I even lined the sidewalk with it in the photo above for the kids to play with the doughs I brought to The Little Texans Tour!
SO….AS PROMISED….HERE ARE THOSE GREAT FUN DOUGH RECIPES!!!
FUN DOUGH #1:
This dough is unbelievably silky and airy light! It is even finer and lighter than the flour/baby oil cloud dough I’ve written so much about!
It was definitely our daughter’s favorite of the four different doughs we made for the HEB Little Texans Event!
Foam Dough is perfect for making little snow people…..
And speaking of snow…. What’s incredibly awesome about foam dough is that there are recipes out there that turn this awesomeness into SNOW DOUGH. Check out my friend over at Creative Playhouse who totally froze her recipe using the same two kitchen ingredients and it was perfect for cold sensory play!
FUN DOUGH #2:
SCENTED NO-COOK PLAY DOUGH
There are a ton of homemade play dough recipes out there. I’ve modified a pretty good no-cook recipe I used in Critters And Crayons’ post The 4-Day Sitter. THIS simple recipe for play dough is on the E-How website. The only difference is that when I make my version of the no-cook play dough recipe, I double the amount that the E-How recipe calls for which makes a lot of play dough to save for the kids. You’ll find that you’ll make small adjustments here and there to get the consistency you want.
FOR EACH BATCH, I USE:
3 Cups of Flour,
1/3 Cup of Salt,
2 TBSP Olive Oil,
1 TBSP of Cream of Tartar,
and 5-7 Packets of Crystal Light (* Always use sugar-free flavor packets to avoid stickiness.)
I’ve done it by hand, but I totally use my mixer now!
It’s much easier to start it all by hand in a large mixing bowl so that the flour and salt are moistened before putting it all into a mixer.
*You can tell if the dough is too moist if it sticks to the dough hook. If this happens, I make a small well in the center of the dough ball, add a tablespoon or two to the center, cover it over with the dough to prevent flour splatter, and then mix. I adjust with a little more water, a touch of oil, or more flour until the dough reaches the right consistency.
*You can also tell if the dough is too dry if it separates too easily or is crumbly. In this case, use the same process I describe above, only add a tbsp or two of water into a well in the center of the ball and cover it back over with some dough before starting the mixing process again. Adjust as needed until the dough is a smooth consistency. You may find that coarse salts will not dissolve well. (Once I had to substitute Irish Grey Salt because that’s all I had left, and it didn’t dissolve as well as table salt- but it DID give a glittery sheen to the dough).
FUN DOUGH #3:
We can also thank Creative Playhouse for this awesome recipe for Bubble Dough!!!
When I was looking for ideas to do with my kids, Kat suggested we try her Bubble Dough recipe, and THIS is our Son’s Fave of the Four Fun Doughs!
It uses just two kitchen ingredients: Dish Soap and Corn Starch. I had a bottle of Babyganics Dish Soap we weren’t using so in it went!
The amazing thing about Bubble Dough is that it really reminds me quite a bit of Oobleck. It’s not quite as solid as oobleck can get, but Bubble Dough definitely shows properties of being both liquid and solid. When you first mix it, it’s a gooey, rubbery ooze. But, as it settles in the bin, it has a smooth, solid surface that you nearly break open in order to play with it.
Our daughter pretended her bubble dough was ice cream. She smoothed this ice cream out, and then watched as it actually seemed to melt down like an actual ice cream.
That’s Bubble Dough. It’s completely cool.
You need to check out Kat’s new and improved Bubble Dough Recipe on her blog at Creative Playhouse. I hear she’s getting ready to make something like this with Strawberry Hair Conditioner and Corn Starch Soon….
FUN DOUGH #4:
WHEAT-COCONUT SANDY MOON DOUGH!
After I wrote about the things every parent needs to watch out for when it comes to Cloud Dough, I came up with a new recipe that I and my kids actually prefer over the baby oil and refined white flour version!
Instead of white flour, we use wheat flour. And, instead of baby oil, we use coconut oil.
For every 5 lbs of wheat flour, add 2 cups of coconut oil.
Rub out all the clumps between your palms and work the oil into the flour. The kids love to help with this part!
When you make a fist with the dough in your hand, it should form the shape of your fist without falling apart. If it does fall apart, add a little more coconut oil.
And, if it’s too greasy, add more flour. If you run out of wheat flour, you can always add a little white flour.
The coconut oil smells great!
TO STORE YOUR HOMEMADE FUN DOUGHS!
I recommend keeping any homemade fun doughs in air-tight bins.
I highly recommend using hobby scrapbook boxes since they are low and shallow, and also small enough to not contain an overwhelming amount of dough.
If you have more than one child, you could always give one square scrapbook bin to each child.
You can rotate different doughs through the scrapbook bins, especially if you are short on space.
They pack away neatly underneath shelves or beds for easy storage. They stack neatly and look tidy.
Although cloud dough and homemade moon doughs where oil is used to moisten the dry ingredients do not have to be covered to be stored, I recommend it to keep dust, pests or other allergens out of the dough.
I am a huge fan of buying butcher paper in bulk!
You can use it to cover tables at parties and it always comes in handy for play dates and parties!
If you have a tarp, an inexpensive sheet or tablecloth that you have reserved for arts & crafts work, then I recommend laying that underneath your Fun Dough Play Area!
Or, you an always do what I do, and duct tape a few rows of butcher paper underneath your kids!
All that Salty, Scenty, Sandy, Foamy, Bubbly Dough Crazy Fun-Having Left Me With This Awful, Horribly, Messy……..Mess? :)
Just a quick paper roll-up (which you can recycle once you remove the duct tape, by the way) and a sweep….the Kitchen Floor is fine, again.
To clean off doughed-up, powdered up feet-sies, I definitely recommend that you use a clean paintbrush or something bristly to work any clumps off little soles and toes!
The children should wipe their feet (if they can) with a wet wipe or wet cloth before running around on your carpets.
Again, I’ll refer to my cautionary post about what can happen if you aren’t careful with the baby oil/flour cloud dough.
For More Creative & Fun Doughs,
Check Out These Awesome Ideas & Sites!