Sunday, February 6, 2011

Snowed in, hair out (and the world's best playdoh)

In these woods, we've got winter. Lots of winter. With snow and ice and frigid temperatures, it's tempting to send the kids out but that only means that you, the mother will have to: properly dress them, go out with them, make everyone hot chocolate, and deal with a mudroom full of drippy snow clothes all stained from road cinders and the gunk that colors our world gray from November through April.
So we stay in, couped up in our home, climbing the walls and inevitably I will have pulled out every last hair on my head before the sun shines again. We're in such a vitamin D deficiency that even the kids are dragging and pasty white.
Speaking of pasty white, if you've got cabin fever and want to try a few good crafts, here's the ticket to your happiness. (Also, have a glass of wine if it suits.)

Pleasant play dough

Note: I was never a believer in homemade play dough, but this stuff feels so good in your hands, it's well worth it. Kids tend to just mix the colors all together anyway, so having one single color is really the easy way to go. Experiment with changes and go crazy!

1 cup white flour
1/3 cup of salt
2 tsps cream of tartar
1 cup water
1 tbsp oil

Mix flour, salt, and cream of tartar in a medium deep skillet. Add water and oil. Cook and stir over medium heat. When mixture forms a ball in the pan, turn out and knead. Store in airtight container or plastic bag.

*Totally awesome play dough I: Add food coloring
*Totally awesome play dough II: Add kool-aid for scent/color
*Totally awesome play dough III: Add a bit of vanilla for a sweet scent
*Totally, totally awesome play dough IV: Add cheap pumpkin pie spice. Turns it a pleasant brown, makes it smell super fabulous!


And for something more permanent...


Salt Dough

Don't eat these cookies! We had a blast making pretend cookies. When these bake up they look so real, my husband even thought about eating one. Also a great project for making little canvasses for painting.

4 cups flour
1 cup salt
1.5 cups water (or enough to achieve workable dough)

Mix it together using a paddle or dough hook, adding only as much water as needed. Let your kids go crazy making shapes or cookie cutouts. Just make sure everything is nearly the same thickness.
Bake at 300 until hard. (Depending on thickness, you just have to pay attention.)
Once cool, paint with acrylics. We did a lovely music project making treble and bass clef signs as well. I suppose when finished you could make it shiny with a glossy acrylic spray.


And OK, if you haven't had that glass of wine, go ahead and get one now. Or at the least, a cup of tea. Mom or Dad, you deserve it!

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