Sunday, November 29, 2009

Perfect Play Dough

There are a lot of play dough recipes online but this one we tried this weekend and it worked great.  I had never used oil in it before and I was pleasantly surprised with the results.  This recipe came from and I provided a link to their page below.

2 cups white flour
2 cups water (you can add about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 teaspoons of food coloring or we used water coloring from Michael's craft store)
1 cup salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon cream of tarter

1. Combine all ingredients into a saucepan and cook on medium heat, while stirring constantly, until the mixture holds together which should take about five minutes.

2. Remove the pan from the heat and set it aside until the dough is cool enough to touch.  This should take about another 5 minutes.  Kneed the dough (this can be done on wax-paper) for about 2-3 minutes until it completely cool and has a play dough consistency.

3. When done playing, store in an air-tight container to keep the dough fresh for longer.

Family Fun's Perfect Play Dough Website

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Ice Cream in a Bag

My son's 1st grade class compiled a recipe book and one of the recipes was ice cream made in zipper bags. I had never heard of this but it was a lot of fun.  Even my littlest (almost 2) was able to stand on a chair at the table and help mush her bag of ice.  So here it is:
1/2 cup of cream
1 Tablespoon of sugar
1/4 teaspoon of vanilla
3-4 cups of ice
Tablespoons of rock salt
1 quart-sized zipper bag
1 gallon-sized zipper bag

1. Combine cream, sugar, and vanilla in the quart-sized bag and seal it closed.
2. Combine closed quart-sized bag, rock salt, and ice in gallon-sized zipper bag and seal the bag closed.
3. Rub bag around.  Mix it, mush it, and kneed it for about 5-10 minutes.  (My little guys lost interest in this part because their hands were too cold so we put gloves on and that helped but the bags that got mixed around the best had the best results.)

Try a fruit juice instead of cream for a sorbet-esque result.
Add some sprinkles, cookie crumbles, or fruit for fun flavors.

Each bag made a small serving which was perfect for the kids to eat!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Cookies as Crafts

This is one we actually did today with my kids and it was great because it gave me just enough time to load the dishwasher while they are making cookies.  Sometimes I will make the cookie dough from scratch but I'm not opposed to buying the pre-made dough, either.  My preference for this is sugar cookies because my kids like to eat the chocolate chips or other additives out of the cookie dough.  I will disinfect the table and the kids' hands by washing well.  Then we roll out wax paper while each spot is still wet from the washing (this helps the wax paper stick to the table well).

Give each child a ball of cookie dough (or many depending on how much you want them to have).  Let them make shapes.  You can guide their shape-making so if they are learning their letters you can have them make cookies in the shape of the letters of their name.  If they are working on geometry and shapes, have them make the shape you call out.  They can make their favorite animal or make a cookie with handprint in the middle.  Younger kids can use cookie cutters.

This is really fun for kids and they seem to really look forward to eating a particular cookie because of its shape.  It's also a pretty minimal mess because you just have to throw away the wax paper, wash hands (again), and clean the cookie trays.

A Quick FYI...

I just thought I would let you know after my little rant about crafts and messes that no more than 3 minutes after I wrote that blog post my almost 2 year old dumped a 4 pound box of salt rocks (left over from one of today's activities) all over my kitchen floor.

All About This Blog

This is a blog we decided to add to our website because Jessy and I have had a lot of experience doing crafts with small children both at home and in preschool and elementary school settings.  Sometimes this endeavor can be a little scary because the mess-potential is HUGE!  But done right with a little bit of planning and preparation there are a lot of crafts that are great for kids that are babies up through school-aged kids.

Our goal is to encourage moms with small kids to bite the bullet and tackle the mess so they can enjoy doing crafts with their small children.  Kids learn quickly and they learn from doing, seeing, and tasting.  Try new things so they can experience all of their senses through craft.  Children's crafts will never be perfect but there seems to be a great amount of perfection in their imperfection because the creativity and experience are where the perfection comes from.

If you have fun craft ideas or tips please share them with us!  We would love to have this grow into a community of moms sharing ideas and experiences.