So by now your kids have been out of school for about a week now. You’re not used to it, they aren’t used to it. You/they are somewhere between severely bored and completely crazy (however, the weather here has been amazing, which helps!)
Here’s a home schooler secret-okay, not just home schoolers-all you moms know this is a great way to beat the doldrums-especially around the bewitching hour of 4 and 6pm: Play-dough! Who doesn’t love to play with it? Especially the fresh kind that feels so wonderful in your hands. Skip a trip to the store (and the stove) and use these four simple ingredients I’m sure you have on hand.
To give credit where credit is due-I first found this recipe in my Family Fun magazine. I’ve tweaked it a bit and will let you know where I’ve done so in the recipe that follows. Now grab your sheet pans, some cookie cutters, rolling pins, butter knives, a broom for quick clean-up and get to work!
Homemade Play-dough (they call it Play Clay, but that must be for rhyming and trademark reasons only)
1 cup of flour (more if your mixture is runny)
1/2 cup salt (the recipe calls for 3/8 cup-what the? Who can do that? Okay, I guess I have a 1/8 measuring cup for my coffee, but really? Just use 1/2 cup-no one will know)
1/2 cup warm water (ditto on the 3/8 cup measurement. The idea is to have the same salt/water ratio)
A few drops of various colors of food coloring (the recipe is dubbed “all-natural” so uses various spices/juices around the house to color your dough. The beet juice one is fun because your dough smells like vinegar and is a super cool color. Ditto with the cocoa powder. Now I just use food coloring because I never have canned beets on hand and like to keep my cocoa for things that I get to eat).
1. Whisk the flour and salt together a couple of times.
2. Mix the oil, water and food coloring together and pour into flour mixture. Stir with a fork, then your hands.
3. If it’s really runny like mine always is add flour 1/4 cup at a time until you get the best consistency. It should clean the sides of the bowl and not stick to your hands at all. It should feel really nice in your hands and not be grainy.
5. Store in airtight zipper bags in the fridge for ever or it starts to not be fun anymore. I like to warm it in the microwave for about 15 seconds, flip and 15 seconds again before they play with it-so it’s not cold and hard when they first get into it.
I really hope that you use this. It’s such a great way to relieve stress (for all of us). We like to listen to books on tape or I read to them (books like the Saturdays!) while they play with it. I’ll also make dinner or hide somewhere, depending on the kind of day it’s been : )
Merry (almost) Christmas!