A Story about Playdough...

My Facebook post about using "Kipper's Birthday" by Mick Inkpen prompted some interest in the playdough I made for the accompanying invitation to play.

So here's the recipe plus loads of other ideas for flavours, colours and smells.

My Quick Easy Playdough Recipe
1 cup plain flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1/2 cup salt
1 tablespoon oil
1 cup boiling water

Adding boiling water to the other ingredients cooks the dough as you mix it so there is no "cooking" required.  Put all the ingredients in a bowl.  Then add the boiling water.  I use a big old round-ended butter knife to mix it all up and when it's almost mix get your hands in and knead it really well to make a smooth dough - when it's cooled down enough the children can help with this bit too.  That's your basic dough-coloured , no-smell dough.

Add a few drops of food colouring to the boiling water before mixing.

Smells and Flavours
I've tried adding things to the mixture such as:

  • lemon rind and flavouring
  • spices
  • almond flavouring
  • lavender oil plus lavender flowers
Other ideas
  • Jelly - dissolve jelly crystals in the boiling water before mixing - be quite quick or the jelly will start to set!  Try blackcurrant, strawberry, raspberry, orange - they give a nice pastel colour too so no extra colour needed unless you want it to be stronger in colour.
  • Tea - flavoured tea bags work amazingly well - empty to contents of one tea bag per cup of boiling water used.  Let it stew for a few seconds just like tea.  Then make the dough as usual.  Strawberry fruit tea is beautiful - you ge the colur, smell and the little bits of tea which make it look like it's got crushed strawberries in it...  I tried different flavours of "Yogi teas" too like ginger or indian chai and red bush tea, but the possibilities are as big as the tea flavours on the supermarket shelf!
Making more...
Just multiply up the recipe for more dough.  I usually make 4 cups to share between 8 children.  More than that I'd make in batches.

Invitation to Play
Add tools and other interesting things to the table to provoke interest and talk.  For Kipper's birthday we used lovely paper straws cut into small sections for the children to use as "candles" and small silicone baking trays.  Other ideas, depending on the story you are reading that day could include:
  • commotion in the ocean - little fishes, fish shaped cutters
  • goldilocks and the three bears - little bowls and spoons
  • draw me a star - star shaped cutters, glitter in dough
  • Tip Tip Dig Dig - little diggers and trucks
  • Dinosaur stories - plastic dinosaurs to make footprints
  • Car stories - cars to make wheel track pattern in rolled out dough
  • Summer, beach stories - shells, seaweed etc
  • the possibilities are endless - use your imagination here...

For more story ideas and inspiration:

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