Saturday, January 8, 2011

Sensory Play Dough

When I'm not busy being crafty, I'm a teacher.  Specifically of little guys aged 2.5-6.  This year it's just Kindergarten, though.  This means that I also put my craftiness to work at my day job as well.
One of the easiest things to make, instead of buy, is play dough.  This stuff is great for kids, because it's not just fun to play with - it helps strengthen their hands (something they work on a lot at this age, to get ready for writing), and it provides a lot of sensorial input that some of these guys need.  I wanted to give the kids a little extra sensory input, and something new to spark their interest.  Enter: beaded play dough!
I assembled my supplies:
Flour, salt, oil, cream of tartar, and food coloring.  Not pictured are a pack of seed beads (I used rainbow colored ones), and water.
In a pot, on medium heat, combine: 1 cup water, 1 tbsp oil, and food coloring.  I eyeball the coloring.  This time I used a generous squirt of turquoise.
In a separate bowl, mix: 1 cup flour, 1/4 cup salt, and 2 tbsp cream of tartar (do not omit this, it is SUPER important!).  Put your dry ingredients into the pot & stir it up.
The play dough will quickly come together.  When it starts to all stick together & form a ball, take it off of the heat.  Dump it out, and knead it a little bit (be careful, it's hot) until it is the right consistency.
At this point, I added my beads.  I made a little well in the center, poured in some beads, and kneaded until they were all mixed in.  The beads feel really neat in there!
Here's the result:
A close-up of the bead action:
This has been in my classroom for a week so far, and the kids LOVE it!  It gets constant use throughout the day.  Make sure to store yours in an airtight container, and it should last for quite a while.  Want to make it an even greater sensory experience?  Add a few drops of essential oil to your wet ingredients, and it will smell great, as well as feel great!

1 comment:

  1. That's so great that you're a teacher. I'm studying to be a school psychologist and I like the elementary level :)