Sunday, August 30, 2015

National Play-Doh Day

Did you know that September 16th is National Play-Doh Day?  Yep, an official day dedicated to that age old favorite of kids young and old.  So let’s celebrate!  How about a Play-Doh Play Date?  Whether you invite all of the neighborhood kids over, or spend a relaxing Saturday just playing with the kids, I have some fun ideas for you:

First, let’s make some homemade play-doh! Before your guys glaze over and you skip to the next paragraph, give me just a second because this is really quite easy. Seriously.  If you can make a box of macaroni & cheese, you can make play-doh. The picture below was my first ever attempt at making play-doh, so you can do it. And boy is it fun! The boys and I were looking for a fun rainy day activity, so I figured we’d give it a try.

Homemade Play-Doh

1 cup flour
1 cup warm water
½ cup salt
1 tbsp vegetable oil
½ tbsp. cream of tartar
Food coloring (optional)

Simply mix all of your ingredients, expect the food coloring, together in a small pot and cook over low heat, stirring continuously, until a dough forms and the mixture pulls away from the sides.  Cooking time ~5-10min. 

Your play-doh will naturally be a pretty off white color.  If you’d like to get a little more creative, add your favorite color of food coloring.  Place your play-doh on the counter, flatten it into a pancake shape and drop a few drops of food coloring in the center and knead the play-doh until the color is evenly dispersed.  If you would like a deeper color, just add a few more drops and keep kneading. Don’t forget to divide your play-doh into sections before adding food coloring if you want more than one color :-)

TIP:  Store your Play-Doh in an airtight container to keep it fresh for months to come.  If it happens to get a bit crusty and the salt crystals begin to show just knead it for a few minutes.  Feel free to double, or even triple, the recipe if you are feeling ambitious.

All Natural Play-Doh
If you aren’t up for making your own Play-Doh, but you do want to make sure your little ones are playing only with non-toxic, natural ingredients, all you need is to find a good eco-friendly dough which is a lot easier than it used to be.

TIP:  All natural play-doh makes a great stocking suffer for grownups, it is perfect for carefree stress relief at the office.  Think of a stress ball, but funner ;-)

Mess-free Fun
Many parents dread the idea of popping open a new tub of Play-Doh for fear that it will end up all over the place.  One easy way to keep your Play-Doh contained is with a cookie sheet from the Dollar Store.  Yep, a $1.00 investment.  These cookie sheets are super lightweight and allow for the Play-Doh to stick just enough to build on but not enough that cleaning isn’t still a breeze!  This also helps keep different piles of play-doh separate and avoid those ‘Joey mixed his red play-doh with my white play-doh!” issues.  

TIP:  Be sure to mark your Play-Doh cookie sheets so you don’t accidentally cook with them. A little paint will do the trick and you can even get super crafty and paint a name on each cookie sheet.

Candy-Free Treats  
Whether you are creating party favors, making DIY birthday gifts or searching for the perfect Halloween treat, why not use play-doh?  Play-doh, specially the homemade play-doh you just made, is the perfect alternative to a sugar filled Halloween treat for toddlers, and a usable favor for your next birthday party.

How do you dress up the play-doh?  Simply place your DIY play-doh inside a plastic easter egg or baggie and add a cute and festive cookie cutters and a bow.

No mater how you decide to celebrate National Play-Doh Day, be sure to take a few minutes out of your busy schedule to play with the little ones, those are the memories they will carry with them forever.

Until next time,
aka Chick #1

as seen in Carolina Parent Magazine