Homemade Sparkly Scented Play Dough

We get through so much play dough that I thought I’d be worth having a go making it ourselves. I’ve tried a couple of times before but always ended up with that stodgy floury nursery school smelling stuff. This time I experiented with some different ingredients and invested in some good essential oils. The children enjoyed having different fragrances to sniff, they love smelling the tester perfumes in shops so it was great to have an activity like this at home. 

To make four colours –

You will need 

2 cups plain flour

2 tablespoons grapeseed oil

1/2 cup salt

2 tablespoons cream of tartar

1 – 1.5 cups of warm previously boiled water

Food colouring 

3-4 drops of glycerine

Essential oils

Vanilla essence

Bowls

Wooden spoons

Plastic containers to store play dough 

Glitter


I used cinnamon leaf, pine needle and mandarin essential oils and vanilla essence. Make sure to research the oils which are safe for you and children, also in pregnancy and breastfeeding. Always dilute essential oils with a carrier oil such as grapeseed oil.

I have used grapeseed oil with all my children in baby massage so I knew their skin wouldn’t react to it. A good tip my baby massage instructor showed me, if using for the first time, is to dab a little on the wrist and wait ten minutes to see if there is a reaction or not.

I divided the ingredients into four so the children could make a tub with a different colour and scent each. But you can always make one batch and then divide the dough to  colour and fragrance.

1. Into four bowls add flour, salt and cream of tartar. 


2. In a separate jug add 2-3 drops of essential oil (or 1tsp vanilla essence) to a teaspoon of grape seed oil and glycerine.

3. Add a 1/4 cup of warm water to the mixture and add the food colouring. 

4. Take one of the bowls of the flour mixture and slowly combine the wet mixture with the dry, adding more plain water if needed, until you get a bread dough like consistency that can be kneaded.

5. Adding different colours and scents repeat stages 2,3,4 for the remaining three bowls of flour mix  

I used yellow with vanilla, green with pine needle, orange with mandarin and red with cinnamon.



6. Place the dough on a smooth surface and add a sprinkle of glitter (too much will cause the dough to crack). 

7. Knead the dough well and it’s ready for play. 


8. Work into a soft ball and store in airtight containers when finished with


If you feel the dough needs refreshing at any point rub a few drops of grapeseed oil into hands and work though the dough, it moistens the dough and your hands!

Sand Garden

One of my favourite things to do with the children is going on walks and collecting pebbles, shells, feathers and flowers.

Last year we made this pretty sand garden with an old plastic tub, some sand, rocks and flowers. My daughter, who was two and a half at the time, really enjoyed arranging it all.

   

Scones 

There’s not much that’s better than a hot cup of tea and a couple of scones. They are really easy to make with the children.

 
Ingredients 

450g self raising flour

2 tsp baking powder

75g butter (chilled & cut into cubes)

55g golden caster sugar

2 eggs

200ml milk

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Method 

Grease x2 baking trays

Preheat oven to 220°C/200°C fan

Rub butter and flour with hands till a fine crumble mix forms. Stir in sugar and baking powder.

Whisk the egg, milk and vanilla. Save two tablespoons of mixture for glazing. 

Make a well in flour and slowly add milk mixture, stirring with fork. As a dough forms, gently knead. 

Sprinkle flour onto surface and pat down to 2.5 cm thick. Cut as many scones as possible then re knead and repeat with left over dough. Using a 68mm/70mm cutter will make approx 15 scones. 5cm cutter will do approx 20.

Place onto a greased baking tray and brush with saved milk mixture. 

Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden. Cool on wire rack. Serve warm with butter, strawberry jam and a good dollop of clotted cream. 

   

  

  

  

  

  

  

Zoom zoom zoom…

My daughter drew a picture of a rocket and we had a go at making one (didn’t look like her picture but never mind!)


Materials
Kitchen roll tube

2x yoghurt pots (1 clear)

Pva glue

Card (cereal packet)

Pencil

Scissors

Craft knife

Tin foil
   

Draw 4 fins and cut out

  

Cut two thirds through and slots in roll

  

Cut hole same size as see through yoghurt pot. Draw an astronaut. Glue both yoghurt pots in place.

 

Cut strips of foil and stick with glue all over, leaving window. My two year old loved sticking the foil. 

The rocket got played with lots and lasted about a week and a half in our house before we lost a fin.

Children’s Homemade Notecards


Materials

a4 Coloured card

a4 paper

Coloured felt

Scissors 

Pencil

Pipe cleaners

Pva glue + brush
  
Fold A4 paper in half and draw basic outline of chosen animals. 

Cut around the outline and place one layer to the side. 

With the remaining later cut out the features. 

Use templates to cut felt and coloured card. 

  

Hand over to children to stick all the pieces together. I did this with my four year old.   

    

 
They look great hanging up …

   

…and make excellent thank you cards.

 

Homemade Christmas decorations

My daughter loves hearts at the moment and bought some felt heart shaped decorations that she spotted when we were out. I thought we could have a go at making some so here is what we did.

Materials –

Wadding
Felt
Fabric scissors
Paper scissors
Ribbon
Paper/card
Pencil
Embroidery needle
Embroidery thread

We also used a leather hole punch to make holes because my daughter has shown an interest when watching me sew and I thought it might make it easy for her to have a go.

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We cut out a heart shape from some card and used this as a template for cutting x2 felt shapes. Then cut some wadding and trimmed 1cm off. We stitched the ribbon in a loop on the inside.

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My daughter found it a bit tricky to get the hang of putting the needle in both holes together so it was a team effort, I put the needle through and she pulled the thread through.

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We did a simple blanket stitch and finished just as tiny one woke up from her nap…

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Looks great on the tree so I have started making one with some embroidered wording for tiny one’s First Christmas

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Acrylic on Canvas

I found some acrylics that were on offer at the craft shop and thought it would be a lovely idea to get some canvas for the children to create a piece of art they could hang in their room.

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Materials
Large canvas
Acrylic paints
Paintbrushes (various sizes)
Water
Plastic sheet
Plastic tubs

1. We painted the canvas with a wash of water and then a neutral colour. Left it to dry.

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2. We used different size brushes (any mark making tools can be used; twigs, sponges, if child safe paints – hands)

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3. They got to work!

I found the contrast in their painting styles interesting and it was refreshing to see them working together.

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My two year old was pleased with herself when she figured out she could use two brushes simultaneously.

6. I encouraged them to create texture and splatter the paint and squeeze it straight from the tube.

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7.The finished piece!

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