Friday, 11 April 2014

Easter play dough recipe and activity

Homemade play dough activity (dye and food coloring free)

I'm so, so excited to share an Easter inspired activity today! We haven't been doing much for Easter around here, and this week, I finally got around to setting up a few Easter based activities, including this orange, homemade play dough that we used to make Easter carrots! 

Welcome to Mommyhood: homemade play dough - a fun orange play dough that is perfect for Easter

First, we made some orange play dough. We don't usually have food dye at home, so we colored it using the natural ingredients that we had around anyway. Making the play dough is always the most fun for the Toddler. He loves to see what happens as we add the different ingredients, and loves to help by pouring and mixing the ingredients. 

After making the play dough, the Toddler went to nap. While he slept, I set up some materials for play dough exploration including buttons, feathers, cookie cutters and a few more objects. When the Toddler woke up, he hesitantly approached our tot school station and first examined the objects that were on the table. 

Welcome to Mommyhood: homemade play dough (Easter version)

Then, he set about putting them into the play dough. Whenever we use play dough, at first, I like to let the Toddler explore on his own. After a little while, I join him and talk to him about what we see and what he is doing. 

After enjoying our homemade play dough exploration for a while, we moved on and made some Easter carrots. 

Easter carrot play dough activity 

I made a simple triangle printable and then used some double sided tape and green tissue to make the carrot greens. The Toddler loved helping me to put the paper onto the tape. He was mystified that it stuck! 

Welcome to Mommyhood: homemade play dough (Easter version)

I helped my son mold the playdough into into carrots. I see that we still need to work on our molding skills, but not too shabby given that the Toddler is still under two. I do have to admit that he was more excited about setting up the printable and throwing the play dough on the floor than making the carrots themselves. He's still more into unguided play dough fun. 

Wait, did you say throwing the play dough on the floor? Yep, the Toddler made up a new game - taking bits of play dough, tossing them onto the floor, and then gathering them up. See! He's gathering them up: 

Welcome to Mommyhood: homemade play dough for Easter

Overall, the play dough was a huge success, and the Toddler did pick up all of the pieces off of the floor without my prompting! I hope I can keep him this way through the teenage years - picking up after himself and all. My husband still hasn't mastered that skill though so I won't be holding my breath.

Interested in our food coloring free recipe? 

Food coloring free play dough recipe

This recipe was really a random creation based on what we had on hand, but it turned out really well! We used: 

1.5 cups whole wheat flour 
1 cup self raising flour 
1.5 cups warm water 
1 package of yeast
2 tablespoons turmeric
1 teaspoon paprika powder
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Making the play dough actually made me think it would make a lovely calzone with a small modification to the spices. 

I liked the yeast in the dough because it made it fluffy and we enjoyed seeing it grow. It won't last very long though - only a few days. You should also be able to freeze it, which would theoretically let it keep for up to several months, but I haven't tried that yet. Also keep in mind that the exact amount of flour and water may vary based on how far below/above sea level you are. I had to play around with amount to get the right texture. 

The other thing I want to point out with the recipe - while it didn't stain my hands or floor, it did stain our very cheap Ikea table that we've been using for tot school activities. While I am not heart broken about it as that table is likely to be replaced in the move anyway, but just in case, I would recommend putting something on the surface you are working on (like cling film). 

Let's talk about the benefits of playing with play dough, for a few moments, shall we? I love that simple play can be used to focus on developing so many fantastic skills. 

The benefits of playing with play dough 

Calming effect

Play dough activities can allow children, especially toddlers who struggle to deal with and express their emotion, a form of stress relief. Feeling the soft and warm texture of the dough (especially this one!) can have a very calming effect. 

Imagination and creativity

In addition to making the play dough, I also set up a play dough station with a few additional objects. I added orange, yellow, and red buttons that we were using as a focal point in this week's tot school activities, along with a few other objects. The Toddler enjoyed pressing them into the dough, and digging them out. 


Measuring the ingredients 

Motor skills and hand eye coordination

Shaping the play dough into a carrot shape gave the Toddler an opportunity to put his little fingers to work! He also got to pour the ingredients for the play dough into our mixing bowl (except for the water), 


The changes in texture and substance that took place as we made the recipe were a perfect opportunity to get some science into our Tot school activities. We watched the effect of adding water to flour (changes in substance), and enjoyed returning to the play dough and seeing that it had risen.


We learned about triangles by (trying to) shape the play dough into a carrot.
We also pressed buttons into the play dough and talked about the circle imprint that was left in the dough.


We practiced the words for: carrot, Easter, triangle, green.

I love when such seemingly simple activities like playing with what essentially is a ball of flour and water can be so educational! These activities marked a very successful and enjoyable day of learning for us! The Toddler had a blast exploring and I had a blast watching him learn! 

I am linking up at these lovely parties: 

Thoughtful Spot Weekly Blog Hop
Thoughtful Spot Weekly Blog Hop

We Love Weekends linky party

and Jolanthe at homeschool creations:  

Homeschool Preschool: Preschool and Kindergarten Community linkup at Homeschool Creations

For more tot school activities and toddler fun, please visit my Toddler activities page. 

Don't forget to stop by my tot school Pinterest board, too: 

Thank you for stopping by!