With St. Patrick’s Day right around the corner, here is a fun and free activity to do with your wee ones! My first-grader was sent home with a do-at-home assignment to make a leprechaun recently. This got my crafty senses tingling, and I remembered making one years ago out of a toilet paper roll (yet another reuse for those this year!).
The boys and I out sledding.
We finally got that snowfall we’ve been waiting for! The snowfall was about two to three inches, and the boys were just itching to get out there and play in it. Unfortunately, the snow was just too powdery for building snowmen or having a snowball fight. But, it was perfect for making snow angels and for sledding. So, this weekend, our free activity with the boys was just that — hitting the slope!
The finished snowflakes.
Let’s be honest here, our Chicago winter is lacking in the snow department this year, and the kids are complaining! There has not been enough snow to make a snow-child, much less a snowman. My boys are disappointed. They have their snow pants hanging in the closet, waiting for the day they can pull them on and go out and frolic in the snow. It doesn’t hurt that playing in the snow is also the most entertaining FREE thing to do with your kids in the winter, and so on a buy-nothing-new budget, we’re missing the snow too! This weekend, we had a winter storm that just consisted of sleet and then freezing rain. NO SNOW AGAIN! So, the boys and I hunkered down indoors with hot cocoa and made some of our own snowflakes.
Finished play dough!
We started letting our two-year old play with Play Doh a couple of months ago. We were finally over the fear that he would eat it, and we also just had to give over to the fact that he was going to make a mess with it, but he does with everything he plays with. He’s two. Last week when we got the bin-o-Doh out, we found that most of the dough had dried out and realized we were going to need more. As we cannot buy anything new for a year, I was succumbing to the idea that the boys would just have to learn to live with a couple of containers of mixed color crumbly dough for the next year when I remembered that our first grader’s teacher had sent home a recipe for homemade play dough at the beginning of the school year. I had held onto it, as I remember making it when I was a little girl with my mom and sister. It’s great fun to play with, but mixing it up is just as much fun. So, this Saturday, the boys and I got a little messy and had a lot of fun!
Home made play dough i
You probably have all of the ingredients in your pantry right now! This recipe makes the equivalent of about four large containers of store-bought Play Doh. We divided the recipe into two and made two colors, but you really could split it four ways, as it makes so much. Though it doesn’t last for as long, it will keep in airtight container for some time. Here’s what you’ll need:
- 4 cups of flour
- 1 1/2 cups of water
- 1 cup of salt
- food coloring
- Add your food coloring to the water. The more you add, the brighter your dough will be. We found that about 15 to 20 drops worked best.
Mixing it up.
- In larger bowls, mix your flour and salt well. We used our hands for this, which the boys loved.
- Now, make a well in the flour mixture and add the colored water. We began mixing with a spoon, and when most of the water had been absorbed, we dug in and used our hands to squish it and mix the remaining flour into the dough. (If you find that your dough is too dry or too wet, you can add more water or flour, just start off with very small amounts.)
- Break out the cookie cutters and rollers and get playing!
Finished play dough!
You can even make little creatures or statues or whatever you like and bake them at 350 for an hour or let them air dry to keep them forever! This is a great idea for making ornaments at the holidays or just little gifts for the grandparents.
It probably took us about 20 minutes to get it all mixed up, but that is because the boys had fun just mixing the food coloring into the water and playing in the flour! They played with it for at least half an hour, and then we stored it in leftover Play Doh containers and resealable plastic bags to keep it soft. As prices of Play Doh vary from store to store, I figure we saved around $4 or $5 by just making it ourselves. Making it was half the fun! Hope that you have as much fun as we did!