Thursday, July 4, 2013

Exploring Space - Sparkle Play Dough Recipe

Day 4: Sparkle Play Dough

For those in the USA, Happy 4th of July!  I thought it would be timely to post a recipe for sparkly play dough.  When your dining room table is covered in shimmering stars, you'll understand why I thought this was a particularly patriotic post.

Cost - Low
It is very possible that you'll have everything needed for this project in your cupboard - I did.
1 Cup of cornstarch
I bought from the grocery bulk bin for less than a dollar.
1/2 Cup of Salt
Who doesn't have salt?!
1 Tablespoon of Cream of Tarter
This is iffy.  If you bake a lot of cookies, you probably have this, otherwise it's easy to find in the baking or spice aisle.
1 Tablespoon Baby Oil
Most parents probably have a bottle of baby oil tucked away from a random baby shower gift basket.
Loose Glitter
I freely admit that this was in the back of my makeup drawer from my college days, but it should be available in the makeup aisle.

I bought a giant bag of play dough cutters for $2 at a garage sale a few weekends ago (score!), but you could also raid your Christmas cookie cutters.  

Messiness - Medium
Anything involving glitter gets a 'medium' rating at the minimum.
This project will dirty a bowl, and might leave a little glitter on the table, but your child should be fairly clean when they're through playing.
I placed the dough in a Pyrex container with a tight lid so that it wont dry out overnight.

Prep Time - High
I was lucky that William napped this morning as I didn't get around to preparing the dough the night before.  Usually I'd encourage parents to let the kids help measure things out, but this project includes boiling water so I felt more comfortable doing it while Hannah was not around.
This recipe was also a little finicky.  I ended up slowly adding a little more cornstarch while kneading the dough until I got it to the consistency I wanted.  Had Hannah been around, she would have wanted to play with it right away and it would have been a sticky mess.
Next time I prepare this dough I feel confident I could do it quicker, but the first try involved lots of trial that took longer than I anticipated.

Educational Value - Medium
This was a great tactile activity.  Comparable to the sensory box, but with a 'messy' twist that kids love. I gave Hannah star cookie cutters in three sizes (small, medium, and large), as well as a circle (planets or sun), and two people shapes (because boys AND girls can be astronauts!).  She played with this for the longest time.  She made lots of stars, sorted them by size, and then counted.  I did some simple math with her ("I have 3 small stars and 2 medium stars.  How many stars do I have total?") so we squeezed some counting into it as well.
There was lots of imaginative play with her astronaut cut outs flying through space, as well as some troubleshooting when she was figuring out how to pick up the stars without smushing them.

Expansion Ideas:
  • Creating dough balls of different colors and seeing what happened when you combined colors.
  • Adding essential oils would add another layer of sensory experience to the activity.    
  • Provide different shaped balls (marbles or bouncy balls) and discuss if different sized asteroids create different sized craters.  
  • You could also use the figurines or stars from the sensory box.

Come back tomorrow for more SPACE themed toddler / preschool activities.  Make sure to follow me on Pinterest and check out my Space themed board.

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  1. I am so in awe of you and Hannah. I try to think of fun things to do, but really struggle (especially now I'm pregnant and suffering spd!) she's 20 months and I can't get her learning colours at all. She now knows what a circle is, so that's something! Hannah is doing amazing, you must be so proud. And I'm sure William will be just as bright and eager :-)

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  3. This is a very interesting technique for dealing with young children. I think I should try this with my son.

  4. I love the shared idea! It's really easy to explore our space with the help of various games. Play Dough is an excellent way to enhance certain skills.

  5. This was a really great contest and hopefully I can attend the next one. It was alot of fun and I really enjoyed myself. 192.168 l l




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