We continued our simple homemade play fun this week cooking up an old microwave playdough recipe and then exploring with the senses using recycled bubble wrap!
Homemade playdough is such a versatile resource and an easy chemical free solution to the one sold in the shops. When you make it yourself you know exactly what is in it and that it is safe for older babies and toddlers to explore with inquisitive fingers and mouths.
We took our batch outside for a little fun this week and the twins enjoyed collecting leaves to press into their playdough creations.
Patty pans, straws and feathers proved exciting tools as well….
Tara began offering our magpie friend some playdough shortly after I took this photo…we talk to them every morning!
Want to try making your own playdough but dread the burnt saucepan and cleaning up afterwards?
I use a microwave playdough recipe that I made often when working in child care…no burnt saucepans I promise and it works well….you just have to make sure you don’t overcook it or it will go crumbly but follow the simple instructions below and you will be making and playing before you know it …and saving money at the same time!
How to make microwave playdough
What you need:
This makes quite a large batch but it will keep for weeks in the fridge. If you would prefer a smaller batch to start with just halve the recipe amounts below.
- 2 cups plain flour
- 2 tbsp oil
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup salt
- 1 tbsp cream of tartar (to help it keep longer)
- food colouring or edicol dye
What you need to do now:
- Mix all dry ingredients in a microwave bowl or casserole dish, I usually use a clear pyrex dish as it allows me to see how the mixture is progressing while cooking.
- Add water and oil and if you are wanting to add some colour sprinkle in a few drops of food colouring or a sprinkle of edicol paint colour dye at this stage and stir or whisk well. You don’t need to remove all the lumps as you will be stirring a few more times throughout the cooking process anyway.
- Cook in microwave for around 3 minutes – at the 3 minute mark carefully pull your dish out and give a good stir bringing down off the sides as well , it will look something like the consistency below after this amount of time.
- Put back in the microwave and cook in bursts of 40 secs – stir each time until the mix thickens, then forms a ball. When it has come together well but is still moist in places in the middle remove from the microwave , turn out onto a floured board.
- Rest for 5 minutes to finish the cooking process and to cool a little then knead well. If you cook for too long you will get tough and crumbly playdough – it can be a bit of trial and error as all microwaves are different but once you have made a few batches you will be a pro and know exactly when to take it out for perfect soft, squishy dough!
Now you are ready for play – I decided to keep this batch plain and we had fun poking and making patterns with some gumnuts we collected on a nature walk but you can of course add colour to your dough if you prefer!
You can also add glitter or challenge the senses by trying my eggshell playdough
or this sago version
! Sometimes it’s fun to work those fine motor skills and encourage older children to knead the dyes in themselves and marvel as the colours begin to appear – I call this my Magic Marble Playdough.
You’ll find lots of inspiration for using playdough in different ways all throughout my blog as it is one of my favourite resources for play and learning!
We also tried some bubble wrap painting as I had some leftover from a parcel I received last week….this again was to mainly help Ruby grow accustomed to different textures.
Very simple…..just stick some bubble wrap to the table and pour paint on…some children will need encouragement to run their fingers over the bubble wrap as it is a new experience. To my surprise Ruby enjoyed this activity just as much as Tara although she was cautious at first……
Then dived in and there was lots of squishing bubbles and trying to make them pop! It became a game to cover all of the bubbles with paint and provided lots of opportunity to talk about colours and explore with the senses.
I kept the bucket of water close by for Ruby to wash her hands whenever she felt uncomfortable with the level of mess on her hands. This is something I also make sure to do when working with any group of young children as there are always some who prefer to be able to clean the mess off then start again. Everyone has different levels of sensory sensitivity.
Tara loved stretching toward the middle and at one stage tried to climb up!
Ruby wasn’t quite as adventurous but did enjoy working her way around the edge of the table….
If you want to keep a picture of their fingerpainting they make lovely prints for the kids to look at later ….ours will be going toward the Christmas wrapping paper stash! Just lay some paper face down over the paint and press down with the child’s hands (then you get bonus handprints!) and peel off carefully….you end up with this….
We finished off the morning with a sit down for some snacks and a drink!
More ideas and support below!