Stimulate your child’s sense of smell and touch, whilst working on strengthening their fine motor skills, when you invite them to decorate Peppermint Play Dough Christmas Trees.
Once all of the afternoon school runs and homework duties are complete, I often set up a sensory based activity for my 3 kids (aged 3, 6 and 8) to play with together. Creating just one activity suitable for all of them cuts down on the preparation and set up of an activity, helps to strengthen their sibling bonds (this doesn’t always go to plan!) and provides a great learning opportunity for my youngest. She responds so much better, when her big brothers introduce her to a new concept.
Playdough is a firm favourite around here with all of my kids and now that I have finally learnt how to cook it properly, we have been experimenting with adding different colours and scents to it.
For some festive themed playdough, we added peppermint essence to it. It produced a lovely fresh and zingy smelling dough. This helped to get us all through that final hour before dinner and gave me chance to prepare it.
How to make Peppermint Playdough
Until recently, I was very wary about cooking play dough. It just looked too complicated and time consuming. But now that I have finally given it a try, I will not be going back to the no-bake version. Yes, it does take a little longer to prepare, but the results are far superior.
2 Cups of all-purpose flour
1 cup of salt
2 tsp cream of tartar
2 tsp green food colouring
1 tsp peppermint essence
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 cup of water
This recipe makes enough for 3-4 children to play with.
Place all of the dry ingredients into a large pan and mix together with a wooden spoon.
Add in the oil and water and keep mixing it all together over a medium heat until it reaches a consistency a bit like thick cake batter.
Play Dough Troubleshooting – if your dough feels too sticky add more flour, if it feels too dry then add more water or vegetable oil.
Keep going with the mixing until a ball of dough starts to form and then tip it out onto a floured work surface.
It really is worth spending a good few minutes kneading the dough now, as this will really help to improve the quality of the dough. The better it is, the longer the kids will play with it.
Invitation to Decorate Peppermint Playdough Christmas Trees
I prepared the play dough whilst the kids were in school, so that once we were ready to start the activity, we could get straight down to it.
Along with the playdough I laid out rolling pins, cookie cutters, stars, beads, buttons and pom-poms and then let the kids loose.
Bella (aged 3) was a little unsure on the rolling out, so she instructed her biggest brother to help her out with this. She could then get on with the much more important job of cutting out and decorating them, using as many of the decorations as she could fit on. Handling of the small materials with her fingers was great for working on her developing fine motor skills.
The boys Christmas Trees were a bit neater and much more methodical, as they worked through using each of the different materials.
I love doing these kinds of activities. It really showcases what the kids can actually make themselves, without feeling the pressure to end up with a perfect result.
Contributor: Nicola of Crafty Kids at Home
More Playdough Activities & Recipes
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