This makes a fair amount of fun with ordinary kitchen ingredients. It is a cool thing to do with little kids, or big kids, heck, even your Grandma would like it.

To make this smooth play dough that will resist hardening you will need the following:

2 cups flour
1 cup salt
4 tablespoons cream of tartar
2 cups of water
2 teaspoons of cooking oil
Food coloring of your choice

Mix all ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat until the dough leaves the sides of the pan. Cool the dough and kneed. Make big fun! Don’t let the little ones smashy smashy into upholstery. Keep in an airtight container for more fun on another day!

Hint: If you don’t want the entire batch to be one color, cook it up without the food coloring and separate into blobs once it is cooled. Now you can mix the colors into the clay one at a time. It will take awhile to get the food coloring evenly distributed but you can do it. In the mean time you have your hands in smooshy smooth dough and it feels really good, so who cares how long it takes?

Child Development Through Play

Physical Development

Young children get lots of manipulative practice when they squeeze, roll, pinch, and pound clay.  They gain more control over hand and arm movements and improve their coordination.  Children often incorporate music into their play as they rhythmically repeat their movements... "pound-pound-pound".

Social Development

When a group of children tries to connect all of their clay coils together to form "the longest alligator in the whole wide world," they're learning to cooperate with one another.  Even when children play independently, they often like to share their ideas and experiences with you or other children in the group.  Creating with clay also inspires dramatic play.  Social conversations occur as two "customers" sip tea from clay cups and pretend to munch on plastic cookies.

Emotional Development

Because of the very responsive nature of clay, it's a natural outlet for children to express their emotions.  Children who are feeling angry can relieve their tensions by pounding the substance, pulling it apart, and slamming it back together.  If preschoolers feel frustrated, they can squeeze the clay together and use their hands to control what they want it to do.  Manipulating clay is a wonderful way for nonverbal children to release their emotions.  Older children may deal with their feelings by creating clay objects and using them to act out scenarios and talk about problem situations.  Children gain self-esteem as they express themselves through tactile experiences.

Cognitive Development

Children sharpen their problem-solving skills as they figure out how to divide their dough in order to make a hamburger and a hot dog.  Older children learn to distinguish size, shape, and space, as well as to classify representational items as they create more specific objects.  Messy play also stimulates language development.  Children listen to the sounds they make as their fingers squish the clay, read recipe charts for making play dough, talk about the "green pickles" they just rolled out, and write letters by placing plastic lines together.



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