August 7, 2011
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As summer winds down and planned activates wane, try this recipe for homemade clay. Add essential oils and color to make it a more kinesthetic experience. If your children have trouble with letters or numbers, have them shape the clay in uppercase or lower case letters. Stipple, score or otherwise texture the characters and let them dry for a three dimensional representation of the alphabet. For more ideas, contact me!
Kids of all ages will have hours of aromatic fun with this soft, long-lasting dough.
- Mix 1 cup flour, 1/4 cup salt, 2 tablespoons cream of tarter, 1 tablespoon oil, and 1 cup water in a medium-sized pot until well blended.
- While stirring continuously, cook the mixture in the pot over medium-low heat until it forms a thick dough that is no longer sticky (approximately 5 minutes). You can tell it is done when it no longer sticks to the sides of the pan, but forms a clump of dough in the middle of the pan. (*Helpful hint: the dough will become fairly hard to stir before it gets done, so an extra set of hands to help stir may be useful.)
- Remove the dough from the pan and place on waxed-paper. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes.
- Divide the dough into four equal pieces.
- For each of the four pieces of dough, add approximately 10 drops of different colored food coloring, and knead until the color is well blended into the dough.
- Add approximately 8-10 drops of different essential oils or blends to each of the four pieces of dough and knead for about 60 seconds. If you find the scent of the dough is not strong enough, add a few more drops of the essential oil or blend. (*Helpful hint: to make sure both the food coloring and the essential oil or blend stay in the dough and don’t drip off, create a well in the top of the piece of dough with your finger, drop the coloring or oil in the well, fold the dough so it closes over the well opening, then continue to knead the dough as normal.)
- Store each piece of dough in a clean, 4 oz. plastic container, Ziplock® bag, or other airtight container.
- Create fun labels for your containers using sheets of inkjet or laser labels (such as Avery®). You can either color these by hand using markers, stamps, or paints, or you can use your software that has pre-formatted label settings (most word-processing software does) and create labels on your computer and print them.
- Try creating scents that match the color of the play clay you created. For example, try using peppermint oil for red or white, pine for green, wintergreen or birch (both have a root beer-like aroma) for brown, spruce for blue, orange oil for orange, and so forth.
- Make two batches and shape the clay into the letters of the alphabet. Before they dry, lightly stipple, score or mark the letters in varying ways. Once they dry, have your child put them in order, group them into consonants and vowels or spell simple words.
This and other recipes using essential oils are available at http://www.aromatools.com