Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Making play clay

The last time we went to our pediatrician, she recommended that we let our daughter play with clay so she could develop her fine motor skills. I was a bit hesitant to do this at first as she was still at that stage where she loved putting things in her mouth. Even now, she would draw and paint and we (me or the nanny) would have to sit with her to make sure she didn't start putting the marker tips to her mouth or start biting chalk. I felt it was a bit of a risk to buy any of the popular modelling clay brands for young kids. I mean, even Play Doh is recommended for kids 3 and up. But as it was something that would help her develop, I thought I'll just try to make sure to get something food grade level so even if she ingests it, I wouldn't worry.

Coincidentally, I was browsing through the latest issue of Parenting Early Years magazine on my zinio and read about ecokids usa which develops creative play toys using non toxic and food grade ingredients. Note the description...'exploratory molding dough handmade with natural and organic fruit, plant and vegetable extracts from annatto seed, beets, blueberries, carrots, paprika, purple sweet potato, red cabbage and spinach, flour, salt, cream of tartar, organic rosemary oil, vitamin E oil, soybean oil, coconut oil, potassium sorbate and citric acid.' Wow, it actually sounds good enough to eat. Aside from eco dough, they also have eco paints and eco crayons. I was all excited to buy when I saw the price USD23.99. Aaarrrghh. So expensive. You could buy the same amount of Play Doh (just the compound, no tools) for about USD5.


No choice but to do it the old-fashioned way then which is to make it homemade. I browsed the internet and found several recipes for homemade play clay. Here's the one we used today:

Play Clay

1 cup flour
3/8 cup salt
3/8 cup hot water
Food coloring (optional)

Mix flour and salt in a bowl. Pour water. Stir. Knead for 5 mins. Mix in food coloring if available. Play.
Once done, store in airtight container. Will last for a week.

Homemade play clay and Crayola = Fun

And yes, the moment we handed her the ball of play clay she immediately took a bite out of it, and it did take a bit of work to get her to play with it, 'No this is not food, this is for play', but eventually she got the hang of it and we'll probably be making more batches of this in the future, but with color next time.

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