A weekly arty-crafty idea for parents and grandparents to make with little children at home. Easy ideas for the under 5's with low or no cost materials. Friendly chat for those days at home with the kids. All home grown ideas and child tested by our own budding artists !
Hello again. I've been experimenting with food dye for this week's activity so I am typing now with bright blue fingers. Very fetching.
Oh well...such is a mother's lot!
This week we're going to make something more adventurous.
Salt dough bugs and beetles to go with our flowers and garden pictures. This will produce bug models and provide cheap play dough for the days ahead. It's been raining endlessly here so it's been fun doing these in the kitchen with the radio on, waiting for the sun to return. (Some of us have started to forget what it looks like!) Anyway, this is a good one for a rainy day.
This is a very simple recipe. There are several more complex methods, but this one is the easiest and always works. You may want, or need , to spread this over several days. One day to make and bake the bugs, another day to paint them and another day to play with the play dough. (It will keep very happily in the fridge for a week.)
This is what we're aiming for....
This is what you will need....
A small cup for measuring. It doesn't matter what size, as long as you use the same cup for measuring everything.
3 cups of plain flour. Nothing fancy, just the ordinary flour from your cupboard .
1 cup of table salt.
1 cup of cold water.
Spoon for mixing ... then hands.
Lollipopsticks, pastry cutters, rolling pin, ...anything to make shapes and marks. I find a wooden chopstick is the most useful thing .
2 dessert spoons of vegetable oil.
Edible food colouring or flavouring to add scent to the dough.
Poster paint, same as last week.
Baking tray or oven/ microwave proof dish.
Wire cooling rack, if you have such a luxury.
Here's what to do....
1. Using the cup, measure 3 cups of flour, 1 cup of salt and 1 cup of cold water into a mixing bowl.
2. Stir up with a spoon or knife then use hands to make the dough into a ball.
3. Put half of the dough to one side. This is for the bugs.
4. Still in the bowl knead (squish and squash) the other half of the dough with 2 spoons of veggie oil and 2 teaspoons of food colouring. This makes coloured play dough.
You can add a flavouring like mint to give the play dough a fun smell when the children play with it. (Worryingly, my two like the smell of alcohol free rum flavouring.... mmmm!)
5. Put the coloured dough in the fridge in a plastic bag or plastic box. It will keep for at least a week in the fridge.
6. Now return to the plain dough. Knead the dough well then break into 4-6 pieces. Not too small.
7. Make each piece into a different bug.
Snails are the easiest .... roll out a long sausage of dough then curl it round to make a shell shape.
Butterflies need to be cut out of flattened dough.
Beetles have six legs and spiders have eight. (We checked, in the garden, hopefully without killing too many bugs !)
Tease the dough into legs and heads rather than sticking separate bits on. Bolt on bits drop off when cooked.
8. Now the tricky bit......The dough must dry out. Only grown-ups go near the cooker or microwave. The thicker the dough the longer it takes.
In the oven on a lightly greased tray, for 1 hour at only 100 C, gas mark 1/4, 225 F.
OR microwave on low for ten minutes, then 3-4 on medium.
(Cook for longer if thicker. Stop cooking if it bubbles.)
9. Leave to cool completely.
10. Paint your bug with lovely bright colours. Watch out for the black getting everywhere. Leave to dry
All done and well done !
The children can do all of this except the cooking part...safety first.
Aprons are a great help. My mum bought the kids two little aprons that they wore for everything. A brilliant granny gift !
Helpful hint.... Whilst the bugs are and cooking/cooling the children can "help" wash up, then play with the dough from the fridge. Don't bake it. Pop it back in the fridge afterwards to play with another day.
My daughter has just finished a rather expert tortoise, but then she's twelve and much more artistic than her mum.....apparently! You'll probably find that you can't resist having a go. I have made dough flowers and baskets and allsorts in the past. It's really relaxing, so why not ?
All that remains is to display your bugs on the windowsill or perhaps with some lollistick flowers. Really handsome bugs could be wrapped in tissue and given as homemade presents to unsuspecting relatives..
See you next week for more fun. Do send a comment or share what you have made.