Today, Tuesday November 20, 2018,  is World Children’s Day and there’s no better way to celebrate than by spending one-on-one time with the children in your life.

But at For Families we know that it isn’t easy to find fun, simple, and cheap activities – especially on a Tuesday night after work! – so we’re Challenging you to #GoBlue for World Children’s Day by making super simple blue play dough with your kids. It will take less than 5 minutes to set up and 6 KGS ($0.08).

Below we’ve given you two super simple play dough recipes, play ideas and tips, and how-to pictures for every step of the way. Check out our Facebook and Instagram accounts – @ForFamiliesKG – to see our family’s play dough playtime, get more ideas, and share pictures and videos from your family!

Recipe #1: Super simple blue play dough

This recipe is super simple, with only 4 ingredients that almost everyone either already has at home or is able to buy from the local corner store and pharmacy.

Cost per batch: 6 KGS                          Sabina hand and star               

Time to prepare: 3 to 5 minutes

Ingredients:
2 cups flour
½ cup salt
1 cup warm water
2 teaspoons zelyonka (зелёнка) or blue food coloring

Step 1: In a medium bowl, mix together the flour and salt.
Step 2: Separately, mix together the water and zelyonka (or blue food coloring).
Step 3: Pour the water/zelyonka mix into the flour/salt mix and start to mix together with a spoon. Tip: your kids can get involved by pouring in the liquid and mixing the ingredients together.

Semetei making playdough
Step 4: Knead the dough until the flour is fully absorbed. If the dough is sticky, keep on adding flour until it is soft and smooth. Your kids may want to help you with the kneading process too.
Step 5: Play! This play dough recipe doesn’t keep well for beyond a day. But you can cook your kids’ play dough creations so they can keep them as toys. Heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and cook for up to 15 minutes. Let your creations cool for at least 10 minutes before playing with them. Your kids may enjoy painting, drawing on, or making sculptures from their cooked toys.

Recipe #2: Stove-top blue play dough

This recipe involves a little bit more time, a few more ingredients, and a stove top. But the play dough will have a smoother texture and last longer than Recipe #1 (if you keep it stored in plastic bags or containers).

Cost per batch: 7 KGSSabina Rolling Pin

Time to prepare: 15 to 20 minutes

Ingredients:
2 cups flour
¾ cup salt
2 cups warm water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons zelyonka (зелёнка) or blue food coloring

Step 1: In a medium pot, stir together the flour and salt.
Step 2: Mix the water, vegetable oil, and zelyonka (or blue food coloring) into the pot.
Step 3: Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly.
Step 4: Once the dough has thickened and begins to form into a ball, remove it from the heat. Let it cool.
Step 5: Once the dough is cool, knead it for 2 to 3 minutes.
Step 6: Play!
Step 7: Store your playdough in airtight plastic bags or small plastic containers – it will keep for up to 3 months.
Alternatively, you can cook your kids’ playdough creations so they can keep them as toys. Heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and cook for up to 15 minutes. Cool for at least 10 minutes. Your kids may enjoy painting, drawing on, or making sculptures from their cooked toys.

Play dough playtime: activity ideas and tips

Playtime isn’t just fun, it’s also hugely important to your children’s growth and development. Here are some activities you can do to help your children have fun and learn at the same time:

Activity 1: Sensory Play (Gross motor skills)

Especially for 1, 2, and 3 year olds, simple sensory play – seeing, feeling, smelling, tasting, and hearing the world around them – can help them better understand the world and develop their gross motor (physical) skills.

Feel: Have them squish their hands into the playdough ball or step on it (feel). If they’re able to speak, ask them to describe how it feels (Squishy? Slimy? Wet? Cold? Warm?)

See: Ask your children what the playdough looks like – what color is it? What texture is it? If your children are counting, ask them to count how many fingers and toes they see in the playdough after they’ve put their hands and feet in it. If they’re not counting yet, you can point out the fingers and toes to them.

Hear: Hold the playdough up to your children’s ears while you squish it with your hands or pop air bubbles inside of the playdough (hear). This should make soft squishing sounds or “pops!” that your kids can hear and recreate themselves.

Smell and taste: Have the kids smell the playdough and ask them what it reminds them of (it will smell somewhat like bread) – but if you used zelyonka for the dye, don’t let them eat it! For little ones who like to put everything in their mouths, you may want to avoid the smelling altogether if you used zelyonka, as they may see this as an invitation to eat the playdough. If you used food coloring in your playdough – go ahead and let them smell and eat it, the playdough is fully edible!

Sabina Star

Activity 2: How much? How many? (Numeracy)

You can help your children develop numeracy – concepts of quantity and counting – with the playdough. For example, you can break off a small piece of playdough and ask your child which piece is bigger and which piece is smaller. If your child is too young to know the difference, you can show him or her which is bigger and smaller. You can also divide the playdough into piece of various sizes and ask your child to put them in order from smallest to largest (generally, this activity is appropriate for children starting around 3 or 4 years).

For children who can count, divide the play dough into 5, 10, or 20 pieces and ask your child to count how many there are (or count along with your child if he or she isn’t yet counting on her own). For younger children, you may want to only count up to 5 or so. For older children, you can break apart as many pieces as they can count to.

Activity 3: Let’s make letters! (Literacy)

You can help your children learn the alphabet – or spell, if they’re able to – by making letters out of the playdough, supporting their literacy learning. If you have letter-shaped cookie cutters, this is the easiest way to make playdough letters. If not, you can roll the playdough into noodles and shape them into letters. Playdough letters may be hard to maneuver while the playdough is wet, so you may want to bake a playdough alphabet and play with them and spell words after they’ve cooked and cooled (see cooking instructions in recipes 1 and 2, above).

For those who don’t yet know the alphabet, you can use these to teach them letter (you could also paste magnets to the letters and put them on your refrigerator). For those who are already spelling, make letters to spell words they’re learning like their names, colors, or animals.

Activity 4: Unstructured fun

The best part of playdough is just squishing, mashing, rolling, and getting creative with it. Give your kids a few tools – a rolling pin, cookie cutters, forks, spoons – and let them have fun with it however they want. Give them the chance to direct their own play; this helps them use their imaginations and creativity. As an added benefit, this is a time for you to get dinner ready or, even better, relax with a cup of tea while they’re having fun.

If your children are 2 or 3 years old, keep an eye on them while they play to make sure they don’t eat the playdough or put it in their mouths. You could set them up near you on the kitchen floor while you cook dinner.

Activity 5: Decorate! (Fine motor skills)

Eventually, your kids will get bored with the playdough. But the fun isn’t over yet! Take their creations, put them on a baking sheet, and bake them in the oven for 15 minutes. You’ll get hardened mini-sculptures to decorate. Once they’ve cooled, you can give them back to your kids along with markers, paint, glitter and glue, or any other craft materials your kids like and show them how to decorate their sculptures.

Our children – 2 and 3.5 years old – are learning about emotions now, so we poked holes in the playdough circles our son made, baked them, and then drew happy faces, sad faces, surprised faces, etc. on them – and then made an “emotions necklace” for them to use to express themselves. We also made stars for our daughter to hang from the ceiling and a herd of elephants for them to count.

What creative ideas did you and your kids come up with? Share pictures, ideas, and comments with us on Facebook or Instagram (@ForFamiliesKG) – be sure to include the hashtags #GoBlue and #ChoguuOinoibuz on your posts!

Semetei and Sabina