Recipe for homemade activity doughKids love to squish and play, so it’s fun to incorporate dough into your lesson plans — sculpt your way through science facts or squish into some really cool math lessons. Over the years, I’ve done this with my classes and the kids always say it’s their favorite way to learn… what kid doesn’t love squishing in dough? Let’s face it, YOU still love it! It makes learning feel like play, and it really holds the kids’ attentions. Dough is also a great addition to art and other classroom centers, and it’s fun for rainy-day recesses and after-school programs. Open up a whole new world of learning, creativity, and play for kids — the only limit is their imaginations.

Idea 1: Homemade Activity Dough

This recipe is so easy to make and it offers endless classroom possibilities. It was passed down to me by my teacher friend, Sandra G., who taught K-2nd grade for over 30 years. Thanks so much for sharing this simple, kid-favorite recipe!

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 Cup Flour
  • 1⁄4 Cup Salt
  • 2 tsp. Cream of Tartar
  • 1 Cup Water
  • 1 Tbs. Cooking Oil
  • 1 tsp. Food Coloring
  • Plastic Storage Bags

Step-by-Step Instructions:

  1. Mix all ingredients together in a large non-stick pot.
  2. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly (about 5 minutes), until a lumpy ball forms in the center of the pot.
  3. Remove the lumpy ball from the pot and knead until smooth on a lightly floured surface… BE CAREFUL, IT’S HOT!
  4. Store dough in an air-tight bag until you’re ready to use.
  5. Repeat all steps above for each individual color of dough you desire, or skip the food coloring altogether for a solid white dough.

In addition to using dough in activity centers and during lessons, it’s also a fantastic start to gifts for parents for special occasions or holidays. Sculpt or cut (using cookie cutters) the dough into fun shapes, let it air dry, then your class can paint it or glue embellishments to it… think Christmas ornaments, refrigerator magnets, or sculptures. My oldest son is 18 and I still have a little gingerbread dough man he made in kindergarten hanging on my Christmas tree… LOVE it!

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recipe for edible chocolate modeling clayIdea 2: Chocolate Sculpting Clay

Clay is a great addition to art, cooking, and other classroom centers. The coolest benefit of chocolate sculpting clay? It’s edible and very tasty, too! My kids go bonkers when we make this edible clay, so I save it for a special occasion. Their favorite part is when I announce, “Ok, lesson’s over… go ahead and eat your creation!”

What You’ll Need:

  • 10-oz. Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips or White Chocolate Chips
  • 1⁄3-Cup Light Corn Syrup
  • Food Coloring
  • Wax Paper

Easy Step-by-Step Instructions:

  1. Put the chocolate chips into a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high for just one minute.
  2. Remove the bowl from the microwave and stir the melting chocolate to smooth out lumps. Put the chocolate back into the microwave for another minute, then remove and stir. If needed, alternate between stirring and microwaving until the chocolate is completely melted and stirred smooth.
  3. Once the chocolate is melted, stir in the corn syrup.
  4. Spread the mixture out on wax paper, keeping it about 1⁄2″ thick and let it set overnight. By morning, it will have stiffened and become pliable… ideal for sculpting!

FUN TIP: For colored clay, use the white chocolate chips and stir in a few drops of food coloring.

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