Friday, August 21, 2009

Birthday Gifts You Can Make - Part One - Play Dough

I have been meaning to write this post for ages, and now that we are off to a birthday party tomorrow and we have been making these gifts the time is right...

We received an invitation to Aven's birthday party one day when we were out. When we walked up to the front door we saw a crayon colored invite scrolled around Quin's forgotten sunglasses, stuck in the door. What fun to find an unexpected invitation for "Casual Backyard Fun"! The thing that most struck me about this invite was the line that stated "Gifts are OPTIONAL & stickers, pencil crayons, or little Dollar store balls, etc. are very welcome - save yer $". This was such a nice and refreshing sentiment. Since we usually make the gifts we give, it made me feel that our effort will be accepted and appreciated.

So, today, we got to work. The first thing we made was play dough. We made two batches, since Quin was in need of some fresh dough. We hope Aven loves it as much as we do.

I was given this recipe by a friend who works in a day care and it brought back the days in high school when I worked in a day care center...

Play Dough
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup salt
1 Tablespoon Alum Powder (I buy it in bulk at a health food store)
2 cups boiling water
3 Tablespoons cooking oil (vegetable)
food coloring

Mix dry ingredients. Add water and oil. Mix well until it forms a dough. Divide into however many ball you need for the number of colors you want. Knead dough balls until they no longer sticky and add food coloring according to the colors you want to make.

I usually make 4 - 6 colors. There are mixing charts on the back of the food coloring package. Here are some colors to get you started...

Pink - 1-2 drops of red
Orange - equal parts red and yellow
Purple - equal parts red and blue
Black - 3 drops red, 3 drops blue, 2 drops green
Brown - 2 drops green, 2 drops red, 6 drops yellow
Turquoise - 1 drop green, 3 drops blue
Lime - 1 drop green, 9 drops yellow

Here is an extensive chart from a cake decorating site here.

My goal is to experiment with nature dyes one day.

We like to make a rainbow of play dough colors for our special friends. We package them in reusable plastic containers that can be used again. We include a copy of the recipe so that the child and their parents can make more play dough. I am looking into glass containers we can give play dough in. I was thinking of canning jars...

Stay tuned for Part Two.


Thistle Cove Farm said...

Thanks for the post; think I'll print out the play dough receipt and make some with some friend's children. FUN!

Serena said...

What a great gift idea! Small canning jars would work great, or you could even sandwich the colors into a big jar using parchment paper to separate.

Re: natural food coloring
I imagine using turmeric or annato would give wonderful vibrant yellow/orange color and dehydrated dried beets would work great for purple. I wonder if you would have to add some Vitamin E oil to use as a preservative for the natural dyes?

Re: birthday gift guidelines
Sebastian was invited to a birthday party a couple weeks ago where we were asked to bring a gift under $10 and preferable something preloved or make a donation to a charity. We thought this was a wonderful idea! We weren't able to stick to the price range but were able to fit the other criteria :)

Today we were at another birthday party with no gift guidelines, which was ok. I liked being able to expose the family to Melissa and Doug wooden toys and a silk play-silk. Sebastian's gifts really stood out among all the other plasticy toys!

Tiffany Teske said...

Thistle, enjoy making play dough, I am so glad you were inspired by my post, your little friends will love it!

Serena, thanks for taking the time to make your comments. All are great! I love the under $10 pre loved gift idea, as well as donating to charity.

I must add that I did talk to the parents of the girl I gave the play dough to and they suggested canning jars and said that there are plastic screw top lids available for canning jars. They were happy with the plastic containers I gave them as they said they can always use more, but I am happy that in the future I can at least cut out half of the plastic... now off to find those lids!

avagdro said...

SO interesting way to play.Thanks for sharing Tiffany Teske .

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