Hi you guys. Mandy here. Incase you missed it, we’ve been having some insane weather in Cape Town. While I usually leave home in the afternoons with the kidlets to do something outdoorsy, we’ve been laying very, very, very low indoors. My brood of three are pretty happy to entertain themselves, up to a point. It’s nice for them – in between puzzles and marbles and activity books and building sofa fortresses and watching TV and lolling around on the floor staring at the ceiling – to have a bit of pizazz thrown into the mix. These three activities are ones we’ve done so far: simple but so much fun and with really cool end results.
1. Homemade Play-Doh
The first makey-doey thing we did was inspired by my daughter, who is a Plah-Doh fanatic. She’s got lots of lovely Play-Doh sets and all sorts of shape cutters and thingamabobs that go with it, but holy Kanye it’s expensive to keep feeding her habit by buying pots of proper branded Play-Doh. In the past I had tried one or two homemade dough recipes that require cooking, but they turned out to be such a massive schlep that I swore to never try making it again. Until I stumbled across this completely brilliant recipe a few days ago from The Imagination Tree. It’s called ‘The Best Ever No Cook Play-Doh Recipe’ and seriously, I was so chuffed at how well it turned out. My daughter and the baby had fun helping to make it, and the proof was in the pudding: I had five little girls here on a playdate yesterday and it came in super-handy to have four giant tubs (I keep it saved in cleaned ice-cream containers) of pink, blue, purple and green dough for them to play with. You must try it.
2 cups plain flour
2 TBS vegetable oil
1/2 cup of salt (I used ever so slightly less)
2 TBS cream of tartar
Around 1/5 cups of boiling water, added slowly until the texture feels like store-bought Play-Doh
A few drops of glycerine (which adds a bit of shine)
Mix the flour, salt, cream of tartar and oil in a large bowl.
Add the food colouring to the boiled water, and then add this coloured water to the dry ingredients.
Stir until it becomes a sticky dough. Add a few drops of glycerine.
Let it cool down, then knead it really well for a few minutes until all the stickiness has gone. At this stage I had to add more flour until it had that perfect Play-Doh consistency, look and feel.
If you overdo it with adding too much flour, then a drop or two more of boiling water should even it out. Store in airtight containers.
2. Magical Coloured Flowers
We’ve made these a few times, and it always works best with white or really light pink or yellow flowers. There’s no better way to make carnations, which have always given me the creeps, a pretty makeover.
A bunch of white, off-white, light pink or light yellow flowers (chrysanthemums, daisies, carnations, freesias are all lovely)
A few small vases or glass drinks bottles (I like to use those baby coke bottles)
Snip a tiny bit off the end of each flower to freshen it up, and then using a pair of scissors, make a small nip at the bottom of each stem (to help the food colouring to really get sucked up good and proper).
Line up a couple of small vases, drinking glasses or old glass cool drink bottles, add a bit of water until each vessel is around 1/4 way full, and then add a few drops of different coloured food colouring into each vessel – we had green, red, pink and blue, and made a purple colour too. The more colouring you add to the water, the more intense the colour (obvs).
Put a few sprigs into each individual glass vessel, and wait.
My kids were rather impatient, but after about forty minutes you should start to see a bit of a tinge to each petal. After a few hours, there will be a light blush of colour to each flower, and the next morning, the results will be super cool and colourful. It’s a really fun activity that we do fairly often. It’s also fun to let them give a dyed bunch of flowers to a friend, a teacher or granny, as the novelty and ‘I made this’ factor is something they love. That’s my attempt at an artistic pic… Shame.
3. Indoor Rain Clouds
I cannot even explain how much my kids loved this.
Food colouring. You could stick to blue, but we went the whole spectrum.
A large glass vase, jug or drinking glass or other glass container.
Some sort of dropper for the food colouring. We used syringes from the medicine box.
And then you…
Put water into your glass vessel, around 3/4 full.
Put a generous amount of shaving foam on top. These are your clouds.
Very slowly, using your dropper or syringe, add drops of food colouring to the top of your clouds, dropping your coloured droplets over a few different areas.
Wait and watch… It takes a while, but slowly the colouring will drip down and form the most beautiful swirling ‘rainfall’ in the water.
Pic and method from here