Tuesday, June 10, 2014

A Fun Tactile Activity

The school year is winding down and everyone is anxious to get to some summer fun. This is a quick, easy, colorful, minimally messy activity with modeling dough that works great whether you're still in class and needing to get the wiggles out, or you're looking to make some fun summer memories. I tested this activity with my nephews and we had a blast!

What you'll need:
Food Coloring
Several Bowls
Plastic Wrap

Cooking Oil
Rubber Gloves
A Mixing Spoon

Step 1 - Grab your Recipe for Homemade Modeling Dough
For this activity, I took an online recipe for baked Christmas Ornaments and adapted it. You may already have a baked ornament recipe that you like, but if not I'd recommend either of the following:

Wikihow: http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Christmas-Ornaments-with-Dough
Allrecipes: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/ornament-dough/

Step 2 - Make the Dough
Use the recipe of your choice and follow its directions for ingredient amounts. Mix together the dough until the ingredients are just wet enough to form a ball. DON'T do the kneading step yet. When mixing the dough you can use a spoon, however I prefer using my hands. I feel like a get a more consistent dough that way. If you choose to use the hand-mixing method, I recommend you rub your hands with some cooking oil first. It'll save them from feeling all salty and dried out.

Next, break the dough into smaller balls, one ball for each color you'd like to make. I decided to go with the 4 primary colors so I broke the dough into 4 equal parts.

Now it's time to add some color! Add your food coloring to each ball and then knead each individual ball according to your recipe directions. The different recipes I looked at recommended 10 minutes. Now I know 10 minutes is a long time, but it's well worth it and here's why: First, kneading is an important step in making the dough the consistency you need for modeling. Second, it saves future messes, because once the color is kneaded into the dough it doesn't rub off on anything else! Warning: When you initially add the food coloring to the dough, you may wish to wear gloves to prevent the food coloring from getting on your hands. However, once the coloring is worked into the dough (through the kneading), the dough absorbs the color and doesn't get on anything else. Hooray!

Once you're done kneading the dough, wrap each ball in plastic wrap and put in the fridge until ready for use.

Step 3 - Let the Creativity Begin!
Now it's time to turn your kids loose to have some fun! My nephews liked the different color choices and decided to make some monster faces.

Special Notes: 
  • The dough might be a little sticky so you may want to put down some protective plastic. Or, they can make their creations on top of wax paper for easy transfer to the baking sheet.
  • These art creations will need to baked later, so you'll want to make sure the kids don't make them too thick.

Step 4 - Baking the Dough
After all the creativity has happened, it's time to bake the dough. Cover a cookie sheet in tinfoil or wax paper, place your students' creations on top, and bake according to your dough recipe. If your students' creations are thicker than a cookie, it will probably need a longer bake time than recommended. At that point you'll just need to watch the dough carefully and take it out when it's done. As you can see from the pictures below, the color isn't diminished with baking.

Step 5 - Enjoy!
Once your students' creations have cooled, they are ready to be shown off to the proud parents (for display-not eating!).

I hope your students have as much fun as my nephews did. I'm a very biased Auntie, but I think these monster faces turned out pretty cute.


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