Thursday, July 11, 2013

Magic Playdough for Back to School

I'm Terri Izatt from KinderKapers and I am guest blogging with Jennifer today.  I am so excited to be here and share with you some of the things I do to get ready for the first day of school.

KinderKids are so excited to be in school and so scared all at the same time.  I do not start the first day with names on their tables (even in second and third grade I let them pick their spot that first day).  I have them put their stuff on a chair and then come join me on the carpet.  We sing, I take roll, I tell them how exciting this year is going to be.  I try to weave a little magic into those first few minutes and then I try to keep their hands busy while I finish with all that first day of school busy-ness that must get done.

What magical thing are their hands doing you may ask....playdough.  Color changing, SURPRISE!   Playdough.

My Favorite Recipe
* 1 cup flour
*1 cup water
*2 tsp cream of tarter
*1/3 cup salt
*1 Tbs vegetable oil
*food coloring

Mix together all the ingredients in a 2 quart saucepan.  Cook over low/medium heat, stirring constantly.  Continue stirring until mixture thickens and forms a ball.   Remove dough, finish kneading into a ball, and let cool.  Add the food coloring to a hole, hidden in the playdough.

Now for the story telling and magic.  I really "act" it up telling them how magical their year in Kindergarten is going to be.  How wonderfully exciting things will be and how they will never know what new surprises are waiting for them each morning.  Then I pass out the baggies of playdough.  I encourage them to squish it around (keeping it inside the bag).  Surprise!  It changes color right before their eyes.  I let them take it out of the baggie (when the color is pretty well mixed), and throw the messy baggie away.  The next few minutes are for me to finish morning stuff (I never seem to be able to get that done quickly), organize information I have gathered from moms as they dropped them off (like do they ride the bus because all Kinders think they ride the bus...unless they actually ride the bus, then they swear they are being picked up).  This year I am excited about adding something new to this creative activity.  I am going to have my kiddos make something with their playdough and share what they made before I have them put it back into a baggie.  That will give them a chance to get to know each other before a little bit before they have to put the playdough away.

Just a few tips:
*each batch makes about 4 good-sized balls of playdough
*doubling the recipe is fine, but it takes muscles to stir more than a double batch.
*I like adding the salt to the hot water, then the cream of tarter, the oil, and last the flour.  The salt dissolves into the water and the texture of the playdough is very smooth.
*gel food coloring seems to be less messy
*more drops, the deeper the color....the more impressed your kinders will be.

Now the only question I have I let them take it home or have it waiting for them the next day.  It WILL go home.  I don't want it hanging around my classroom too long, I have other clay, playdough, and silly putty to use at work stations.


  1. I've used this recipe with Girl Scouts and Red Cross Babysitting classes. The kids love making it! :D