Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Cornflour and conditioner play dough

 I keep seeing a type of home made pay dough mentioned, which uses cornflour and hair conditioner.  Since we finally abandoned the last batch of regular home made play dough (a year of use, stored in a tub in the fridge!) we decided to have a go making some.  Even though the boys are now 4 and 6, they still enjoy and benefit from lots of tactile sensory play, and play dough is fantastic for imaginative play too.

The only ingredients required are cornflour (corn starch if you're reading this in America) and hair conditioner.  I bought some raspberry scented conditioner from Aldi for the purpose.  I didn't know what proportions to use, but this made for a good experiment for the boys.  We started out with about two cups of cornflour, and gradually added conditioner while the kids squished the mixture with their hands.  This dough doesn't require cooking, so is a good one that kids can make from start to finish with little adult help.  Too wet, add more cornflour, too dry add more conditioner.

Toby loved his pink dough, which incidentally made the whole kitchen smell delicious, but Ollie wanted blue, so when we made up a batch for him I added in blue food colouring.  I have found in the past that Lakeland blue food dye gives a blue that you would expect from shop bought play dough, while our experiments with supermarket brands resulted in grey or greenish colours.  The Lakeland dye did however result in blue stained hands with this recipe, which we haven't experienced with our normal salt, oil, flour and cream of tartar recipe - perhaps the cooking of the old recipe binds the dye more firmly.

As well as the two basic ingredients, we also added in glitter after we had made the dough.  The dough was great fun to shape and roll out, and the boys enjoyed playing with it using cookie cutters.  It didn't behave like normal dough however when we tried to use play dough toys, getting stuck in the moulds and gumming up our play dough garbage truck (that took a bit of scrubbing to fix).

On the plus side, it left our skin feeling lovely and conditioned, and any that dropped on the floor seemed far easier to clean up than normal play dough.  As it dries out it just turns back into crumbly cornflour, which is easily swept or vacuumed up.

I don't expect this would keep for the months and months that our normal dough does, as it is far less oily and dries out rapidly, but it's so quick to make and a new batch would mean the chance to try a new conditioner scent.  Coconut anyone?

If you check the ingredients on the conditioner you choose carefully, this play dough should be suitable for children with gluten and wheat allergy to handle.

If using with small children be vigilant they don't start snacking on it as it does smell appealing.

I would recommend using a plastic table cover and messy mat if you have nice furniture or carpets.

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