Saturday, October 29, 2011

Halloween Crafts!

Hi all! As some of you may already know, I have a play doh recipe in the recipe file (lower left hand column-- and it is alphabetized!) that you can use for making homemade play doh with many different alternative flours (millet, sorghum, corn, etc). You can use this recipe for the craft project I am going to describe below! Or you can use this one for baking soda and starch playdoh--- it calls for corn starch, but you can use tapioca starch, potato starch or even arrowroot starch. You may need to play around with your burner temp depending on the starch you choose, particularly with arrowroot (very temperature finicky). Do not eat these. Even if the ingredients are safe, they will taste awful. You have been warned.

Festive Fall Trees

1. Take a nature walk and find a nice branch that you can either put in a vase or in a flower pot (hold in place with rocks, etc) and has many little off shoot branches-- you need them for hanging your creations!

2. Assemble cookie cutters with a fall or Halloween theme and a few narrow straws.

3. Make your playdoh using your recipe of choice. If you plan on painting your creations, you do not need to add food coloring. If you do not want to paint your creations, make some fun Halloween/fall colors for your playdoh. For extra fun, if not baking the playdoh shapes, you can mix GLITTER into the playdoh. Delightful!

4. Using rolling pins, roll out the prepared playdoh about 1/4 inch thick (or if you are like our house, have your two year old roll it out to her own discretion since she evidently knows best. Thicker playdoh will take longer to dry however.)

5. Cut out various Halloween/fall shapes with your cookie cutters and assemble completed shapes on a clean baking sheet, covered or uncovered (using parchment paper, etc). Using a straw, make small holes in each shape so that ribbon or yarn can be threaded through once dry.

6. Once finished, if using the playdoh recipe in Baby B's recipe file, you can actually bake it at about 325 F until shapes are slightly puffy and firm. Like yucky tasting, salty cookies. If using the recipe for the link above, depending on thickness, playdoh may need to be left out for 1-2 days until completely hard.

7. Once shapes are hard, you can decorate if desired! Use acrylic or tempera paints to paint the shapes-- a sponge applicator might be helpful for small or unsteady (i.e. mama had too much caffeine. . .) hands. You can also glue on buttons, ribbon, etc. Whatever works and whatever sticks! Allow shapes to dry.

8. Once your shapes are decorated to your liking and all decor has dried, cut 4-6inch pieces of festive ribbon (I like the thinnest grosgrain ribbon--- 50cents to a dollar for a spool at Joanns!). Thread each ribbon piece through hole in each shape and knot the ends together.

9. Hang your shapes on your branch (remember our nature walk?)

10. Enjoy your happy Halloween/happy harvest decoration!!

***** For extra Thanksgiving fun. . . . you can make all Thanksgiving shapes-- acorns, leaves, pumpkins, etc. Just be sure shapes are wide enough to be able to write on. Have each child choose a shape and write his/her name on it. Then have the child (adults can do this too!) tell you one thing they are thankful for this Thanksgiving (you can do a little intro with describing in age appropriate ways what it means to be thankful and giving examples of how to show thankfulness). Have the child write or have an adult or older child write for the child what each of them is thankful for, one item per shape. On  Thanksgiving, before or after dinner, the whole family can go around and read the shapes, telling what each is thankful for this Thanksgiving.


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