Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Festive Spiced Play Dough

This play dough smells so good, I want to eat it!


  • 1 cup of salt
  • 1 cup of flour
  • a couple of tablespoons of mixed spice
  • 1 teaspoon of cream of tartar
  • 1 cup of water.
  • food colouring
Combine all the dry ingredients together and mix well.  Add the water . Drop the food colouring into the mixture until you have the desired shade you would like.

Then place over a low heat and KEEP STIRRING to produce a nice smooth dough.  An electric hand mixer is great for this part and saves your arm muscles!

When it's nice and thick, take off the heat and transfer onto a sheet of cling film or a plastic container.  When it has cooled enough to handle, knead it until smooth and then leave to cool completely.

Can be stored in an air tight container in the fridge for 1-2 weeks.

I set this out on the table for my little people with some christmas tree cutters of different sizes, some sequins, rollers, rolling pins, etc and allowed them to explore.

They enjoyed decorating the trees and developed their mathematics when talking about positional language and sizes.

Salt Dough Santa Handprint Decorations

I got the inspiration for these handprint Santa decorations from Pinterest over the weekend.  I changed mine slightly, but the ingredients is the same.  It is such a simple activity.

You will need:

1/2 a cup of salt
1/2 a cup of plain flour
1/4 of a cup of water.

Mix the salt and flour together and add water a drop at a time to make a dough.

Knead it and roll into a thick sausage and then cut into equal parts for as many children you have in your care.  I had three toddlers, so cut mine into three.

Then roll each segment out...

Then press each little hand into the dough to leave a handprint impression.
Trim around the edges of the impressions with a knife and make a hole in the top to tie ribbon.  Then place on a baking tray lined with greeseproof paper.  Place in the oven at 100°C for 3 - 4 hours. I left mine for 3 hours but they were still uncooked in the centre of the impression, so I put them on for another 30 minutes.  But when I took them out again and turned them over they were not cooked underneath, so I gave them another hour upside down to bake the underside.
When they were baked they looked like this...
I left them to cool overnight before painting in the morning.  When the paint was dry I added some glittler snow to the trim of Santa's hat and threaded some ribbon through the hole at the top to hang on the tree.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Mincemeat Swirls

I decided to do a chistmassy take on my strawberry swirls and cheese and tomato pin wheels today.

The children all washed their hands and gathered around the table in the kitchen and I carefully unrolled a packet of ready rolled puff pastry, leaving it on the blue sheet.

The children counted the spoons and all took one each.  Then we all took a big spoonful of mincemeat and dolloped it on to the pastry.
We spread it all over the pastry...

Unfortunatley our fingers got so sticky that I didn't take any more photos, but using the blue sheet, I carefully rolled the pastry back up into a sausage and placed it in the fridge for 20 minutes while we all went off to wash our sticky hands.
When it had cooled, I took it out of the fridge and cut it into slices about 2cm in thickness.  The children helped using a pampered chef safety knife.
I then laid them flat on a baking sheet and baked for 25 minutes at 180C.
They came out the oven and cooled on an airing rack before being plated up and sent home for the children to enjoy with their mummies and daddies.  And of course I had to try one (or three!) with a cup of tea when they had all gone home!  They were lovely!  
What would have made them even better would be some sprinkled icing sugar dusted across the tops, or even some icing drizzled over them.  Unfortunately I didn't have any in my cupboard.  I will have to add it to my shopping list for next time!

Festive Sensory Basket

I had lots of left over decorations after putting our tree up at the weekend, so decided it would be a great sensory resource for the children to play with.  I also found a miniature Christmas tree so they could decorate their own too which kept them occupied for ages!


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