Homemade Calming Lavender Play Dough
So, this is not my typical recipe. I wouldn't recommend you make this for dinner. Its not really lunch box material. But, it is a recipe that all you mamas and papas can appreciate: Homemade Calming Lavender Play Dough.
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I put on my "teacher hat" when creating this recipe. I know kids. As someone who has taught preschool for 16 years and a mom for almost 5 years (excuse me while I go and weep in the corner for a moment), I know there has been a time when you wish that the kids you love oh-so dearly were…. ummmm, a bit calmer.
Maybe it is when you are trying to get dinner made. Or when you've had a terrible day at work and keeping a cool and calm head for two more minutes is just not going to happen. Or when the kids are at one another's throats yet again. Regardless of the why, every parent and caregiver out there needs a few items in their "bag of tricks" that can engage and stimulate their children. And if you can calm them down a tick or two, well that is just an added bonus! That is the exact reason that I started making homemade calming lavender play dough.
Play dough is one of those magical inventions that engages children for a good chunk of time. They see the endless possibilities of it, and play dough evokes incredible creativity in children. As a preschool teacher, play dough is one of my favorite activities to offer my students (especially when they need something to help them get engaged). I’ve heard many parents and caretakers also sing the praises of play dough, but are often turned off of this amazing activity by the sheer cost of it. The glorious thing about play dough is that it is so wonderfully easy to make and the homemade play dough is much softer, malleable, and lasts longer (when properly stored) than most of the store bought kinds. My coworkers and I have been making play dough for our students for years and have perfected the absolute best play dough recipe.
However, play dough can be taken a step further and become not only an engaging activity for growing little minds, but also a calming one. By incorporating the calming aromas of lavender into your child’s play dough, you are providing several of your child’s senses the relaxing calming stimulation he/she needs to mellow out for a few and/or get their creative wheels turning.
If you are worried about your little one trying to eat this play dough, have no fear! It is entirely edible. Yes, even the lavender. Lavender is in many amazing dishes (have you tried my lavender lemonade popsicles?), but I recommend you buy "culinary grade" lavender blossoms for this play dough just to make sure they are as healthy and clean as can be should your little one use their afternoon activity as an afternoon snack as well!
Makes one large batch of play dough
4 Cups All-Purpose Flour (this is a great way to use up flour that you may no longer use for cooking)
1 cup salt
4 cups water
1/2 cup cream of tartar
10 tablespoons oil (you can use whatever kind you have on hand, as long as it is in liquid form)
1/4 cup culinary grade dried lavender flower buds (optional)
In a medium sauce pan, mix together the flour, salt, water, cream of tartar, and oil.
Over low-medium heat and continually stirring, cook the mixture until a ball of play dough is formed and is no longer sticky.
Remove play dough from sauce pan and transfer to a smooth, clean surface (like a cutting board or smooth counter top). Allow the play dough to cool for 10-15 minutes.
Once play dough has cooled down a bit, flatten it out a bit with the palm of your hand. Drop the essential oil onto the surface of the play dough. Using your hands, fold the play dough over the spot where you dropped the oils and knead the oil into the dough for a minute or two. Add more oil if you like.
Once the oil is kneaded into the play dough, sprinkle about half of the dried lavender buds (if using) over the play dough and knead that into the play dough with your hands as well (this is a great step to get your kids involved with). Sprinkle the rest of the dried lavender buds into the play dough until the flower buds are evenly distributed throughout the play dough.
Allow the play dough to finish cooling. Once it is at room temperature, transfer to an air tight container for storage.
Play dough should last a month (or longer) when stored in air tight container between uses.
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