What you'll need:
- A BIG handful of dandelions.
- 1 cup of boiling water.
- 2 cups of flour.
- ⅓ cup of salt (add more as needed).
- 2 tablespoons of baby oil (substitution: vegetable oil).
- 1-2 tablespoons of cream of tartar (Substitution: white vinegar. Like cream of tartar, white -vinegar is acidic).
- Optional- Blender (helps to blend the water with the dandelions to make a vibrant yellow).
- Bring one cup of water to a boil and remove from heat. Cool slightly only if adding directly to the blender. Water can be heated using a microwave if you use a microwave safe container and oven mitt or other hand protection when removing the container after microwaving.
- In a blender, mix the hot water and dandelions OR enlist the help of your kiddos for this process! Separate the dandelions into pieces, pulling, tearing and mashing as they go. Sprinkle the dandelions into the boiled water to steep.
- Transfer the hot water to a bowl and add oil, salt, and cream of tartar. Stir until the salt is dissolved.
- Add 2 cups of flour to the mixture and mix well.
- With your hands, continue to mix. If it is sticky, sprinkle in more flour and knead until it no longer sticks. The amount of flour that you may need will vary based on how much moisture the dandelions contain.
Tips and Tricks:
- Your blender will survive! If you pulverize the dandelions too much with the blender, it may not preserve as much of the yellow color. Try different levels of shredding.
- Use fresh dandelions.
- You can substitute white vinegar, though cream of tartar is preferred.
- Using baby oil will give your mixture a nice fragrance.
- You can add additional flour and salt. Adding more salt can cause the playdough to last longer, but you may feel the texture of the salt on your hands when playing with the playdough. If your kids are sensory defensive, use less salt.
- You might consider using a wooden spoon because plastic spoons may break.
- Not all yellow flowers are dandelions. Talk with your kids during your walk about the different types of petals and leaves. Have them identify by comparing and contrasting. Don’t pick your neighbors prized daisies by mistake! Be safe out there.
Benefits and How to Expand it:
- Playdough can be squeezed, rolled, pinched, molded and flattened all using hand and finger muscles. This is a great pre-writing activity!
Grasp, push, pull, and roll with a rolling pin to strengthen both hand and forearm muscles. Once it is flattened, bring on the cookie cutters!
- Playdough is unbeatable for practicing scissor skills. Roll out: ”snakes” and give them a haircut! Do snakes have hair?
- Practice life skills. Make sausages, meatballs, or roll dandelion cookies. Have your kids “teach” you to use a knife and fork and cut into bite sized pieces. Sing the meatball song if you know it! Miss Nancy sings it all the time for Wee Wednesday at the Discovery Center!
- Forks are fantastic, but imagine what a potato masher can do! Introduce new tools from the kitchen. How do you think they are used?
- Express yourself. Relax and enjoy this wonderful process activity and let your senses go with pure, sensory play.