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Susan Elijas: Play dough and salt dough - 16 April

For younger children, homemade play dough is a great activity. My kids love being involved in the stirring of the dry ingredients, (adults do the boiling water part) and then they happily squish, roll and press their toys and cutters into the final product. This dough keeps well in an airtight container or ziplock bag. I like to add glitter for a bit of sparkle, and baby oil for fragrance, but use whatever oil you have. Reheating the dough slightly in the microwave before using it next time adds to the experience as well.

1 cup salt
1 tablespoon cream of tartar
1/4 cup of baby oil (or cooking oil)
3 cups flour
A few drops of food colouring
2 - 3 cups boiling water
Glitter (optional)

Mix salt, cream of tartar, oil and flour together in a large bowl. Add food colouring to the boiling water, and mix into dry ingredients. Add more water or flour as needed to make a workable dough. Add glitter if desired. Mixture can be halved.


Salt Dough Modelling

This is great for older kids and creative mums or dads - you can create pieces of wall art or mobiles, just let your imagination go wild!

Salt dough is not only fun and easy to make, but you probably have all the ingredients you need already in your cupboard! Here are two ideas from creative stylist Susan Elijas guaranteed to entertain kids of all ages.

You will need
One quantity of salt dough (see below)
Baking paper for tracing (if desired)
Paper clips for hanging
Bamboo skewer for making holes
Acrylic paint & brushes
Varnish (spray or brush on)

Salt Dough
2 cups flour
2 cups salt
1 cup lukewarm water

Mix ingredients together with a wooden spoon, then tip onto a floured bench and knead until smooth, adding more flour or more water if needed.

Roll to about 3mm thick then cut out shapes using either a cookie cutter or your own design-think monsters, robots, butterflies, fairies or whatever you like. Simple, solid shapes hold together well.

Insert a paper clip into the dough at the back if you want to hang your model, or make a hole with a bamboo skewer. Rough edges can be smoothed with a wet knife. You can press patterns into the dough as well-try a grater or button or slotted spoon.

Bake in a low oven-about 100 degrees celsius for two hours, until very hard. When cool, paint designs with acrylic paint then varnish to prevent dough softening.