If there is one thing that seems to be universal among elementary school aged children, it is their love to participate in craft time. They love to use their imagination to create all kinds of different things that they can place on display either at school or at home for everyone to see. A great idea for craft time for elementary school children is to have them create something that they can play with long after craft time is over, such as play dough. You can help them with this because it will need to cook on the stove for a few minutes, but most of the work can be done by the children and they can individualize it by adding their own color to make it their own. The play dough can then be put into plastic containers that they can take home and play with the play dough at home for months to come. They will like it more because they made it themselves instead of mom buying it at the store.
To make play dough you will need one cup of flour, one cup of water, one tablespoon of oil, one tablespoon of powdered alum, a half cup of salt, two tablespoons od vanilla and the child’s choice of food coloring. These measurements are for one batch of play dough, so you will need to make several batches depending on the size of your classroom. To start, mix all of the dry ingredients together, then add the water and oil.
Cover and cook over medium heat, stirring the mixture constantly until it reaches the consistency of mashed potatoes. Remove the mixture from heat and then add the vanilla and the food coloring of the child’s choice. Divide the batch of play dough into balls and let the children work the color into the dough by kneading it. Although this may seem like a lot of work, you can make a huge batch and then divide it up and let them add the food coloring at the end. That way, even though some children will choose the same color for their play dough, if they are mixing it in themselves, they will have a different shade of the color, so theirs will be different than everyone else’s.
After craft time is over at school, the children can take their play dough home and spend hours building little things out of it. They can choose to let it harden to keep the shape or they can continuously build something and tear it down. You can even make a hand out with the directions on it so that parents can help their children make additional batches at home after school. This is a craft project that is sure to be enjoyed by every student in the class.