Tag Archives: play-dough

Home-made Play Dough for Sensory Play

28 Mar

Little man recently discovered the art of making Play Dough and since he made this discovery his done nothing but make the stuff!

It all started when we received the Cubby kit for review, within this kit was the recipe for play dough and since then I’ve brought all the ingredients including every colour of food colouring imaginable!

Little man is tactile defensive and although Play Dough is known to be something of a sensory delight for children on the autism spectrum, for Little man it was nothing other than disgusting! 

Little man hated both the texture and smell that came with handling Play dough but since receiving a good dose of occupational therapy (OT) and discovering that home-made play dough doesn’t contain the same strong smell of the shop brought stuff his been on a bit of a play dough mission.

Play dough is a great way of introducing a range of different textures to a child with sensory processing difficulties, as its texture can be changed dramatically with the added addition of one of two substances, such as coarse glitter or sand.

Another great way to use play dough as a sensory tool for children who are tactile defensive is to bury stuff within it and then get your child used to the different sensations by dishing around to retrieve it. This is also a great game to do with sand, gooey mixture or even coloured water. 

So, if you fancy cooking up some play dough for your sensory seeker or for the use of some sensory games, then here’s how…

You will need:

Cream of Tartar (2 large spoonfuls)

Table salt (Half cup)

Flour (2 small cups)

Oil (I small spoonful)

Water (I small cup)

Food Colouring 

Place a cup of water in a saucepan, add 1/2 a cup of table salt and the 2 large spoonfuls of cream a tartar.

Mix I drop of oil to 3 drops of food colouring adding it to the pan, heat till warm.

Remove and tip into a mixing bowl, add a cup and a 1/2 of flour and mix.

Next sprinkle some flour onto a clean surface or chopping board, knead the mixture till smooth and you have a dough like consistency, ensuring it’s not sticky. (If sticky add more flour).

Add the play dough to an air tight container so it can be reused over and over again.

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Cubby Love

19 Mar

As we have clearly been in an extremely crafty mood these past few weeks, it’s no surprise that I wanted a piece of the Cubby Kit action.

A few parent bloggers have been chatting about these exciting boxes filled to the brim with crafty fun and as I consider myself to be a rather crafty mother, I found myself somewhat interested in what exactly the little brown box, known as a cubby box, entailed.

Not only did I discover more about the Cubby Kit appearing on the blogosphere, but id also received an email, which gave me a full introduction to the Cubby Kit from those behind the idea!

I didn’t need all that much convincing and within a blink of an eye, I’d already replied agreeing to give it a try.

So… What exactly is a Cubby Kit?

Cubby Kit is a subscription based service where every month a well presented box of crafty fun is delivered direct to your door, addressed to your child.

Within this box of crafts you will find a brightly coloured sheet highlighting the months theme along with three different activities to complete. The activities all contain their own bits and bobs alongside a brightly coloured instruction booklet, all placed in their very own paper bag. Once children have completed the activities, they will find lots of extra craft materials within the box, so the little crafter will have plenty to keep them going till next months box of surprises.

There are two subscriptions available for children aged 3-4 or those aged 5-6

For me, the idea behind Cubby Kit is a fabulous one! Children get everything needed for each activity within the box (even down to the scissors).

Harley is actually 2 years old but is showing a real interest for crafting, so we decided to have this addressed to Harley and Alice-Sara his 9-year-old sister.

The box arrived quickly and I really can’t fault them on presentation, the box was nicely packed within sheets of sky blue tissue paper, everything had a cute cubby sticker placed on it, and each item was labelled well.

First impressions were excellent and I couldn’t wait to get this out when Alice-Sara returned from her sleepover.

The months theme was “Space” and the three activities given, were, Mushy Martians, Constellation Chart, 3D Rocket Picture.

Each projects instructions were displayed really clearly, with the use of both words and pictures making this great for those visual learners like my little man who has Aspergers Syndrome.

This all kind of reminded me of my days at pre-school, what with the cute little tub of PVA glue supplied with little spatula. Our box was a sample box for the purpose of a review so I am not sure how much additional material a child is given to see them through the month as the supply box contain a small handful of these.

One thing I will note, is given the box is designed for smaller children, my daughter who is 9 enjoyed the 3D Rocket Picture, and the Constellation Chart, a great deal. I personally felt that both these activities were also great for her age group.

The first activity started was that of the 3D Rocket picture. All the materials were supplied with nothing missing. We did however get out our own felt tip pens to give Alice-Sara more variety of colours to use for the colouring in of the rocket. Harley (the toddler helped with the gluing, sticking and sprinkling of glitter, which he seemed to enjoy. The activity didn’t last more than half an hour to complete and both children seemed impressed with the end results.

Above the finished 3D Rocket Picture… Note, the ribbon was not added as Harley decided to run away and hide it, seriously, we’re still looking! 🙂

Next up the children decided to get going with the Constellation Chart. Little Man (aka A boy with Aspergers) who is 11 years old, at this point declared that he had learned about this topic at school and it would be in the interest of both his brother and sister, if he helped!

Admittedly, Little Man, does tend to like control, he can often take over and become quite bossy as he dishes out instructions. Thankfully, he wasn’t to bad and this was the nicest I’ve seen them play together for ages (especially Little Man and Alice Sara). Harley the toddler, again done lots of the sticking and sprinkling, where’s the older two joined the dots and did the cutting. It’s a lovely activity based on an educational subject, so it’s a good way to get them asking questions. Again all supplies were included, though we found that the gold get pen was not fully visible on the card which I think had something to do with the glossy texture the card was made from. Luckily I have one of those gold ink pens which was perfect and helped complete the task a treat.

The most exciting activity had to be the Mushy Martians which went down a treat. Here’s the thing, my eldest child who attends a special school for children with autism and aspergers, has difficulties with all areas of his sensory processing. This includes touch and smell, his very tactile defensive and has always expressed a dislike for play dough especially its smell. Since having OT (occupational therapy) his started to tolerate more textures and informs me that he now handles play dough at school. He was absolutely amazed that we had been given the recipe and even more amazed at how it contained no smell. Seriously, he became a little over obsessed with the whole thing and told everyone that his mum can make play dough. He was even impressed at how we could make it any colour we wanted, meaning I’ve stood making pots and pots of play dough in all colours of the rainbow with Little man as my sidekick.

The instructions for Mushy Martians were again very clear and easy to follow, all ingredients were fully supplied as expected.

The only disappointment with this one was, regardless of following the given instructions the added oil and green colouring failed to turn the dough even the slightest shade of green whatsoever. I have no idea why this was, though the supplied bottle contained a very small amount and the only explanation I can possible think of is that it just wasn’t enough! Maybe the bottle leaked prior to packaging as there was no trace of any spillage and I did wonder if the amount was included before starting.

This did mean we needed to store the dough in the container that originally housed the flour and buy some green colouring the following day. Adding it to the pre-made mixture was a messy job, but worked well.

I loved the googly eyes supplied but was puzzled to why only 3 had been included (then again this is an out of space martian) We had some more googly eyes and the two boys had lots of fun making different faces. Little man pulled and pinched the dough as to make different expressions. As he has trouble with reading certain facial expressions we made this into a really fun game of “Can you guess how the Martian is feeling today”

Check out the pictures, what do you think? Note: Little man is 11 which shows your never to old for play dough.

We loved the Cubby Kit, but purely because we do a lot of crafts which therefore means we already have lots and lots of materials. This means that I couldn’t justify the £19.99 subscription fee. This would be perfect for the busy parent or the one who isn’t big on crafts. The fee does seem a lot for what we received, however, ours was a sample box so I therefore cannot comment on how much additional materials are given.

Remember, it’s not only the box of crafts supplied, but also the inspiration given within the monthly theme and enclosed three crafts.

Big thanks to those at Cubby Kit for sending us a Cubby Kit to review as well as their delightful customer service. I’d also like to thank them for the play dough recipe (Little man and his brother have a rainbow selection of dough) plus myself and Little Man are currently making some dough for his play dough crazed cousin who is also on the autism spectrum.

Newsflash: Just discovered that Cubby Kit are running a promotion… First Month Free! Promo Code on their site HERE

Disclaimer

I wasn’t paid for this review, though we did receive both a Cubby kit and lots of inspiration for the purpose of the review. 

 

Mummy burnt the cakes again!

2 Nov

Guess what me and the kiddies have been up too?

This non domestic goddess has been in the kitchen again and guess what? I didn’t burn it down 🙂 I long to be able to bake amazing home-made puddings, ones that don’t come already part prepared… You know boxed sponge mix, the type you just add an egg to! Not very exciting I know. I want to be able to get mega creative and make my children beautifully iced birthday cakes instead of paying a small fortune for them! I’ve discovered that actually what I want to do most is unleash my creativeness and decorate cakes perhaps that bit more than I actually want to prepare and bake them. Maybe that’s my problem, I’m always that bit to keen to get to the whole decorating part of things done, resulting in me wrecking the cake.

As mentioned in a post at the beginning of October, Little man has been doing cookery in school every Tuesday and honestly, his baking skills are way better than mine, his made some great progress within certain areas of his education since attending his independent special school, It’s lovely to see, though I am a bit jealous at the sons sudden skills in the kitchen, something he undoubtedly acquires from his father and the Italian within him. It’s not that I can’t cook, I really can, I’m just no dab-hand when it comes to knocking together a cake, tart or anything sweet for that matter! Would you be shocked if I told you that I even had issues getting a pack of ‘Postmen pat’ cakes to rise, which of course I blamed that “Useless oven of mine” 

So when the lovely lot at Renshaw said they would send me and the kids some products, we couldn’t wait.

WOW, I was mega impressed with the items we were sent

 1 x Cool coloured sugardough

2x Funky flavoured sugardough

1x Topical magic melting icing 

1x Raspberry magic melting icing

3x icing spreading knife things (yes baking virgin hasn’t got a clue what these gadgets are called)

 This sugardough was the business, I’m telling you now, if you have children who are sensory seekers this is the perfect thing for them.

I’ve mentioned the benefits of clay and play-dough for children with autism and sensory processing disorder more than onces on this blog! Now you can go ahead and add sugardough to the list it’s fantastic! 

 Extremely tactile, mould it, play with it, eat it! 

This stuff can be rolled flat to ice a cake, used to create birthday or even cupcake decorations, the possibilities are endless…

Sugardough comes in some really funky bright colours, providing loads of visual stimulation, the sensory seeker wont want to put it down and maybe disappointed if you actually ate it! 

That’s not all, its yummy too, the funky flavoured dough comes in a range of colours and is the perfect icing for those who have difficulty using piping bags and all that other stuff! Yes, anyone remember my attempt at icing cupcakes? The bag exploded and I ended up with a bright yellow face (so, wasn’t my best look)

Little man is tactile defensive, but loved the texture of the Sugardough! All three children, including my 23 month old toddler had hours of fun making Halloween cake topper’s (well, the toddler just bashed at it for a bit before demolishing it) I was busy making chocolate sponge cake and all seemed to be going pretty good, well… it was! You see I got a tad distracted, I confess, I got a tad carried away helping create some savaged fingers to add to the spooky chocolate cake, only there was no chocolate cake because I burnt it! I actually cremated the hell out of it! However, please take note… I didn’t start a fire which is a slight improvement from the last time I made cakes, which I would rather actually not go into thanks 🙂

 So, here is our spooky toppers, minus the cakes for them to top

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Magic melting icing

Lucky for the whole family daddy made cakes with the melting icing. It was magical but everything is when he gets in the kitchen and don’t he know it. The icing has to be heated slightly in the microwave (be careful not to over heat it or worse if your anything like me, be careful not to set fire to it). It can then be spread over cupcakes, cookies and anything else you fancy… Roast Chicken, bacon sandwiches (I’m kidding)! But if your good with a piping bag you can use it to create some pretty decorations like hearts or stars. 

Well, these were so lovely there was no time for taking pictures, if the truth be told, my diet went out the window again (get some willpower woman)! Yes, I ate them, well with the help of the kids of course. 

Ranshaw baking products can be brought from all major supermarkets. I actually brought some more of this stuff today which was on a 3 for 2 deal over at Tescos!

I highly recommend both products, however the Sugardough is fab, and I highly recommend for children with or without autism. It provides hours of fun, encourages creativity, gets your children in the kitchen helping mum and has a ton of sensory benefits. 

You can check out the “Renshaw My Bakes” website, where you will find the products above mentioned and a host more. Plus there are some amazing recipes to provide lots of inspiration as well as tips and advice which I know I need!

So… Fancy joining me? Then just Click HERE.

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