Part of Christmas for us this year is teaching our 3 1/2 year old that it is NOT. JUST. ABOUT. GETTING. TOYS.
A concept he has yet to fully grasp as he drools over every toy he sees in a magazine, at a friend's house, or on TV. I'm exhausted from listening to his incessant whining about it. And I can often hear a haunting, "Just wait 'til you have kids," in the back of my mind. Yes, I'm sure this is some form of payback from my own childhood, but I feel it is also just a normal challenge with children of this age.
So, part of our teaching method was to get him in the spirit of giving by making and giving gifts to his friends at school. I wanted something he could fully take part in AND was something kids would be excited about getting...AND I didn't want to spend a fortune.
I started by stealing a play dough recipe from Clinton's teacher's website. Then I ventured out to Joann's and found some supplies to give our craft that extra Christmas touch.
We started our project by making play dough. It's truly this simple...
Mix ALL ingredients together in a pan as shown below:
2 C. flour
2 C. water
2 T. oil (I used canola)
1 C. salt
4 T. Cream of Tartar (Make sure you have enough before you start, 4 T. is more than you think!)
Once mixed together, cook over medium heat. I stir mine occasionally because it makes me feel better. Clinton also likes this task.
As it cooks, the dough will start to ball up and pull away from the pan. Keep it over the heat until you can touch it without it sticking to your hand.
You can dump the dough out onto your counter top. PUT PARCHMENT PAPER UNDER THE DOUGH IF ADDING FOOD COLORING...we did this a few steps later. :-/ Add desired food coloring...and keep adding...and keep adding...until you reach your desired shade. I think we used about half a bottle of color for each batch.
Knead the dough until the color is evenly distributed throughout the dough.
We finished with one batch of red and one batch of green. I also find the color darkens a bit as the dough cools.
Clinton has eight kids in his class, so we divided each batch into 8 balls.
Then I used some Wilton Treat Bags to bag up the dough. (I got these at Joann's)
I also found these at Joann's, and they were already 60% off!
I also found this at Joann's. There are 50 animal shaped cookie cutters inside. I only needed 8, but we use cookie cutters for a lot of things around here and I couldn't beat the price. It was $10 and I used a 40% coupon they sent me, making it $6.
Then I bagged up one green dough and one red dough into each Santa bag. I taped a cookie cutter to the bottom. And attached a tag to the twistie tie. Easy. Not expensive. And they appeared to be well received.
And my kids have been loving the the other 42 cookie cutters. Heidi Sage likes to pull them out one by one and name each animal (or have me do it)! Clinton likes to cut out two different kinds of animals and make them fight....hmmm.