The Perfect Starry Night Sky Dough
So recently, the …errrmm…stars aligned for us as a family to have the perfect night for star gazing. A windless clear night with balmy temperatures of 35‘C….not to mention, no one had any sniffles. So for the first time in a very long time,Mike, myself and the girls all parked outside in our backyard on the mattress to enjoy a night of star watching.
With the girls now being a bit older, they got into it much more and absolutely enjoyed it. In fact, Parker reckoned as we packed up, “mom, I like playing in the dark”. Morgan piped up in agreeance. Which was all met by me cunningly rubbing hands together, plotting all the new fun little ways I could cook up, to help teach them about stars, planets and the basics of our galaxy. (Almost as if I’m any expert on it!Pfft!) But one thing’s for sure, these starry night adventures are definitely something that’s to become a regular for us.
I didn’t need much for the sparks to fly in my brain about all the spacey, alien-esque, starry type activities we could do! In fact, for small littles like ours, one just sticks to the basics. First up: GALAXY PLAY DOUGH!
Pitch black dough, that mimics the starry night sky? Yes, please! It couldn’t be easier, and I’ll tell you what play dough doesn’t get any softer than with this recipe.
I mean, yeah, play dough is playdough, right? But you know when even your hubby can’t help but dig in, and then comment on how nice the texture is, then you’re onto something good here.
This is perfect for the sensory/tactile play while trying to teach small kids the basics about astronomy, and just like anything else I share with you in this space, it’s bloody easy! : )
ps. For my original play dough recipe I use, have a look over here.(watch this space for link updates)
So without further ado, here is the recipe for the Perfect for galaxy playdough! (I’ve also included just SOME of the different ways we played with it.)
What you will need:
-1 cup flour
-2/3 cup water
-1/2 cup salt
-1 teaspoon/just a dash of lemon juice
-2 dessert spoons black acrylic/craft paint
-1 tablespoon vegetable oil ( I used Canola)
-1 teaspoon glycerine
-Glitter (any colours you’d like to give it that cosmic look. I used silver, blue, with a touch of gold and red. although next time, I would just use blue, silver and purple.
-Add all dry ingredients to bowl.
-Add 1/3 water and mix, add black paint and remaining 1/3 water and now mix.
-Add oil and glycerine and knead together well.
-If dough too wet or sticky, add more flour (tablespoon by tablespoon)
-If you feel dough is too dry and crumbly, rather add a little oil and a little more glycerine than water, until desired texture is achieved.
-You can add glitter at any point. However, I added mine once the dough was properly made.
– You can use black food colour, but you will use ALOT. I found that the paint provides deep colour, without needing to use the entire bottle. However, it is your choice.
–Adding a touch of dark blue gives it a richer colour. (I’ve done so in the past, so not pictured here.)
-Glycerine is the sweet ingredient that makes this dough so pliable and soft.
-If you feel that the flour has made your dough look dull and grey, a few drops of glycerine can pep it up and give a lovely shiny finish.
– You can add a few drops of essential oil to add an interesting scent , thereby adding a new dimension to the sensory play aspect. (a scent of your choice)
– Or you could use a dash of mix-o-drink powder to the mix to give a scent. Think grape, orange, etc.
-Whilst you can add the ingredients in any order you really like and just mush it together, it is best to first mix the dry ingredients, then add the black colour paint WITH the water and lemon juice to ensure easier and more even distribution of the colour through the dough. Finally, add the oil with the glycerine.
-You will end up with dirty hands, but the acrylic/craft paint won’t stick or stain your hands like food colouring does. The black comes off quite easily if you roll it in the dough itself, or get excess off with extra flour or wash it off with hot water and soap. Buuuut, I’d still keep it far from couches and curtains. Just in case. : )
-NB! The acrylic paint makes that this play dough recipe is NOT edible! Very very important then to ensure that your kiddies don’t consume. Just as you wouldn’t let them consume finger paint. I’ve used teddy paints which are non-toxic, however, just for safety’s sake, I still make it very clear to my girls that this play dough is not for the mouth.
How to play with it:
1. Spread out and draw with kebab stick to make a cute starry night scene
3. Cookie cutters – Either cut out cookie star shapes or just impress star shapes in the dough
4. Stick stones, marbles and other space items in.
Morgy pointing to planet Earth, here below, saying, “I stay here“.
5. Trace stars ( then paste onto kebab sticks and stick it into the dough) – shooting stars (not pictured)
Whats so great about playdough ito child development:
– All the kneading, rolling, moulding, stretching, pinching, pushing are corner stone activities for fine motor skills practice.
-Additional props for the playdough is wonderful way for encouraging pretend play, which, by the way is perfect for encouraging cognition, language and social-emotional development.
-Tracing of the star shape that’s required in the activity no.5 is great for helping develop fine-motor control, hand –eye co-ordination and attention-control. (which apparently are all the same skills used for letter writing!)