Playing with dough comes with many benefits across children of different age groups. For toddlers, it improves grip, hand-eye coordination and helps develop pre-writing skills. With slightly older children, it's a great way to get them to use their creativity and imagination and work on their fine motor skills. Salt dough is a modelling mixture made of flour, salt and water. It is easy to make at home and salt dough creations can be dried in the sun or in an oven or microwave.
1/2 cup salt
1 cup flour
1/2 cup water
- Combine the salt and flour well in a mixing bowl.
- Add 3/4th of the water first and begin to knead the dough. Add the rest of the water if needed and knead into a soft, pliable dough.
- Salt dough can be used like play-dough. Children unfamiliar with working with dough can keep it simple by making the activity suggested below.
- Roll out the salt dough till it is 1/2 inch to 1 inch thick.
- Using cookie cutters of different shapes, cut out as many shapes as you can.
- Gather up the leftover dough and roll it out again to cut out more shapes. Carry on till the dough is finished.
- Using the end of a straw, poke a clean hole towards the top of the shape.
- It can also be microwaved in bursts of 1 minute, till it is dry. Alternately, it can be kept in the sun for up to 3 days to dry.
- Bake at a low temperature such as 150º C in the oven, to ensure it does not burn. Depending on the thickness of the cut-outs, bake for 2 hours or until it is completely dry.
- When it has dried completely, paint with acrylic paints of your choice. Remember to spray with a sealant spray once dry to help it last longer.
You can string brightly coloured ribbons through the holes in your painted cut-outs to hang as decorations around your house. You can also stick on beads and glitter to further decorate your painted hangings.