Ten Minutes to Baby Safe Play Dough

Edible Play Doug (1)When I was looking for recipes for a baby-safe play dough for Little Pea, I found a lot of recipes that were technically edible but had a crazy high salt content- not great for babies and their little kidneys, so I decided to try making a baby safe version based on my favourite oil based cookie dough.

By swapping the dry ingredients for flour and leaving out the eggs and almond extract, I ended up with a two ingredient play dough which can easily be mixed up in ten minutes, less if you’re not adding colour.

I used four cups of white flour (this was a mixture of strong white flour and self-raising because I had bits to use up in the cupboard) and one cup of organic rapeseed oil but any vegetable oil would do. Once you’re happy with the consistency of the dough- adding more flour if you want it to be a bit firmer- you can divide it into balls ready to add the colour. I flattened mine into sheets before adding Wilton’s gel food colouring, just a splodge in the middle before folding it in. Once it’s incorporated into the dough I don’t find that it stains, but it can mark your skin if you get it onto your hands before then.

I was pretty pleased with this as an emergency, wet afternoon plaything. Little Pea loved watching me measure out and mix up the ingredients for an easy two ingredient, ten minute edible baby play dough. By the time I put her down on her oil cloth to play with it she was bouncing around with excitement and coupled with some “baking tools” it easily held her attention for fifteen minutes of baby-led play with lots of poking, pulling, tearing and mashing- really working those little fingers! After that I couldn’t resist any longer and had to join in.

While this was a fantastic dough for Little Pea’s needs at the moment, for an older toddler who has advanced their fine motor skills to moulding and shaping I would probably experiment with a stronger mixture which holds its shape better.

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The Baby Dream House

It started with The Baby Dream House.

One day, after an IKEA delivery, I was left with a large cardboard box and decided to build a den for Little Pea while she napped. A scissors, some packing tape, a silk scarf that I’d picked up at a flea market and never done anything with, a blanket, a sheepskin rug and the Christmas fairy lights that I’d forgotten to pack away and I was pretty happy with my efforts. So it seemed was Little Pea. A comfy place to snuggle, play and hide.

Yes

I moved it into her bedroom, and though we played in there before bed most evenings I didn’t think too much about its role in her development until I was singing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star during a nappy change and when she suddenly shouted her no noise and crawled to the dream house. Looking at me to make sure she had my attention, she pointed up at the star-shaped fairy lights and started signing the twinkle twinkle hands to show me that she knew what they were.

It made me think then that a lot of the time when we sing nursery rhymes, though it’s done with lots of gestures and expressions, for babies, these are still pretty abstract concepts so aren’t linked to concrete ideas that Little Pea can grasp hold of. I quickly gave the floor a make over with some animal greeting cards from a charity shop transformed into a lino floor with some sticky back plastic, and added other nursery rhyme characters (like this sticky felt Baa Baa Black Sheep, Mary’s Little Lamb and a Hickory, Dickory Dock clock and mouse).

collage
This has left me with a fascination as to how I can make play experiences more rewarding for Little Pea. Having read lots of inspiring ideas on other blogs while researching this idea, I’m looking forward to sharing our fun here.