When I lead my five year old son over to the Kool-Aid display at Wal-mart and asked him to choose a packet, he gasped and said, "What are we going to do with this, Mommy?" It suddenly occurred to me that, unlike myself as a child, my kids have never actually drank this fruity and sugary beverage. When I was a little girl in the 1970's, drinking pitchers of Kool-Aid, along with consuming jugs of Sunny D and cans of Hi-C, was an everyday occurrence. I even saved up enough Kool-Aid proof of purchases to order the frosty, plastic Mr. Kool-Aid pitcher (Aren't you jealous?). Although I'm not willing to introduce Kool-Aid into my children's daily drinking repertoire, I did purchase the six pack of little flavor envelopes, designating the majority of them for the Kool-Aid Play Dough recipe that I had recently acquired, but setting aside one for a novel drinking sensation in my home.
After my children had come down from their sugar high and washed off their Kool-Aid mustaches, we made a batch of play dough. The instructions and ingredients are similar to my tried-and-true dough recipe, but who knew that the addition of one .13 ounce packet of artificial flavor crystals color could do so much. I'm not a big fan of my family ingesting RED 40 and BLUE 1, but as a dough dyer it is fantastic. Our packet of cherry Kool-Aid produced a brilliant shade of red that surpassed any food coloring tht I had used in the past. There is also the pungent smell. As soon as the water hits the dry ingredients the artificial cherry aroma fills the kitchen. Then every time the dough is kneaded, shaped, or pounded the smell is released again and I am transported back to summer 1975.
I acquired this Kool-Aid Play Dough Recipe from Marianne Gibbs. She is an occupational therapist who has taken her passion for young children's learning and channeled it into her creation and presentation of Write Out of the Box. I guarantee that by perusing her web-site you will become inspired as a mother, a teacher, or a friend of young children. Her passion is infectious, her knowledge of children's fine motor skills is abundant, and she is fun. Her workshops are fun, her activities are fun, and the products that she promotes are super fun!
In one of her recent and oh-so-informative e-blasts I learned that when children use a rolling pin they are exercising the precision muscles of their hands which will promote better handwriting. I also found out that when they use a pizza cutter to explore with their play dough, they are developing the longitudinal arch of their hand which aids in proper pencil grip.
So thanks to Marianne Gibbs and her cool Kool-aid Play Dough recipe I will now be saying, "Hey kids, let's make some Kool-Aid Play Dough!" instead of "Children, could you all join me at the kitchen table? Pick up a pencil and a piece of paper. We are going to practice handwriting." Kool-aid Play Dough rocks!
Kool-Aid Play Dough Recipe
1 cup flour
1 cup water
1/2 cup salt
1 package Kool-Aid (.13 ounce, any flavor)
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- Whisk the dry ingredients (flour, salt, cream of tartar, and dry Kool-Aid crystals) together in a heavy bottomed saucepan.
- Add the wet ingredients (water and oil).
- Stir the mixture together over medium heat until mixture thickens and a ball begins to form. Turn off heat.
- Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead, adding flour to hands and surface as needed.
- Cool dough completely and store in a zip-lock bag or other air-tight container.
- Use a variety of tools (rolling pin, pizza cutter, garlic press, empty tins, tongs, etc.) to explore with dough.