Homemade Playdough

When the going gets tough, the nanny makes homemade playdough. Isn’t that how that phrase goes?

In all seriousness though, homemade playdough is my trick to cure any morning sass, tantrums, boredom, sadness &/or bad attitudes.

Working with two 2-year olds it was no surprise to me that the homemade playdough would be the first activity to go from the Rainy Day Box.  While we normally make our own homemade playdough, there was something exciting and much easier this time around. Perhaps it’s because mason jars are much easier to pour out than measuring cups & tablespoons; or perhaps it was because I put vanishing Kool-aid in the mix, so when we added water it magically turned pink.  But whatever the root of the excitement, I’ll TAKE IT! They were entertained and happy (edit: VERY happy) for over an hour.
Paydough jarsIn the jars I added: 1 package Vanishing Koolaid, 3 cups flour, 1 1/2 cup salt, &  6 tbsp cream of tarter. I was sure to make little labels with directions, just in case I wasn’t the one to make it.

Playdough jars II

On the morning that the kids wanted to make the playdough, they poured the ingredients from the jar into a pan. I made extra sure to build suspense as they smelled the ingredients and guessed what color it would turn! We then added 3 tbsp oil and 3 cups of water and watched the magic! I cooked the playdough on the stove over medium heat until it formed a round ball, let it cool on the counter and then handed it over!

If you’ve never tried homemade playdough, I highly recommend it! It’s so much fun to make and watch the kids create their own masterpieces.

Try it out & have fun!

Rainy Day Crafts for Children

As a nanny of many, many years, I know how hard it is when the weather is poor and everyone is trapped indoors for the day. It’s hard on the kids who have too much energy to be trapped inside and it’s hard on the caregiver, who has to think of ideas to keep them busy and out of trouble.  Luckily I have come up with a box that is filled with rainy day crafts for children that can combat any “I’mmmm boooored” comments that are sure to come your way!

This Christmas, for the family I watched, with a ten year old, eight year old, and twin two-year olds, I put together a box of random items and labeled it “Save It For a Rainy (or Snowy) Day”. After they opened it, the ever-entertaining ten-year old pointed out that it was “the most random box he had ever seen”. Which made us all laugh, because really, he was right. It was random. And it didn’t make much sense in the moment. But the randomness was intentional, and soon he would discover the reason behind his nanny’s madness. But, it would take a rainy day, trapped in the house for them to truly appreciate this box of rainy day crafts for children. Rainy Day Crafts for Children

Included in the box were: markers, pipe cleaners, play dough, paints, paper, muffin mixes, cake mix, popcorn and glue sticks.

Rainy Day Craft Box

Some of the items in the box will complement one another. Some they will use individually. Some will take up a lot of time, while some will only burn a good thirty minutes. But all of it will inspire creativity. And all of it is something they can (mostly) do on their own (minus using the oven). My goal in any gift or activity I give to children is to foster creativity and spur autonomy. As a culture, I believe we do too much for our children. We have, in some cases, taken away their opportunity for original ideas. Personally, I make it a goal to encourage activities that allow children to act independently, because it is in those moments that they begin to form who they are and understand their limits. That is why I so strongly encourage every home to have a rainy day box. Pull it out, see what they can make. Give them an opportunity to show you who just who they are. Children, when allowed to do things independently always have a way of surprising themselves, as well as us.

As our friend the Cat in the Hat taught us: rainy days are not meant to get us down, but inspire us to play!