Home-Made Play: Sidewalk Chalk, Finger Paints, Play-Dough, Bubble Soap and other Goodies

compiled by Catherine Fournier

Bubbles Paint

Summer time is for playing outside, for climbing trees, lying on the grass reading a book or watching the ants, for digging 'to China' in the sand-box. If you're a kid, that is. For the grown-ups in charge of those kids, summer time is fun, but it is also a time of challenges - how to entertain children outdoors? How to keep them close by and near your careful eye?

In addition, as a Catholic parent, I'm interested in using everything in my family's life to contribute in some way towards the building of our 'domestic church.' Bubble soap and play dough may not obviously have anything to do with the Crucifixion. But things that help my children play together and enjoy simple pleasures rather than battery-powered ones, do ultimately strengthen the family. If their friends join in, so much the better. I can monitor my children's associations, and perhaps be a positive influence on these other children.

These recipes should help make your back-yard the place to be.


Sidewalk Chalk

Ingredients Directions
3/4 cup plaster of paris Mix ingredients together with water to consistency of mashed potatoes
2 teaspoons liquid tempra paint. Pour into empty toilet paper rolls, covered at the bottom with plastic wrap, held on by an elastic band or foil
  Set upright on a cookie sheet and let dry.
  After they are dry, peel off the toilet paper roll.It may stick, but will eventually come off as the kids wear them down. THESE CHALKS LAST FOREVER!



Outdoor Paints
Ingredients Directions
2 cups Ivory soap flakes Mix ingredients together.
1 cup water Store in air tight container
Food color  
Finger Paint 1
Ingredients Directions
3 Tablespoons sugar Mix sugar and cornstarch. Add water.
1/2 c. cornstarch Cook over low heat, stirring constantly.
2 c. cold water Divide into separate containers and allow to cool. Add a few drops of food color to each and stir.
Food color Freezer paper works great with this paint and usually runs cheaper than "official fingerpaint paper."
Finger Paint 2
Ingredients Directions
1 cup cornstarch Mix cornstarch and boiling water
1 cup boiling water Add soap flakes, and food colouring.
1/2 Ivory soap flakes Mix throroughly and allow to cool.
food colouring Use small amount of slippery freezer paper. Have Fun!
Finger Paint 3
Ingredients Directions
1 cup warm water Whip the warm water and flour together.
1/4 cup flour Add the powdered colour and mix well.
powder food colouring  
Pudding Finger Paints

VERY MESSY! Make pudding according to package directions. Save some to paint with and eat the rest for dessert. Kids have fun making their designs and fun licking their fingers too! Pudding paint is fun in the bath-tub!

Jello Paints

Mix jello with a very little water, it should be thick. This can be painted on stiff cardboard to make decorations. It smells good and lasts a long time.

Water Colors
Ingredients Directions
1 tablespoon vinegar Stir together the first two ingredients. It will foam, a great lesson in chemical reactions.
1 tablespoon baking soda Add food colouring
food colouring Mix in last two ingredients.
4 tablespoon corn starch Put in small containers and allow to harden.
1 tablespoon light corn syrup Use like water colours. Make one for each colour desired.


Play doughs

Soft Play Dough
Ingredients Directions
2 1/2 cup flour Combine dry ingredients
1/2 cup salt Stir in boiling water.
1 tablespoon Alum Divide into parts and add food colour to each
2 cups boiling water Store in airtight container in refrigerator.
2-3 tablespoons oil  
Hard Play dough
Ingredients Directions
4 cups flour Mix dry ingredients, add water
1 cup salt Knead 7 to 10 minutes until smooth and elastic.
1 1/2 cup warm water Add food colour if desired.
  Make desired items and allow to air dry.
  Items can then be painted.
Silly Putty
Ingredients Directions
1 cup white glue Mix glue and starch together
1/2 cup liquid starch Knead until completely mixed and smooth.
food colour if desired Add food colour if desired.
  Mixture should be solid, but stretchy
  HINT: The longer you knead it, the better it gets.
Peanut Butter Play Dough
Ingredients Directions
1 cup Peanut butter Mix all ingredients together. Knead until smooth.
3 cups powdered milk This will not keep, but if you mix granola into it and roll into balls, then roll the balls in coconut, you have a great snack!
1 cup corn syrup Store in the refridgerator
Kool-Ade Play Dough:
Ingredients Directions
2 1/2 cup flour Mix dry ingredients together.
1/2 cup salt Add water and oil, stirring well
1 tablespoon alum Knead until smooth, allow to cool
2 packages Kool-Aid Store in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.
2 cups boiling water  
3 tablespoons cooking oil.  
Peppermint Play Dough
Ingredients Directions
3 cups flour Combine all ingredients together in saucepan
1 1/2 cup salt Cook over medium heat until mixture pulls away from sides of pan.
6 teaspoons cream of tartar Be sure to stir constantly.
3 cups water Knead, add colour if desired.
3 tablespoons oil Will last 3 months if refrigerated.
peppermint extract  
Cream Cheese Mints/Edible Playdoh
Ingredients Directions
3 ounces softened cream cheese Combine cream cheese and peppermint extract
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract Gradually add sugar
2 to 2 1/2 cups icing sugar Knead until dough is no longer sticky.
  Divide into portions, knead in food colour
  For mints: shape into 3/4 inch balls, flatten with a fork and let dry at room temperature.
  For playdough: store in baggie in the refri gerator.


Bubble Soap

Bubbles 1
Ingredients Directions
2 cups liquid detergent Mix together, store in jar
6 cups water  
3/4 cups corn syrup  
Bubbles 2
Ingredients Directions
1 cup water Mix together, store in jar
1/3 cup Joy or Dawn dishwashing detergent Dip large end of a funnel into bubble mixture, blow through small end.
2 tablespoons glycerine.  

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