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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Turn Last Year's Sunblock into Play Dough

Have you been Spring Cleaning? If you have come across any expired sunblock or lotions, or a half-used bottle of conditioner, save them. You can now put them to good use and keep the kiddos busy. At least for a few minutes.

A few days ago, I came across a recipe on Pinterest for ice cream dough from the Play Create Explore blog. It seemed easy enough: 1 part conditioner and 2 parts corn starch. The dough can be colored and scented to look and smell like ice cream, and kids can make pretend ice cream sundaes.

We made the dough and had a blast with it yesterday, but we found other uses rather than making faux sundaes. Then this morning, my three-year-old asked if we could make more messy stuff. Rather than use up more of my conditioner, I looked through the bathroom closet and found a tube of baby lotion from 2007. We experimented with that with success. As long as you keep the 2:1 ratio, this basic recipe will bring new life to most creamy, expired toiletries.  

Here's a closer look at this activity. First, we took this project outside and mixed the Ice Cream Dough:
Ice Cream Dough

1/2 c. corn starch
1 c. conditioner (any brand; we used Nature's Gate)

Simply mix the ingredients until they are fully incorporated and you have dough. You may add a few drops of food coloring and/or flavor extracts to make colored and/or scented dough. This dough will dry out faster than the store-bought kind; be sure to place in a plastic baggie or container immediately after playing.

NOTE: ICE CREAM DOUGH IS FOR PLAY ONLY. DO NOT LET THE KIDS EAT IT! Hopefully that goes without saying.

If you are concerned about using the measuring cup from your kitchen for sunblock or conditioner, there is an easy solution: make your own.

Fill a measuring cup with 1/4 cup of water and pour that into a disposable clear plastic cup. Use permanent marker to draw the 1/4-cup line. Add another 1/4 cup of water to the plastic cup; mark the 1/2-cup line. Keep going until you have the 3/4-cup and 1-cup lines marked. Voila! Instant measuring cup for messy backyard fun.
You may want to make two cups while you're at it so you'll have one for dry and one for wet ingredients. 

The kids chose to add blue food coloring and raspberry extract to our dough. It smelled so good and was soft and smooth.
While the original intent of the dough was to make pretend ice cream sundaes, my boys had other uses in mind. My five-year-old played hockey with balls of ice cream dough.

My three-year-old had a blast making balls of dough and either rolling them down the slide, or throwing them at the slide to watch them "go splat." 

Mixing a second batch of dough, this time with old baby lotion and cornstarch.
I hope you and your kids have fun with this simple dough recipe. Please Post a Comment and let us know what new uses your kids found for the dough. Or, let us know your favorite scent for the dough! As always, thanks for reading.

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