Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Apple Spiced Playdough

It was definitely time to make up a new batch of playdough, and with the new season arriving I was inspired to create a play experience that reminded us of fall.

One of my favorite parts of autumn is all the great scents that come along with the season. In the past we've used some of those same great scents to create Pumpkin Spice Playdough and Fall Spice Playdough. But this time I wanted to create something that reminded us of apples - we're in the mood for apple picking and all sorts of yummy apple treats - but we just haven't had a free weekend lately. The trick was how could I make the playdough smell fruity and spicy at the time?

Then it dawned on me - Jell-O! 

I had seen some recipes for Jell-O playdough before, and knew that I had a pack of red strawberry Jell-O mix in the cabinet. A peek at this recipe over at Modern Messy Kids combined with Our Basic Cooked Playdough recipe and a few spices created just the right mix for this Spiced Apple Playdough.  

1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 package of strawberry Jell-O mix (generic brands work just as well)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon all spice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 Cup Water
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix all of the dry ingredients in a large pot (including the Jell-O mix.) Then add all of the wet ingredients. Mix until all ingredients are thoroughly combined. Once fully mixed cook over a medium to low heat- stirring constantly. Cook until the dough forms a rough ball. Move the dough onto a flat surface and begin kneading until smooth. (Please note, this dough took a little longer to cook and also was a little stickier in the end.)

For this batch, Little Brother was really excited to help. I let him help mix all the ingredients ahead of time, but I did all of the cooking on the stove and kneading when the dough was still warm. 

The dough instantly started smelling like a warm apple pie - even though I used strawberry Jell-O the fruit smell mixed in with the spices to smell heavenly.

For the initial playdough activity, I put out a small selection of cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, a mini-muffin tin, and a rolling pin.

Little Brother set to work right away on the fun of the playdough. Using the mini-muffin tin he started making "apples" out of the playdough and the mini-muffin tin. The cinnamon sticks were the stems and the bay leaves were the leaves. 

He filled the whole tin as he worked, and in the last few minutes he decided to turn it into a restaurant game at the same time. 

While he worked, I just had to keep smelling the dough - it truly smelled like a warm apple treat!

I love when we discover how to create a great smelling playdough that's also easy to use! And, if it's kept in a sealed plastic bag it should last for several weeks to come. 

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