In the image on the left you can see the members of our support group for kids with food allergies making play dough together. We learned how to measure, pour, heat, and stir to create our very own special batch of clay. We did this at our final meeting of the semester. The kids had a wonderful time and the meeting ended on a high note. Our group of 12 kids made 2½ cups of homemade play dough each. We gave each child 3 small round rubbermaid containers, three small ziplock baggies, label making templates, and some activity sheets.
In the picture on the left you can see one of our groups measuring baking soda, alum, tapioca flour, salt, oil, and water for a batch of dough. Each week we create three separate stations that we rotate. This gives all the kids a chance to take turns with the cooking.
They're taking turns pouring the ingredients into a big dutch oven pot. We we are cooking it on a hot plate. The whole recipe takes about 10 minutes to make. The kids all loved the stirring job.
Allergy TipEven though the play dough is not meant to be eaten, allergens can still affect your skin. Our skin is porous like a sponge and it absorbs things that we touch through it.To keep everyone's hands clean we used ziplock baggies to mix the colors. We also gave this station chef coats to wear to keep their clothes clean too. Our club made precautions for our corn allergic kids and chemically sensitive kids by using some natural food coloring options.
You can purchase natural food colors from special companies, but be sure to check the labels for allergens.
The safest, easiest, and cheapest alternative is to use what you already have in your pantry. There are several herbs available that can help turn play dough into some nice colors. Cholrella will make the dough a dark green color and Tumeric will turn it an orangy yellow color. Beet powder or juice will give dough a mahagony color, and cocoa powder will make it brown.
Parents and CaregiversArtificial colors are almost always made with corn by-products.Families dealing with corn allergies need to do their research on food coloring. Some kids have to avoid artificial colors, too, for neurological reasons. Researchers have done important studies on them. Many have proven that when kids don't eat artificial colors, flavors and preservatives they are less hyper. Some studies even say that avoiding artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives will make ADHD problems better.
When we finished making our flavors and colors, We labeled their concoctions with funny and original names like "Berry Blue", "Winter Green", "Peppermint Candy" and "Orange Sherbet."
At our third station we played with our group activity sheets. They are a bunch of fun puzzles. We get really competitive whenever we do the group sheets.
We work together on these sheets. And we compete with the other groups. Everybody wants to win, so it's a lot of fun.
We always have the noisiest table, too.
We close each club meeting with a detailed chore chart. Every week the chores change depending on the recipe. There are different categories of chores, too. So we always rotate those every week. That way everybody has a different kind of experience.