Play Dough Nature Display

For this activity, help your child gather a collection of nature items such as grass, leaves, pebbles, twigs, whatever the child may wish to display.Then make a simple salt dough solution. The recipe I use is

  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ cup salt
  • ½ cup water
  • Food coloring, optional

I have found that play dough is much easier to color if you add the food coloring to the water before adding it to the salt and flour. In this picture you can see how evenly the blue color is throughout the play dough. Some of the batches I have made were not so clean. Of course I have to add a disclaimer here; Peter was very eager to play with the dough and dumped it out before we were done mixing it. That’s all part of the experience!
After the dough is made, add the different nature items and create a display for them. For a two year old, you will probably have a finished product similar to the display pictured. It is all about the journey, and not the destination! For older children, you can suggest something more artistic, by pressing different textures individually in their own space, or you could roll the dough out and use the nature items to make a picture.
For a display case, I used a cardboard box that had food storage cans in it. You could use a shoe box lid, an egg carton, a paper plate, or anything else you have lying around the home. If the project is worth keeping, set it out to dry for about a week. Do not bake this project! It will spoil the leaves and grass. Enjoy your nature display!


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