Fun Recipes from Barbara

Oobleck fun!

We’ve finished tidying, cleaning and sanitizing our classrooms, which are far quieter than we teachers would like.  We miss you and the children and hope to see you soon!

Salt Paint

In the meantime, you will find some fun recipes below that encourage sensory play.  All of them include ingredients and tools you might have in your home so no trip to the store is needed.  

Sensory play is a key part of early education and has many “brain building” benefits.  More significant in times like these, sensory play is also inherently calming. In the attached photo, you will see a picture of my then preschool child playing with “oobleck” during Hurricane Sandy.  Our cable and internet had gone out and our power flickered on and off all day which created anxiety for us both.  Sensory play rescued us, at least for a little while, from the stress of the day.

A few thoughts, before we dive in:  

  1. Set the safety rules.  For example, grownups get things off high shelves and do the hot parts.  
  2. Be creative. Don’t have food coloring? Skip it. Or let an old marker sit in the water for a bit.  Don’t have construction paper? Cut up old bags or boxes.  Try different things for a paint brush like fingers, kitchen tools, q-tips or an old toothbrush.  
  3. Don’t worry about producing a product. The goal is to have fun.  
  4. Do this in a place where it is ok to be messy like the kitchen, garage or outside.  A tray or cookie sheet with a lip is helpful for keeping things neat but isn’t absolutely necessary.
  5. Although there’s no harmful ingredients, discourage tasting to avoid germs (especially if multiple children are playing).
Things to play in Oobleck with

Recipe 1: Oobleck

1. Mix 1 part water with 1.5 – 2 parts corn starch in a large container.

2. Add a small amount of food coloring if you wish.  

3. You have just created a non-Newtonian fluid that has properties of both a liquid and a solid.  

4. Dig in and play.  Add cups or spoons if you wish, but hands alone are fun, too.

Recipe 2: Salt Paint

1. Mix 1 cup salt with 1 cup flour and 1 cup of water.  

2. If you wish, add food coloring.  

3. The children can use the paint with a variety of brushes. Or, scoop some on a cookie sheet with a lip and fingerpaint.  

4. Press a piece of paper on top and then peel it off to reveal the big Ta-Dah!  (I played with this myself and thought that fingerprinting was more fun.).

5. Leftover paint can be stored in a container with a tight lid.


Recipe 3: Playdough

1. Mix 3/4 cup of water with food coloring and 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil.  (You could even add a tsp of vanilla, lemon or orange extract to scent it if you wish).  

2. Heat it on the stovetop until almost boiling and add 1 cup of flour and 1/4 cup of salt.

3. Cook gently and stir until it comes together (it will look like a sticky disaster for most of the cooking time).  

4. Let cool a bit on a tray.  

5. Add a little bit of flour if it is still sticky, and knead it until it is smooth and ready for playing.  

6. This can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for several weeks.

7. Alternately, dump all the ingredients in a bowl and heat in the microwave in 1-minute increments and stir in between.  Then let cool on a tray and knead as above.

I hope you consider trying one of these activities.  I miss those smiling faces!

Hugs, Barbara Simons, Lead Teacher, Cooperative Nature School

Author: Gail Ader

Early childhood education is my passion and I have worked in this field since 1998, first as a teacher and then as an administrator. Child centered learning in a supportive and developmentally appropriate setting is the key to high quality programs. As the Executive Director at the Cooperative Learning Community my focus is on supporting my team so that they can focus on their children and families.