Friday, February 3, 2012

Crafts & Experiments

As some of you know, I decided to do something a little different for the party favor for my son's 8th birthday party this weekend.  I despise the standard little bag of trinkets and candy, which we inevitably argue about for a few minutes before it is forgotten and I slip it all into the trash.  What a waste.

Our "entertainment" is going to be an after school activities teacher from my son's school who will do a building project with the kids. (I may wrap the entire house in tarps to protect us from 8-year-olds with glue guns).  In keeping with that theme, I printed several projects from the Internet and inserted them into a binder with a cover design by the birthday boy.

A few of you have asked if I could share the projects, so I'll include the links here. Disclaimer:  We have not yet tried any of these projects, except for the recipe for traditional play dough, which I've made many times.

1.  toy parachute -

2.  simple sailboat -

3.  mini-biplane -

4.  tornado in a bottle -

5.  catapult -

6.  marshmallow catapult -

7.  hovercraft -

8.  dinosaur soap -

9.  cardboard boomerangs -

Here are the recipes we included:
Traditional Play Dough
1 cup flour
1 cup warm water
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon oil
1/4 cup salt
food coloring
Mix all ingredients, adding food coloring last.  Stir over medium heat until smooth.  Remove from pan and knead until blended smooth.  Place in plastic bag or airtight container when cooled.

Edible Chocolate Play Dough - from 
3 cups powdered sugar
6 Tbs cocoa powder
3/4 cup powdered milk
1/2 cup stick butter OR margarine at room temperature (butter does work better for this)
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla (or other flavoring)

You will also want up to an extra cup of powdered sugar, powdered milk, or flour for kneading.

Mix the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and powdered milk in a medium bowl and set aside. Then combine the corn syrup, butter, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Beat on low speed until creamy and well combined. 

Once your wet mix is ready, you can add the powdered mix in about one third at a time. It doesn't have to be perfectly mixed because you will have to finish it off kneading it by hand on a well-powdered surface. It should appear something like thick chocolate frosting before you start to work it. A little powder mix not quite blended in yet is also fine.

Edible Peanut Butter Play Dough - from 
1/3 cup honey 
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup powdered milk (plus more if needed)
Mix all ingredients in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Start to mix it with a fork. Once it is fairly incorporated, you can knead it with your hands. If you want, add more powdered milk until you are happy with the consistency.  Keeps best in the refrigerator.

Clay - from 
3 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
1/2 cup of salt
1 tablespoon of cream of tarter
2 1/2 tablespoons of oil
2 cups of water
food coloring (optional)
Boil water, adding food coloring if desire.  While boiling, mix all dry ingredients in a separate mixing bowl.  Once water is boiling, remove from heat and mix in oil.  Pour water mixture into dry ingredients.  Let cool some, then knead until consistency of store-bought clay. 
You can store in an airtight container to reuse or let your creations air-dry.
Fake Blood - from
1 Cup of corn syrup
One teaspoon of red food coloring
2 drops of blue food coloring
A teaspoon or so of cocoa powder
Flour and water
Mix corn syrup and food coloring together.  Slowly add cocoa powder and continue stirring the mixture.  Let sit at room temperature for 10 minutes, then stir again.  If the mixture is too thin, add flour until correct consistency.  If too thick, add water until correct consistency. 
I hope that the party guests and their parents will enjoy this after the party.  It's quite possible that I'll catch some flak for the fake blood recipe, but I have to admit I'm pandering to the 8-year-old audience with that one.
If you're looking for other interesting kid projects, check out my ever-growing Kid Stuff board on Pinterest.  Click on this link - - or use the red Pinterest button on the upper right-hand of this page.
Now I'm off to make the birthday boy's favorite ice cream cake, this year with chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream substituted for vanilla, and the dough for the chocolate chip cookies he'll be taking to school on Monday.
I'm sorry for the wonky font problems in the second half of this post.  No matter what I do, I cannot get it the same size as the rest of the post.  Sorry, but I've already wasted too much time trying to fix it.  Please deal with it.

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