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Homemade Play Mixes For Nursery

One of the best things for young children is to help them have sensory experiences. Many times parents or leaders feel that these are too messy and therefore skip this all important time of learning.

If you have aprons for your your nursery, then cleanup will be minimal. The smiles and joy your little ones will express to you will make up for any mess they may create. And remember, if they enjoy nursery, they will be excited to see you and return each week.

Here are some recipes for some sensory and tactile items that will make your nursery children giggle with glee.


1/2 cup salt
6-7 drops food coloring

Add food color to salt adjusting to desired color shade. Cook in the
microwave 1-2 minutes or you can also air dry your product. To keep soft store in air-tight container.


Any flavor gelatin and boiling water (adults need to help)
Use water and add to Jell-O until finger paint consistency. Paint away freely, it smells great and the children like to feel of it.


2 cups flour
2 packages of unsweetened Kool-Aid
1/2 cup salt
3 cups boiling water
3 tablespoons oil

Mix all ingredients together. The children like to watch the batter mix and let them put it to paper.


1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1/2 c cornstarch
3 T sugar
2 c cold water
good coloring
dish washing liquid
white shelf paper

Soak gelatin in 1/2 c warm water put aside. In a medium saucepan combine cornstarch and sugar. Gradually add water and cook slowly over low heat, stirring until well blended. Remove from heat and add softened gelatin.

Divide mixture into separate containers for each color. For each color first add a drop or two of liquid detergent and then add food coloring a drop at a time until you have the shade you want. Store up to six weeks in the refrigerator.


One 14- ounce can of sweetened condensed milk
One Tbs of cornstarch
10-15 drops of red or green food coloring

Pour the can of SWEETENED condensed milk into a saucepan. Add the cornstarch and cook over a low heat, stirring constantly. When the mixture thickens remove it from the heat and then add the food coloring. Allow it to cool before playing or eating; it can also be used as a fun paper paint.


2 1/2 c flour, sifted
1/2 c salt
3 T cooking oil
1 pkg Kool-aid (unsweetened)
1 c very hot water

Mix together flour, salt, oil, and Kool-aid. Add the cup of almost boiling water. Mix well. Knead the mixture until it forms a soft dough. Have fun!

Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator. Your play dough will be the scent and color of the Kool-Aid!

*Any other unsweetened, powdered drink mix may be substituted.

*There may be colored hands but it washes off. (My own experiences have never produced colored hands--hower some have said theirs did.)


1 cup flour
1 cup water
1/2 cup salt
3 teaspoons Cream of Tartar
1 package Kool-Aid Mix (any flavor of unsweetened)
1 tablespoon cooking oil

Mix dry ingredients together in a large sauce pan. Slowly add water mixed with oil and stir over medium heat until mixture thickens to dough. Turn out onto a heatproof bread board or counter top and knead until cool enough for children to handle. Dough will be the color of the Kool-Aid mix and will smell like the Kool-Aid mix. (Can be stored in a tightly covered container for up to six months)


2 cups water
2 cups flour
1 cup salt
4 tsp. cream of tartar
4 tsp. oil
Iridescent glitter

Combine ingredients in a heavy saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with wooden spoon- until mixture thickens and pulls away from sides of pan. Form dough into a ball, place on waxed paper and cool.

HOMEMADE SNOW (It doesn't melt!)

Four bars of Ivory Soap
Twelve rolls of toilet paper
3 cups borax
Warm water
Large plastic tub with a tight lid.

Unroll and shred toilet paper into plastic tub. Add water until paper is covered. Grate the soap into the soaking paper. Add the borax.

If the mixture ends up too wet, drain over a fine screen or cheese cloth.


*This will keep for several weeks in an airtight container if no ingredients are added.


2 cups flour
1 cup salt
1 tbsp. ground ginger
1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 cup water

Mix together well and knead until smooth.

Note: At first it seemed it may be too wet; however, after putting a bit of flour on the hands and kneading---it comes together wonderfully. The longer the the kids play with it...the better it gets.


1/3 cup margarine
1/3 cup light corn syrup
1 pound box of powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Food coloring
1/4 tsp. salt

Mix all ingredients except powdered sugar. When all is combined add powdered sugar. Knead until smooth. Play and eat!


1/2 cup rice flour
1/2 cup corn starch
1/2 cup salt
2 tsp cream of tarter
1 cup water
1 tsp cooking oil
Food coloring, if desired

Mix ingredients. Cook and stir on low heat for 3 minutes or until mixture forms a ball. Cool completely before storing in a sealable plastic bag.

Something fun to play with that's messy but easy to clean up. Also safe for those with gluten allergies.

1 part corn starch
2 parts water

Mix ingredients together until smooth. Enjoy!

Try to make a ball with the mixture. Note how it kind of keeps its shape as long as you are working with it, but as soon as you stop, it "melts" through your fingers.

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