Cozy Clove Playdough

Lizzie Homemaker's all natural cozy clove playdough
This all-natural clove playdough is made with kitchen ingredients and it smells like a hug in the middle of winter.

The warm and spicy scent of clove perfumes this playdough – which makes it an incredibly soothing and relaxing after-school activity to come home to.

Playdough is a lovely sensory activity which promotes self-regulation, attention, focus, and calmness.  Combining scents can heighten that experience.  It’s also a good way for kids to release stress.

Natural Clove Playdough Recipe

The warm and spicy scent of clove is incredibly soothing on a gloomy winter's day.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups of water
  • 2 tbsp cream of tartar
  • 2 tbsp of ground clove
  • 2 tbsp oil

Directions

  1. Mix all the ingredients in a heavy-bottomed pot or saucepan.
  2. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly for about 3-5 minutes.  The dough will start to pull away from the sides of the pan and should no longer be sticky to the touch.  (If it’s still sticky cook a little longer until it’s not.)
  3. Remove the dough from the pot.  Allow to cool slightly and knead.
  4. OPTIONAL  Pair dough with whole cloves (they’re great for pincer grasp practise)

Store dough in an air-tight container.

Cedarwood Scented Playdough

We love scenting our playdough.  In fact, these days we never make it unscented.  Heads would roll.

Although we often add spices and kitchen ingredients to create various scents lately we have found ourselves using essential oils more often than not.  There is such a broad range to choose from and it’s so dang easy to simply add a couple of drops of oil to the dough and elevate this sensory activity.

The scent of cedarwood is warm and woodsy – perfect for cozy days inside during the holidays.  It is said to improve focus, relieve tension and headaches, and help with breathing when you have a cough or cold.  My little ones basically have colds and coughs consistently from November to March so that last benefit really appeals to me.

Lizzie Homemaker cedarwood scented playdough with Christmas tree inspired loose parts
Cedarwood scented playdough with Christmas tree inspired loose parts.

Cedarwood Scented Playdough

This Christmas I've been making a cedarwood scented playdough with Christmas tree inspired loose parts. I wasn't sure how the kids would react to the smell but wanted to try something a little different. The warm and woodsy scent immediately makes you feel relaxed and cozy, so, needless to say, they loved it.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups of water
  • 2 tbsp cream of tartar
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil, such as canola oil
  • dark green food colouring
  • cedarwood essential oil

Directions

  1. Mix all the ingredients, except for the essential oil, in a heavy-bottomed pot or saucepan.
  2. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly for about 4 or 5 minutes.  The dough will start to pull away from the sides of the pan and should no longer be sticky to the touch.  (If it’s still sticky cook a little longer until it’s not.)
  3. Remove the dough from the pot and allow to cool slightly.  Add several drops of cedarwood essential oil and knead dough until it’s uniform and the oil is fully incorporated.

Store dough in an air-tight container.

Not sure what to do with your bottle of cedarwood essential oil?

Here are some uses that I’ve read about and am interested in exploring:

To treat eczema:  Many people add a few drops of cedarwood oil to coconut oil and apply it topically.  They say it is an effective home remedy in treating eczema.  One of my daughters has eczema and I’m always looking for alternative, more natural solutions for treating her skin.

As a bug repellant – including moths:  I can’t stand mothballs and refuse to use them.  For many years I have put cedar in our closets but the smell fades and it becomes ineffective as a moth deterrent.  Adding cedarwood essential oil to cotton balls sounds like a great alternative mothballs – one that I am going to try this winter.

To reduce arthritis:  I recently sold some playdough at a craft show and was amazed that many of the purchases made were for adults, including a woman who said her elderly mother loves using playdough to combat her arthritis.  Inhaling cedarwood oil and using it on your skin is said to reduce inflammation and reduce joint stiffness.  Based on this, the combo of cedarwood oil and playdough is probably worth trying by those with arthritic hands and fingers.

To treat ADHD:  Many people site a study by Terry S. Friedman where he effectivity used cedarwood oil and vetiver oil in the treatment of children diagnosed as having ADHD (Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder).  It’s promising but this case study was so small that I think this treatment should only be considered effective for some on a case by case basis.  I have several friends with children on the Autism Spectrum, with ADHD, or with SPD (sensory processing disorder).  Playdough can be an effective therapy tool.  I’d love to better understand how adding scents to playdough can benefit those kids in my life.

The information above is NOT intended as medical advice.  I am simply sharing information that I’ve read.  You should always seek advice from a qualified health care professional before proceeding with treatment of any health issue.

Playing with Ice

Sticky Ice Cube Magic Trick

kids science experiment playing with salt and ice

My five-year-old loves science experiments and she loves magic so this activity was a huge hit with her.  It can be a little finicky – too much salt or not enough contact can cause the experiment to fail but my science-minded child appreciated that.  She had to find the sweet spot.  We started the experiment with plain little ice cubes then progressed on to using coloured ice that I made in muffin tins.

You will need:

  • two ice cubes
  • salt

Directions

  1.   Sprinkle salt on top of one ice cube.
  2.   Place second ice cube on top and wait about 15 or 20 seconds.
  3.   Lift the top ice cube and see what happens.

The ice cubes should stick together – the surfaces that touch need to make solid contact with each other so put the two flat sides together.

If you put too much salt on the ice then the cubes just continue melting. All you want is for the ice cubes to melt slightly then refreeze in order to stick together.

Creating Ice Sculptures

Ice sculpture made by Lizzie Homemaker's child
The ice sculptures made by the kids were really beautiful. My 5-year-old made this one.

This ice activity was a fun one to continue with after the Sticky Ice Cube Magic Trick. We started with plain little ice cubes then progressed to making ice sculptures using coloured ice that I made in muffin tins and a variety of empty plastic containers.

You will need:

  • a large tray or plastic bin that can contain ice and water
  • various blocks of ice (directions below)
  • salt (I provided table salt and epson salt)

Directions

  1.   Freeze water in empty yogurt containers, muffin tins, ice cube trays and random plastic containers to create ice in a variety of shapes and sizes.  Add food colouring if you wish to have coloured ice.
  2.   Show the kids how to “stick” two pieces of ice together by adding a little salt to one piece of ice and placing another on top.
  3.   Let them play, experiment and be creative.

When the kids were generous with the salt, the ice didn’t stick but it would mold and form complimentary divots allowing for the sculpture building to continue.

I also extended this activity by giving them a couple of containers with water and some turkey basters to suction up the water and squirt it on top of their sculptures.

Salt Dough Ornaments

salt dough ornaments lizzie homemaker
The salt dough ornaments are left to dry after acrylic paint and glitter glue are applied.

We make homemade salt dough ornaments every Christmas.  It’s a lovely tradition that we look forward to every year.

If you have never made them and want to, it is incredibly easy.  Simply mix 2 cups of flour with 1 cup of salt, then mix in 1 cup of warm water. Roll out dough, cut out shapes, poke a hole in the top with a straw, then bake at the lowest temperature that your oven allows until the dough is completely dry. This can take several hours depending on the temperature and the thickness of the dough. Allow the ornaments to completely cool, paint, and add glitter glue if inclined. Lastly, thread a ribbon or string through the hole and tie for hanging.  Done!

ballerina salt dough ornament lizzie homemaker
Lizzie Homemaker’s five-year-old daughter making a ballerina salt dough ornament.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup salt
  • 1 cup warm water

Directions

  1. In a bowl, combine flour and salt.
  2. Add water and mix together.
  3. Remove dough from bowl and place on counter, shape into ball, and knead with your hands until thoroughly combined.
  4. With rolling pin, roll out dough.
  5. Using cookie cutters, cut out desired shapes.  Using a straw, poke a hole in the top of the ornament.  Continue to combine dough scraps into a ball and re-roll out until dough is used up.
  6. Place ornaments on parchment paper lined cookie sheet.
  7. Bake ornaments at 200F or the lowest temperature that your oven allows until the ornaments are completely dry.  This can take about 2-3 hours depending on the temperature of your oven and the thickness of the dough.  Allow to cool completely.
  8. Paint – we use acrylic paints.  Add glitter glue (if desired).  Allow to dry.
  9. Thread a ribbon or string through hole and tie for hanging.

The ornaments puff up at higher temperatures which is why I recommend the lowest temperature possible.  My old oven could be set to 200 F but my new one only goes as low as 250 F.  A dehydrator can also be used and gives very consistent results.

If the dough mixture is a little dry simply add a tbsp of water at a time until it comes together.  If the dough is too sticky simply sprinkle and knead in a tbsp of flour at time until the dough is no longer sticky.