Monster Features!

Hey friends! I’ll start with a short introduction of myself and then jump on to the activity!

My name is Desiree and I started the group Open Ended Art and Sensory Activities  on Facebook. This group focuses on art and sensory play for all ages that is child directed and process oriented, versus adult directed and product oriented. I’ve been a preschool teacher and nanny for 12 years and after having my own kid I was finding I was feeling low on inspiration for fun activities. I tried to find a group like the one I created but didn’t have any luck so I created my own and it has just taken off!

For today’s activity we did some monster playdough. One of the reasons I love this activity is that it is very affordable and uses recycled/repurposed materials.

George & Martha Monster

For this activity, you’ll need to make the playdough and the monster features. These are activities you could even have the kids join in on for added activity and fun!

To make the playdough you’ll need these ingredients:

  • 2.5 cups of water
  • 1 ¼ cups of salt
  • 1 ½ tbsp cream of tartar
  • 5 tbsp of vegetable oil
  • 2.5 cups of flour
  • Food coloring (optional)

You could also make your playdough scented with almond, vanilla, lemon, raspberry, orange or mint extract!

 To make the playdough: 

  1. Mix all of the ingredients except the food coloring in a big pot until it’s smooth. It’s ok if it’s lumpy, the lumps will smooth out while cooking.
  2. Cook the dough over low heat. Keep mixing as the water dries out. When you notice that the edges and the bottom are getting dry, pinch a piece of the dough. If it’s not gooey, it’s ready!
  3. Put the dough out on the counter.
  4. Knead the dough for a couple of minutes and then divide it into the number of colors you want to make.
  5. Flatten the dough out a little, add a few drops of food coloring (and scents if you’d like!) and knead the dough until the color is even. Add food coloring and scent as necessary to your liking.
  6. Store the playdough in a Ziploc zip-top bag or other sealed container and it will last for months (I think my last batch lasted over a year!)

This playdough recipe is pretty simple and gives the best results every time! I’m a bit of a playdough snob, and this is my go-to. The consistency is much more malleable than Playdoh brand dough and is softer, lasts longer and doesn’t dry out as quickly.

To make the Monster Features you’ll need:

-   Various sizes of bottle caps (bonus activity: we collected these caps while litter picking! Just make sure you wash them well before using them)

-   3D puff paint or sharpies

On the caps, use your art materials to color on noses, horns, mouths, eyes, and ears. Go nuts with this part! It makes for some cute monster faces! I did a quick google search of monster cartoons for inspiration on these features.

Monster Features

To enhance this project even further, collect some other loose parts such as feathers, buttons, beads, craft sticks, applesauce pouch lids, etc. My niece used craft stacks to take this project from 2D to 3D with some AWESOME results!

Finally, lay out the playdough and feature pieces on a mess friendly surface and invite your Big Thinker to come explore and create!

Open Ended Craft Activities That Make Kids Smile

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