Fun ideas for Easter holidays – Play-dough

So many happy memories in one book 🙂

It is raining, yippee! I am very happy as our area is now under a hose pipe ban and any drop of rain is essential for the garden. It is however still the Easter holidays, my Isabella goes to a little pre-school three mornings per week but it closes over the holidays as do all the little groups we go to so no organised things for us to do. I have checked the weather forecast and rain is due for the next week, another yippee!…but that means we will be spending more time in the house and I have been trying to think of things for myself and the kids to do.

My bedtime reading for the past couple of nights has been 1000 Ways to Amuse Children – Pam Harris & Toni Arthur. The book is my mums and was actually published the year I was born and I remember the front cover vividly, knowing that whenever this book came out we were to have time with mum having loads of fun. I won’t keep it a secret that I have found being a mum very hard, I am not sure if that is because I am a slight perfectionist and if things don’t go to plan I get quite worked up; or the fact that I like my peace and quiet and as those of you who are parents and even those who are not will know, kids are not quiet; or my need to be the best at everything and being a mum, wife and home maker has no sorts of comparison and each day is different, I only have my own ideas to compare myself to; most likely it is all of the above! For what ever reason I do struggle, but what I do know is that I want my kids to grow up how I did, with loads of time outside and lots of singing, dancing and creating. This book has reminded me of so many of the things that myself and my sister did as kids and I am very excited to try some of them over the next week.

My absolute favourite memory is of play dough, my mum used to make the Smooth and wonderful dough from the book. The ingredients for this dough are heated in a pan and stirred until combined, I remember the brightly coloured, warm dough being put in front of us, the smell was just happiness!

Smooth and wonderful dough

  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1 cup salt
  • 4 tbsp cream of tartar
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • food colouring

Stir the flour, salt and cream of tartar in a pan, then add the water, oil and a few drops of food colouring. Cook over a low heat for 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly. Any lumps will come out as the dough is kneaded. If this play-dough is kept in a lidded plastic container it will last for ages.

I am so excited about making this for the kids. I am hoping to get out tomorrow morning even if it is raining, the kids have super waterproofs so they won’t get wet, then we can come in to get warm and have something new and exciting to play with.

What have you been doing with your kids this Easter holiday? Have you got any tips to keep 3 1/2 years and nearly 2 year old entertained? What was your favourite thing to do as a child?

Hope you all have fun in this next week,

For now,


PS. I’ve just checked and the book is no longer in print but you can get copies from Amazon for less than £3, a great investment!

This entry was published on April 9, 2012 at 2:39 pm. It’s filed under Doing, Recipes, Thinking and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

8 thoughts on “Fun ideas for Easter holidays – Play-dough

  1. Bridget Leyden on said:

    I agree, playdough is great for hours of fun. You can use a garlic press of mouli to make good hair. I am planning to make a miniature garden on a tray, with moss, flowers etc. with my two this week. Also, you can freeze Herman is you get fed up with doing it all the time, or fancy some different cake for a change :~). I used some of mine to make a sourdough bread started by just adding flour and water x

    • Hi Bridget thanks for your message 🙂 A garlic press is a fab idea! I hope the weather is nice so you can collect things for your mini garden, that sounds really cute.

      I did wonder if you can freeze Herman as you can freeze a sourdough starter and that survives, it does put you off that Hermans instructions say ‘don’t put me in the fridge’. How did your bread turn out? Think I may make some bread this weekend if I get the chance, maybe give some dough to the kids to play with, we could even bake their shapes 🙂 xxx

    • Rebecca Preece on said:

      Ha I was thinking about this book and making playdough the other day, I was tell my Aussie family about what we got upto as kids, we had lots of fun didn’t we. Now here’s a tip from Australia as they are used to hose pipe bans: Alway have a bucket in the shower with you, so it will catch water that you can put on the garden. Love your little sis.

      • Hello my little sis xxx we had loads of fun, mum was great wasn’t she, do you remember Neptunes Cave? That was in that book too.
        That sounds funny taking a bucket in the shower but it makes sense, will have to try it next time 🙂
        Sending love to all of you in Aus xxx

  2. I used to make playdough for my kids, who are now in their late teens and twenties – I used to add glitter to it for extra sparkle. They also use to like running toy cars and diggers and dumpers through it to make car tracks. Happy days x

    • Ooh we never had glitter, that sounds like fun! The cars sounds like a good idea too. I am so excited I want to make it now but know that part of the fun is the warm playdough right after it has been made, squidging it through your fingers, I remember that salty, doughy smell…very happy days! xxx

  3. Bridget Leyden on said:

    Yes I agree it is funny the cake says you can’t put it in the fridge. I keep my bread starter in the fridge as it just slows down the process and so you don’t have to look after it so well :~). I love making the sourdough bread. It does work much better since I got a bit of advice from a friend who makes it mind you! But it feels a bit like making a potion. You don’t have to be that precise; I use a measuring cup for the flour and water, and I try mixing various types of flour. It keeps longer than normal homemade bread too. Yes that is a good idea letting the kids make bread too. I remembered I have also made a salt dough that is a bit like playdough but can be baked in the oven to make play food or decorations. That is fun too but probably for slightly older kids (mine are 4 and 7) xxx

    • Sourdough is definitely something I’d love to do, I seem to be able to look after Herman ok so sourdough will be much easier 🙂 I have got the bread book published by River Cottage which gives great tips for bread baking.
      We used to do the salt dough as kids but do think mine are too young yet, they took great pleasure in squashing each of my creations 🙂 xxx

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