Tag Archives: cornstarch play

Sweet & Stretchy {EDIBLE} Marshmallow Dough

Edible Marshmallow Dough | Mama Papa BubbaWhile Gracen napped this afternoon, I decided to finally put the bag of marshmallows I’ve been carting around for the last couple of weeks to good use.  And oh my word, am I ever glad I did!  

IMG 0527I originally came across this post via Pinterest and immediately fell in love with the idea of marshmallow dough. As insane as it sounds, I often find myself thinking, hmmm…. what can we mix with cornstarch today?  (Totally crazy, I know.) We’ve tried water, shampoo, and hair gel, but I had never thought of marshmallow goo before!  I filed the idea away and knew it would make for an extra special day one day soon.  Today, when it came time to make it, rather than retrieving my computer from the other end of the house and pulling up the recipe, I decided to wing it.  And I must say, it turned out really well.  Turns out that our dough is missing 2 of the ingredients in the original recipe, but I think it would turn out well either way. The finished product is soft to the touch, yet firm, tacky, but not so sticky that it makes a mess of your hands, and it smells absolutely amazing – like Rice Krispie treats or cotton candy.

IMG 0530With the dough made, I set out a few fun things to explore it with on Grae’s little picnic table outside.  Included were some sundae cups and spoons, a knife, some heart-shaped cookie cutters, some birthday candles, some sugar crystals, and some candy sprinkles.  Then it was time to wait for the little miss to wake up.

IMG 0540I was so anxious for her to discover the play invitation I’d set up that it was just my luck that she’d ask to stay in her room for quiet play time upon waking up, rather than coming out and getting her afternoon started like she normally does. ☺  When she did come out of her room though, she spotted the marshmallow dough station through the window almost immediately.  Her eyes lit up with excitement and curiosity and she was off to play.  

IMG 0542After a little bit of cutting and pulling, it was straight to the candy sprinkles – and who can blame her really? They’re just so darn colourful and fun-looking!

IMG 0550Of course, what pairs better with sprinkles than birthday candles?

IMG 0555I think she may be getting anxious for the birthday party that’s happening next weekend…

IMG 0552The really cool thing about marshmallow dough is that other than being soft and smooth and smelling {and tasting!} delicious, it has an incredible amount of stretch.  It can be pulled and pulled and pulled without breaking.  Even when you’re trying very hard, as Miss G clearly is in this photo. ☺

IMG 0556Though it’s quite a bit firmer and stickier than a regular play dough, it still cuts well with cookie cutters, which Grae was pleased about.

IMG 0566And the plus side to the slightly sticky nature of the dough is that candy sprinkles cling to it really well.

IMG 0561Next up was some cutting practice.  Gracen really enjoys cutting, and I really should have brought out a sharper knife for her to continue practicing with, but a butter knife did work.  Because the dough is quite heavy, it provides a good amount of resistance, which is great for building up those little hand muscles.

IMG 0564Gracen loved exploring marshmallow dough, and though I really don’t want her eating corn-syrup filled marshmallows just yet, the beauty of this play material is that it is fully edible, so you don’t have to worry about little ones who are inclined to put things in their mouths getting sick if they do sneak a taste.

IMG 0548One thing to keep in mind is that because marshmallow goo eventually does set, you’re really only guaranteed one day of supple, mouldable dough.  For us, this wasn’t a issue as Grae played with it for a good long time and I felt we got more than enough play out of it to be worth the cost of the ingredients and the effort that went into making it.

If you’d like to make your own batch (which you certainly should!), here’s our modified version…

Coloured {Edible} Marshmallow Dough (inspired by My Buddies & I)

  • 2 tablespoons of coconut oil (or other high temperature tolerant oil)
  • 1 one pound bag of large marshmallows
  • 3 – 4 cups of cornstarch
  • food colouring

Over medium heat, melt coconut oil in a pot.  Once liquid, add the entire bag of marshmallows.  Stir frequently until marshmallows are completely melted.  

Working quickly, divide the marshmallow mixture into four bowls (approximately 1 cup per bowl) and stir in 3 drops of liquid food colouring into each.  Add 3/4 of a cup of cornstarch to each bowl to start.  Using a spoon, stir vigorously until marshmallow goo and cornstarch begin to come together.  Use your hands to knead in the extra cornflour once the dough is cool enough to handle.  If needed, add an extra 1/4 of cornstarch to each bowl to firm up the dough, however, be careful not to add too much as the dough will become overly hard.

Enjoy!

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Frozen SCENTED Sidewalk Chalk Popsicles

Vibrant Scented Frozen Sidewalk Chalk Pops | Mama Papa BubbaWhen I saw this post from Reading Confetti, I immediately fell in love.  We’ve made our own sidewalk chalk paint for a long while now and I’d seen many frozen versions, but never had I seen them made in popsicle moulds before!  After sharing the idea on our Facebook page and pinning it on several Pinterest boards, I made a mental note to pick up some more cornstarch the next time I was out so we could get the project under way.

IMG 0263Well luckily for me, not only did I remember to pick up cornstarch during our next grocery shop, but I also ran into these Duncan Hines Frosting Creations packets for the first time ever.  Immediately, I knew our frozen chalk pops would be scented.  A few days later, Miss G and I gathered up our materials and got to work.

Using our tried and true sidewalk chalk paint method, we mixed 2 cups of warm water with 1 cup of cornstarch in our blender for a minute or so. Then we collected our popsicle moulds, our Frosting Creation packets, some gel food colouring (liquid will work too, but the colours won’t be nearly as intense), and several popsicle sticks.

IMG 0265Next up, I used the popsicle sticks to scoop a small amount of gel food colouring into each popsicle mould, and Miss G selected a Frostings Creation packet to coordinate with each colour before we added a small amount (maybe 1/8th of the packet) to each slot. (If you’re making this at home and can’t find the frosting flavour packets, you could always use unsweetened Kool-Aid or Jell-O powder instead.)

IMG 0267With our food colouring and powdered scent ready, we filled each popsicle mould about 2/3rds full of our cornstarch/water combo and Gracen stirred them well.

IMG 0268Then we topped them up with a little bit more cornstarch/water and Grae gently stirred them a little more.

IMG 0270At that point, all that was left to do was put our plastic handles in and freeze the chalk pops overnight.

IMG 0315The next day, they looked like this.  The colours were vibrant, the texture was smooth and creamy, and they smelled absolutely delicious.

Vibrant Scented Frozen Sidewalk Chalk Pop Scents | Mama Papa BubbaThe blue one smelled like cotton candy, the green one was mint chocolate, the red was strawberry shortcake, and the orange was orange creme…  YUM.  The only potentially bad news is that because they do look so real and smell so wonderfully, some munchkins may be tempted to try eating them (yuck!)  That being said, because they’re made strictly of kitchen ingredients, they are technically safe to consume. So though they may taste chalky and gross, they certainly wouldn’t harm a curious little monkey who snuck a lick.

IMG 0328With our fun new chalk pops in hand, we headed into the backyard to test them out.  The verdict?  They’re really awesome!

IMG 0329When they’re melting and drippy, they go on much like their liquid counterpart does, only via a wand of sorts instead of a paintbrush.  When they’re not melting, they go on much like regular sidewalk chalk does – dry and colourful with a little bit of pressure.  When dry, the colours are super vibrant and to me, they look very much like they’ve been made with regular sidewalk chalk. 

IMG 0344By the time our chalk pops had melted, our cement pad was fully covered in bright swirls, drawings, drips, and letters.  And the great news is that it all washed away really easily without any fuss – much easier than our sidewalk chalk paint normally does for some reason.

I can’t wait to pull this activity out again in Kuwait where the temperatures soar and our courtyard is made completely of cement.

♥ 

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Ooblek Dough

Oobleck Dough | Mama Papa BubbaHave you every come home from a shopping trip with surprise item in your bags?  That’s exactly what happened with this hair gel…  I do not use hair gel. Brad does not use hair gel.  No one in our house uses hair gel.  Yet after returning home from a grocery shopping trip with Miss G a few weeks ago, there it was in one of our bags.  My immediate thought was, ‘Crap!  Did we accidentally steal this?!’  I checked the bill and nope, we’d paid for it.  How it got through the checkout and into our bags, I have no idea.  

IMG 9880Anyways, knowing that we wouldn’t be using it in our hair anytime soon, I decided we’d use it for some sort of play.  And when nothing brilliant had come to mind in a few week’s time, I decided that we’d mix it with cornstarch.  Because cornstarch mixed with any sort of liquid = cool, right?

IMG 9889It took some serious mixing to bring the ingredients together first, then it took some serious kneading to smooth it out and soften it up.  The result, however, was quite lovely.  Pillowy soft and lightweight, this dough behaves a lot like ooblek does.  When handled gently and moved slowly, it’s stretchy and elastic, and when handled more abruptly, it breaks off in chunks.

IMG 9892Gracen wanted to play with it immediately, so together we collected some bowls, silicon moulds, and plastic utensils and brought everything outside to play with.

IMG 9893She began exploring her new dough  by sinking her hands into it, squishing it between her fingers, and poking holes into it…

IMG 9907Then it was time to fill all of the containers with “oatmeal”.

IMG 9909With a good breakfast in our tummies, it was time for dessert. ☺  The dough rolls into balls really nicely, so Miss G turned our ball collection into cupcakes with cherries on top.

IMG 9930When we were done with our first round of dessert, Gracen shouted, “Cookies next!” and took off into the house running.  She returned with a tray of creative table goodies – buttons, pony beads, straw pieces, gems, and sparkly pompoms.  I was put in charge of forming the cookies and she was in charge of decorating.

IMG 9919To show that we had eaten the cookies all up, Miss G crumbled them all into a bowl.  

IMG 9922The cool part was that as soon as she was done, the crumbles had already started melting together to form one mass. 

This was such a fun new dough to explore and play with.  One thing we did notice is that after being played with for an hour, it had dried quite a bit.  It definitely can be played with again, but this is not the type of dough you’ll want to leave out for very long when not in use.

Oobleck Dough

  • 1 cup hair gel
  • 1/2 cup water
  • food colouring (optional)
  • 2 cups corn starch

Mix the wet ingredients together.  Add in the cornstarch and mix really well.  Once the dough comes together in a mass, knead until smooth and soft.  

Play!

♥ 

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{AMAZING} Ice Cream Dough

Ice Cream DoughThis afternoon Gracen and I tried out a new sensory material originally created by Jessie of Play Create Explore (if you’re a parent and haven’t checked out her blog before, you definitely should – she’s got hundreds of sensory play ideas, fun bath ideas, and tons more) and it was AWESOME.

IMG 5062The ingredients seem a little strange, but they work perfectly together to create a hard ice cream-looking texture.  The main two ingredients are cornstarch and conditioner – yes, hair conditioner – the cheapest variety you can find.   The other stuff is just food colouring and cheap imitation extracts to make it look and smell more like real ice cream.

IMG 5063We decided on making 3 ‘flavours’ (coconut, strawberry, and hazelnut), Gracen started us off by putting an equal amount of conditioner in 3 bowls.

IMG 5065Then she added our food colouring – none for coconut, red for strawberry, and a combination of red, green, and yellow for the hazelnut.

IMG 5067Then she added a generous pour of extract into each of the bowls…

IMG 5068And mixed them up.

IMG 5069One thing I will say is that we should have spend a little more time looking for an unscented {or at least a very lightly scented} conditioner.  At $1.28, the price was certainly right, but the strong ‘fresh’ scent gave our imitation extracts a serious run for their money.  Even something food scented would have been better…  Next time we’ll look for something of the strawberry / coconut / mango variety.

IMG 5070Next up was the messy part…  Mixing the cornstarch into the conditioner mixture.

IMG 5078After gently folding and blending the cornstarch and conditioner together, this was the end result.

IMG 5080Isn’t it crazy how much it looks like REAL hard ice cream?!

IMG 5081Here’s a close up view.

IMG 5098And as long as it’s handled like hard ice cream usually is (not rolled or smoothed over too much – thanks for the tip, Jessie!), it scoops perfectly – just as ice cream does. ☺

 

We followed Play Create Explore‘s ratios exactly, so please visit the original post here.  The amounts we used for these batches, along with details on the colouring and extracts are as follows:

Coconut Ice Cream Dough

1/2 cup of cheap hair conditioner

1 cup of cornstarch

1 tablespoon of imitation coconut extract

 

Strawberry Ice Cream Dough

1/2 cup of cheap hair conditioner

1 cup of cornstarch

6 drops of red food colouring

1 tablespoon of imitation strawberry extract

 

Hazelnut Ice Cream Dough

1/2 cup of cheap hair conditioner

1 cup of cornstarch

4 drops of red food colouring

4 drops of green food colouring

12 drops of yellow food colouring

1 tablespoon of imitation hazelnut extract

 

Enjoy!

♥ 

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Playing with Oobleck

Playing with OobleckToday Miss G and I tried making and playing with the ridiculously fun {and equally messy} substance called Oobleck.  It’s made out of only 2 ingredients (or 3 if you want to add a little colour), and it isn’t quite a liquid and it isn’t really a solid…  In fact, it behaves like both. 

While teaching in Kuwait, my team members and I always made Oobleck with our first grade classes during our solids, liquids, and gasses unit and it was definitely one of the favourite lessons.  Today, Grae enjoyed it just as much as my 6 and 7 year old students did, so this is definitely something that can be done with children of all ages.

IMG 2043All you need in order to make Oobleck is water and cornstarch, plus food colouring if you wish.

IMG 2047I like to start by adding the colouring to the water first because it’s a lot easier to stir colouring into water than into the finished Oobleck.

IMG 2050Plus, this way you get to watch the colouring disperse into the water, which is always kind of neat.

IMG 2052Start by giving your water a little stir to make sure the colouring is evenly dispersed.

IMG 2055Then add your cornstarch a cup at a time, stirring it into the water as you go.

IMG 2058When the mixture is nice and thick and you’re not able to pour off any excess water, your Oobleck is ready.

Now go ahead and play!  Watch what happens when you touch the Oobleck quickly with a lot of pressure, versus when you touch it slowly and gently.  

IMG 2060IMG 2062IMG 2064IMG 2067

Be prepared to get messy – it’s more fun that way!  Putting a towel or tray under the bowl of Oobleck should catch most of the spills, and since Oobleck is best played with with hands, you won’t be left with a sink full of dishes afterwards.  ☺

Here are a couple of quick iPhone videos I managed to take of us playing with our Oobleck…

Oobleck

  • 1 cup of water
  • 3 cups of cornstarch
  • 1 or 2 drops of food colouring

Start by colouring the water with food colouring.  Add the cornstarch a cup at a time, stirring in between additions.  The Oobleck is ready when the mixture is thick and excess water cannot by poured off.

(Many recipes on the internet will say that for 1 cup of water you should only need between 1 and 2 cups of cornstarch, but my experience has been that the 1:3 ratio works out perfectly every time.  My suggestion is to add slowly after the second cup and see what works best for you.)

Enjoy!

To learn more about Oobleck, click here.  To see where Oobleck got its silly-sounding name, click here.

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Sidewalk Chalk Painting

After teaching both yesterday and the day before, it was so good to spend the day with my girl today. (Two work days in a row was new for us… I missed her.)  We spent the morning at the aquarium visiting sea creatures, and decided to try something new this afternoon.

Sidewalk chalk is a usual thing around here, and we’ve done mess-free sidewalk painting a few times recently, but we hadn’t yet tried sidewalk chalk painting.  It was about time.

There are TONS of sidewalk chalk paint recipes floating around the internet, but we just went for it and mixed up our own version. I wanted more of a watercolour consistency rather than a paste in order to allow Miss G to make longer brushstrokes before having to reload her brush, so we used a lot more water than cornstarch.  And since I’ve read that the paint dries a lot lighter than it looks when wet, we amped it up by using generous amounts of gel colouring {hence them looking so dark in the photos}.

(FYI – The cool paint swirls are courtesy of my little lady.  Who knew a good swift bump of the paint tray right as the photo is being snapped equals awesome swirls?)

IMG 3446Gracen didn’t hesitate to get started.  The second I gave her the okay, she got busy dunking her paintbrush and creating her sidewalk masterpiece.

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She honestly LOVED it.  She was so focused and content that she did not put down her paintbrush once the entire time until the paint was gone.  And when it was?  There was a prompt, “More, Mama! More!” directed my way.  Sadly, I’d used all of our cornstarch and couldn’t whip up another batch, but I’m pretty certain that this will become a regular activity this summer.

The end result was a sidewalk {and toddler} covered in beautifully vibrant colours, a very happy little lady, and much needed bath.

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Sidewalk Chalk Paint

  • 1 cup of cornstarch
  • 2 cups (or less, depending on desired consistency) of water
  • Several small globs of gel icing colouring

Using a muffin tin, put a little food colouring in each cup, varying the colour combinations and the amounts of dye. In a large measuring cup, mix together the cornstarch and water.  Carefully pour a little into each muffin cup and mix well.

Take the paint outside {preferably on a tray to prevent spills} along with paintbrushes and watch your little one(s) create a sidewalk masterpiece. Give paints a little stir every once and a while to prevent the cornstarch from sinking to the bottom.

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