Tag Archives: creative table materials

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.


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Building Sugar Cube Structures

Sugar Cube Structures | Mama Papa BubbaIMG 0236Upon returning from my first ever weekend (and overnight, actually) away from Miss G, she immediately asked if we could open the last of her activity bags.  She explained that she had already opened all of the other bags, but had saved the ‘bonus bag’ to do with me once I returned home.

IMG 0237She pulled the items out one by one and this is what we found inside… A box of sugar cubes, some white glue, and several pieces of thick cardboard.  The note inside explained that the materials were for building structures, and Gracen wasted no time getting started.

IMG 0242First up, she told me she was going to build ‘biiiiig’ towers. ‘Big, big, big, big, biiiiiig ones’. And that she did.  Layering a little squeeze of glue between each sugar cube allowed her to create several tall towers.

IMG 0245When her towers reached the height that satisfied her expectations, she asked for help with making a ‘rectangle’.  I squeezed the glue out onto the cardboard in a rectangular shape, and she place the cubes along the path.  We continued this pattern several times and finished off with a top layer that made the structure look castle-like.

IMG 0249With our sugar cube box running low, we decided we had enough left for one last structure.  Grae decided on a pyramid with a fence around it (the fence was very important) and so that’s what we did.

IMG 0253I really love this activity because it can be very open-ended – the possibilities are endless!  Grae loved it so much that she was quite disappointed when the sugar cubes were gone, so we’ll definitely be trying it again soon! 


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Contact Paper Egg Decorating

Contact Paper Egg DecoratingI set up this little creative table for Miss G this morning and she was so over the top excited about it that she could barely contain herself.

IMG 7144It was very simple to set up, but still took too long for Miss G’s likes.  All I had to do is cut out a few large egg shapes out of construction paper…

IMG 7145Then cut smaller ones inside, leaving an outline a couple of centimetres thick.

IMG 7147Next I stuck the egg outlines onto some clear contact paper, and trimmed off the excess.

IMG 7158I quickly filled up some little containers with our homemade coloured rice, paper confetti, tissue paper circles, and strips of spring-themed ribbon, and set my impatient little lady loose.

IMG 7153She got started immediately, diving into the pastel ribbons first.

IMG 7156And the messy stuff afterwards.  ☺

IMG 7160She immediately completed two of the eggs, and left the third one to a complete a little later.  As of now, Miss G’s eggs remain as they were when she finished decorating them, but we may cover her designs with a second sheet of contact paper in order to make them a little easier to store.


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Face Painting Station

Face Painting StationI thought of putting this little station together for Gracen to explore months and months ago, but only got to it today.  Perhaps today just felt like a face painting sort of day?  I don’t know…

IMG 6372Either way, I set out her step stool turned toddler bench in front of our closet mirror (of course a table top mirror would work just as well), laid out a couple of damp cloths and a jar of face painting crayons, and waited for her to discover her new station.

IMG 6376And when she did, was she ever excited!  She didn’t quite know what it was all about, but she was excited none the less.  I stood back and watched her take off her tights.  Then she turned to me and asked, “Mama helps Grae Grae paint her toes?” Hah!

IMG 6378Once I explained that they were face painting crayons, she was even more pleased. And off she went, decorating her face.

IMG 6383She went through several changes during the process…  First, she announced that she was a raccoon, and after adding a few more lines here and there, she decided that she was a kitty cat.

IMG 6395Here she is with her first finished look. ☺

IMG 6402When it was time to remove it, she tried using the damp cloth I’d provided, but it was quite tricky.  Face paint is stubborn, but I knew just what would do the trick…. One of our very favourite body/household/cooking products – organic coconut oil!  She dipped her fingers into it, started rubbing it on her face, and the paint literally melted off.  Afterwards she was able to use her cloth and wipe her face clean – easily!

IMG 6406Miss G decorated herself for a while longer, then let me have the final turn…  The natural choice?  Papa eyebrows, of course!  ☺  I don’t know who found it more hysterical – her or me.

IMG 6409

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Contact Paper, Tissue, Sequins, Confetti, & Glitter: A Creative Table

Contact Paper Tissue Sequins Confetti  Glitter Creative TableThis creative table set up had a good long run in our house…  It’s been worked on day in and out for over a week now, and I’m sure Gracen would still be adding to it if there was any sticky space left on the contact paper.  

IMG 5750When it began, it looked like this… A piece of clear contact paper, sticky side up, tacked down to one of our vintage apple crates (it could just as easily be taped down to a table top), and a few little jars of decorating goodies, as Miss G calls them.

IMG 5756Included were sequins, confetti, tissue squares, and a container of glitter.

IMG 5753Although I often set up Gracen’s creative tables while she’s sleeping, this time around she helped me set up, selecting the glitter (of course) and the sequins to be part of it.

IMG 5759When we’d finished gather our materials, she began creating without direction or instruction… Carefully adding each item, one at a time, and pressing them down onto the sticky paper.

IMG 5755The lovely thing about contact paper is that because everything sticks to it, projects (even when they include a full bottle of glitter) never get wildly messy.

IMG 5918Grae revisited it daily, adding a little bit each time, until today when we decided it was time to switch things up a little.

IMG 6005Now we could have easily called it quits at this point, because art like this is definitely about the process and not the finished product, but Grae had announced early on that she would be hanging her finished piece on her bedroom door.  In order to preserve it a little better, we took out our contact paper once again and cut a piece the same size as the original one.

IMG 6007I then peeled the backing off of just the top edge of the new sheet, carefully lined it up with the art piece, and pressed the two sheets, sticky sides together, down.  Afterwards, I pulled the remaining backing off in order to cover the entire piece.

IMG 6009Here’s what it looked like with everything sealed in. We could have left it as is, but Gracen chose to cut it into two hearts rather than keep it as one large rectangle.

IMG 6011Here’s the finished product.  She very proudly hung it on her door turned art gallery, but it would be super pretty hung in front of a window where light could shine through too.

To learn a little bit more about how we do creative tables around here, visit this creative table post and this one too.  Or, pop by Tinkerlab, where Rachelle, the creator of the Creative Table Project explains.


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Berry Jello Play Dough

Berry Jello Play DoughA couple of days ago, Miss G and I experimented with making a couple of changes to our scented Kool-Aid play dough.  I don’t know if Kool-Aid is just on the way out (surely it should be ☺), but our grocery store only stocks a few colours.  So as an alternative, we decided to give Jell-O crystals a shot.

IMG 5488We followed our original scented play dough recipe *almost* exactly, but added a packet of Jell-O mix instead of Kool-Aid mix.

IMG 5494We also added some fine glitter because…. Well, because Grae said so.  That’s why.

IMG 5493We mixed everything up and added our wet ingredients, going a little bit easier on the water this time.  While we absolutely loved our Kool-Aid play dough and it kept great when somewhere cool, we did notice that it got a bit mucky when stored in a cupboard near one of our heat vents, so hopefully the reduced amount of water will help fix this problem.

IMG 5505The result was a soft, smooth, yummy-smelling play dough that Miss G was just dying to get her hands on.

IMG 5499We made two batches, one raspberry, one strawberry, and added some cookie cutters, a mini rolling pin, and a mini baking pan for a fun creative table set-up.

IMG 5505

{No-Cook} Berry Jell-O Play Dough

  • 1 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup of  table salt
  • 1 packet of Jell-O (we used the sugar kind)
  • 1 tablespoon of cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon of glitter (if desired)
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon of glycerine (optional and readily available in the first aid section of most grocery stores)
  • 3/4 of a cup of boiling water

Place all dry ingredients in a bowl and mix well.  Add wet ingredients, saving the boiling water for last.  Add the water and give the mixture a few quick mixes, banging off your whisk every once and a while.  Leave the semi-mixed dough on the counter to cool.  Once cooled for about 10 minutes, dump the mixture onto the counter and knead really well.  Knead for about 3 minutes, or until the dough smooth and well-blended.



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Valentine’s Creative Table

One of the things I’ve been doing to encourage independent play {and creativity} in recent months is keeping a fun, inviting, and well-stocked ‘creative table’ for Gracen.  All it is is her little table (or sometimes a tray or even the floor) with an assortment of materials available for her free use.  Sometimes it’s paper and glue and embellishments (like in our Christmas tree creative table), sometimes it’s play dough and cookie cutters and decorations, and sometimes it’s a tray of baking soda with droppers and dishes of different coloured vinegars.   Naturally, some creative table set-ups are more open-ended and some lend themselves more to a finished product, but either way, the purpose is for Gracen to explore materials, experiment, and create freely while enjoying the process.  

Valentine s Creative TableToday, Miss G and I did a little bit of shopping for this year’s Valentine’s Day projects (yes, we’re thinking about it already), and though I intended on holding off on a Valentine’s themed creative table for a while yet, my little lady popped up from her afternoon nap and her first words were, “I want to craft now.  Grae Grae gets her new craft things!”  And that was that.  A Valentine’s creative table it was.

IMG 4670IMG 4669IMG 4672Together we gathered up all sorts of pink and red craft supplies…  Smelly markers, sparkly foam shapes, bingo dabbers, stamps and a stamp pad, doilies, construction paper hearts, and some glue.

IMG 4683As she does with most creative projects, Grae dove right in.

IMG 4687The immediate favourite?  The foam stickers.  She plower through the initial stash and asked for more right away.

IMG 4681Throughout the afternoon and evening, she came and went as she pleased, adding to her pieces as she wished.

Here are a few of the pieces she declared ‘finished’…

IMG 4688IMG 4694IMG 4689While it won’t be around until the big day (I try to change up our creative table supplies every 4 to 7 days or so), there’s no doubt it will be enjoyed, added to, and revisited for several days to come.


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‘Sewing’ Station {a creative table idea}

Sewing StationFor the last few days, Miss G has really been enjoying the new set-up she has happening at her creative table (for a little bit of background info on the whole idea behind her creative table, click here).  While it would probably be more appropriate to call this a beading and lacing station, Gracen saw it and immediately cheered, “A sewing station!”  To her, needles equal sewing, so a sewing station it is.

IMG 3489The sewing station consists of things we mainly already had on hand…  Two types of beads (pony beads and meltable beads like these), a couple of plastic yarn needles strung with wool, a few steel yarn needles strung with embroidery floss, some Wikki Sticks

IMG 3491And some homemade lacing cards (simply made by cutting shapes out of card stock and cardboard, and punching holes around the edges).

IMG 3514IMG 3509When Grae originally discovered her new sewing materials, she was by far most excited about the needles and thread, and got to beading right away…

IMG 3527IMG 3531IMG 3541After a couple of days, she had completed not only a bracelet for herself (I helped with the tying of course), but one for her Mama too!

IMG 3544After that, she begun working on the lacing cards.  Right now she’s working on a lacing circle that has beads woven throughout.  She works on it a little each day, moving onto something else when she feels like it and returning when the urge returns.

IMG 3701Something that often happens when it comes to her creative table {and sensory play} is that Grae adds to the materials as she goes.  These mini cupcake liners were all her idea. 
IMG 3703This is her most recently completed project…  A bracelet for Papa!  He couldn’t be left out, now could he?
To see some of Miss G’s other recent creative table set-ups, click here.
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Christmas Tree Decorating Creative Table

As much as I’d love to have an entire room dedicated to play and discovery, our little two bedroom house simply doesn’t have the space.  So instead of an actual playroom, we’ve taken various playroom elements and created play spaces around the house so that Gracen always has plenty of opportunities to create, explore, and play.  If you were to visit our house, you’d most likely see some sort of sensory tray or bin happening in our kitchen, an easel and art supplies in our dining area, a felt board station, creative table, and toy area in the living room, and a nature shelf, dress-up corner, and book nook in Gracen’s room.  This set up works really well for us and the nice part is that if I’m making dinner or folding a load of laundry or doing some sort of other job, Gracen always has the choice of doing a project or activity of her own in the same room.  

One of the areas Gracen’s especially taken interest in lately is her creative table.  All it is a regular kid-sized table and chair set, but the fun part is that new creating materials find their way onto the table every few days.  Some days the materials are really simple (something like card stock, stickers, and crayons, or paper, stamps, and ink pads), and other days the materials are a little more exciting (sparkly pipe cleaners and shiny pony beads, or chocolate play dough, gingerbread man-shaped cookie cutters, and buttons).  I almost always put out new materials while Miss G’s asleep, and I leave them for her to discover on her own.  Though I don’t actively encourage her to engage in the activities at her creative table (they’re more of an ongoing invitation to create), she almost always squeals in delight upon finding something new and gets creating right away.

This invitation to decorate paper Christmas trees was a HUGE hit today.  So much so that she ended up creating seven different trees and took her time with each, creating seven unique masterpieces.

Paper Christmas Tree DecoratingHere’s what she found at her table after nap time…  Some tree shapes cut out of green construction paper, some crayons (Melissa & Doug’s jumbo triangular crayons are by far the best ones we’ve ever used), white glue, a glue pen, and a tray full of goodies.

IMG 3289The decorations are all things I had on hand… Shape stickers, buttons, yarn, sparkly pompoms, sequins, pony beads, and foam circles.  Of course, these items could be swapped out for just about anything – and if you don’t have a large stock of craft supplies on hand, look in your kitchen.  There are so many fun things that can be used as craft supplies in your pantry.  Fun-shaped pasta, rice, dried beans, lentils, cereal pieces – anything goes really.

IMG 3290The beautify of Miss G’s creative table is that she uses the materials the way she sees fit.  I don’t set out an example or show her ‘the right way’ to do the activity (although I try to avoid both of those things for most activities, not only those happening at her creative table)…  It’s open-ended and she’s free to interpret the project as she likes.  (While these materials quite easily lend themselves to a certain finished product, they can still be used in many different ways.  Some children may stick the paper trees together, some may use glue as a decoration on its own, and some may rip up the trees into new shapes…)

IMG 3292Gracen adored this set-up and particularly liked how I had moved her table next to our real tree this time around.  She oohed and ahhhed over the materials and then announced that she was going to decorate her trees.

IMG 3293One thing I had forgotten {and should really know by now} is a damp cloth.  My girl likes to be able to wash the glue off of her fingers as she goes.  My mistake!

IMG 3303I left her at her table, popping in every so often to snap a couple photos or ask her about her trees, but she was very content on her own.

IMG 3309Other than the stickers (she’s sticker obsessed), these sparkly pompoms were her favourite material.  She kept saying, “Dese sparkly pompoms sooo prickly, Mama”. 

IMG 3310IMG 3312Her creations took her well into dark until Papa returned home from work.

IMG 3316By the end of it, our coffee table was fully covered in drying Christmas trees and our little lady was very proud of her creations.

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