When my three sons were toddlers, some of the best fun they had was sitting on the floor and banging an upside-down saucepan with a wooden spoon. I’m relating this memory not to imply that my kids were a bit simple but to show that you don’t always need fancy toys or expensive activities to engage and have fun with little kids. They’re often just as happy with an empty box to crawl in and out of or something they can safely bang to create a satisfying noise.
Another popular activity with my boys was making things out of playdough. It was usually good at keeping them busy for a while (always handy for frazzled parents!) and is a material that chubby little fingers can usually manage.
Traditional homemade playdough often contains more salt than commercial versions, which can lead to serious issues if kids have a tendency to put it in their mouth (or if pets gobble some down). That risk led the UK’s National Poisons Information Service to issue a warning around homemade playdough in 2014. Symptoms of salt poisoning in kids include thirst, tiredness, vomiting, irritability, headaches and nausea.
If, however, you’d prefer to ditch the commercial version, here’s how to make playdough at home that is salt-free.
How to make playdough
Salt-free Playdough (courtesy of Playgroup NSW)
What you need:
2 cups plain flour
½ cup oil
Add the oil to the flour and mix thoroughly.
Mix food colouring with water.
Add and mix in enough of the water to make a soft dough.
Read more: Kids in the Kitchen