Salt dough is one of my favorite mediums to use with young kids.
It creates a fabulous clay that can be dried and hardened in the sun.
It’s taste safe, so if it does go into the mouth, it’s not a 911 situation.
The recipe is also simple enough and forgiving enough that my three year old and four year old can complete most of the recipe steps themselves without risk of being unable to complete the project.
We recently made some fabulous dough ornaments using beans for adornment.
The kids loved making them.
The recipe, bean assortment and design suggestions were provided as an invitation to create by Mother Goose Time.
Invitation to Create
- Invite children to help you make the no-bake clay. (See recipe below.)
- Provide beans, seeds, or other nature items that may have been collected into the center of the table.
- Give each child some clay.
- What designs would you like to create?
- Invite children to press beans into the clay.
- Would you like to create letters, shapes or numbers?
- How can you use the nature items in your mosaic?
No Bake Clay Recipe
- 1 cup flour
- 1/2 cup salt
- 1/2 cup warm water
Step 1 – Mix flour and salt in a large bowl.
Step 2 – Stir in warm water.
Step 3 – Knead the mixture for about 5 minutes.
Step 4 – Press nature items. birdseed, rice, or beans into the clay to create a design.
(We used beans and a few flower petals).
Step 5 – Let the clay dry in the sun.
Hints and Tips
Ours took approximately 3 days to dry completely.
I recommend placing the ornaments to dry on wax paper so they don’t stick and flipping them once to dry on the opposite side once they are solid enough to hold their shape.
If you wish to hang them as ornaments, I recommend using a pencil to put a hole approximately 1/4 inch away from the outside edge through which you can thread some string, ribbon, or embroidery floss for hanging.
Owl at 3 years old
My three year old is still very process art oriented.
He was all about mixing the dough.
He loved sifting together the dry ingredients, flour and salt.
He adored getting to pour in the water himself.
He wore out a little during the mixing phase and if water had not been limited, we would have had soup.
I helped him mix the dough to the point that it was appropriate to start using his hands to knead the mixture and he was officially a happy camper.
He played in the dough and only showed interest in making the ornaments after he saw his sister creating some using the measuring cup to create circles.
He then managed to find some drinking water and started all over again with much wetter dough.
In the few ornaments of his that did survive for the baking process you can easily see the water/speckled appearance.
He was completely happy with his ornaments and not interested in saving them; however, he has already asked that we “make clay ornaments again.”
Ladybug at 4 years old
My four year old is much more interested in creating a product.
She enjoys the process and is in favor of the project proceeding with minimal direction, but wants very much to walk away with something she can show others in the house or give as a gift.
This project was a great fit for her.
She was all about making shapes and letters.
By the end she made so many on each ornament, it was difficult to distinguish what those letters and shapes were, but she knew and was pleased with her results!
If you and your kids enjoyed this activity, I encourage you to check out some other wonderful projects we’ve completed a part of our partnership with Mother Goose Time!