Homemade Playdoh (OT Things)

joshua playdoh Today feels like a good day to put some of my OT (Occupational Therapy) skills to use since I’ll be graduating in ONE WEEK!

In honor of almost being done (EE!), I decided to start a segment of this blog called, “OT Things”, in which I’ll give tips & tricks to help kiddo’s with their fine-motor, social & sensory development. Because that’s a part of what we do as OT’s 🙂

So, Playdoh. It truly has so many benefits for children AND they love it.

why you should make it, rather than buy it:

1. If your kid accidentally eats it, no harm done! It’s edible! (But I definitely do NOT encourage eating it, since it’s really high in sodium)

2. It’s cheap. There’s a good chance you already have all the ingredients.

3. If your kids are older like >3 years, they are going to get such a kick out of MAKING their own playdoh! It’s great bonding & fun for you and your little one.

4. Get creative with it! You can create whatever colors you want using food coloring. And for an added bonus, you can use Kool-aid to make it FLAVORED. Now the kids will really get a kick out of that.

Benefits of Playdoh for Toddlers:

  • Promotes Fine Motor Development Because there are so many different things you can do with playdoh, there are plenty of opportunities for skill enhancement: grasping, dexterity, hand & finger strength & motor control.
  • Engages Sense of Touch An overall wonderful and necessary sensory experience. This is especially helpful for children that need help with sensory processing.
  • It’s FUN! It keeps them entertained and engaged for long stretches of time. Not to mention all the different ways you can use it.

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Homemade Playdough recipe

Ingredients (You can double if you want more)

1 C flour
1 TBS oil
1/4 C salt
1 TBS cream of tartar
3/4 C boiling water
food coloring (optional)

Directions
  1. Pour 1 cup of flour into a bowl.
  2. Add 1/4 cup of salt.
  3. Mix in 1 tbsp Cream of Tartar. (You can find this in the spice section of just about any grocery store.)
  4. Add 1 tbsp of oil. For this recipe I used vegetable oil, but you can use any oil, and as long as it’s a kitchen oil, your playdough will be non-toxic and safe if a little one takes a tiny taste.  The sodium level is very high, so we don’t encourage this to double as a snack.
  5. Pour in the boiling water. Be VERY careful because this makes the dough HOT!
  6. Mix all the ingredients together until they form the dough. At this point, if you don’t want to add any food dye to your playdough, you’re finished!
  7. After it’s cooled, to make different colors of playdough, cut the dough in half and roll it up into balls.
  8. Now, punch out the middle of the ball to leave a little bowl for you to pour your gel food dye into.
  9. Drip your gel dye into the bowls. This is a great time to mix dye colors if you want to make another color.
  10. Knead the dough until the dye is thoroughly mixed. This is VERY messy! If you don’t want to stain your hands, use gloves, and make sure to put something down so you don’t stain your counter (like I did).

Adapted slightly from: http://kidsactivitiesblog.com/206/play-dough

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars

So apparently, I don’t put any non-dessert food items on this blog. I really want to… but I tend to enjoy baking more than cooking (opposite my husband).

In light of Nick’s birthday this past Wednesday, I decided to make (& post) his favorite dessert: Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars.

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These are amazing and generally a HUGE hit. They’re soft and delicious and are best served in small squares because of their richness.

Definitely give these a try! They are perfect for a potluck or a kids party or anywhere where sugar is welcome.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars

Ingredients:

  • 1 (18.25) package plain yellow cake mix
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 (12 oz) package semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 Tablespoons butter

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  • Combine cake mix, melted butter (1/2 C), peanut butter, and eggs in a large bowl using a mixer or spoon. Press the cake mixture into a 9X13 pan reserving 1 1/2 cup of the mixture to crumble on top.
  • In a small pot, melt chocolate chips and butter (2 Tbs). Remove from heat.
  • Spread chocolate mixture over the mixture pressed in the pan and then crumble the 1 1/2 cups of reserved cake mixture on top evenly.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes. Cool completely before cutting into bars.

Adapted slightly from: http://www.the-girl-who-ate-everything.com/2009/03/peanut-butter-chocolate-bars.html

Strawberry Icebox Cake

My latest pinterest find: the Strawberry Icebox Cake

Apparently, it’s a thing.

So, first of all, it looks rather simple to make, but it required a tad bit of work to make my own whipped cream. After that, it was easy peasy… and came out absolutely delicious. I had seconds… and thirds…

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The homemade whipped cream is delicious. The graham crackers get nice and soft and all the flavors blend together perfectly.

You will definitely want to give this a shot. I plan on making this again at our next dinner party!

Strawberry Icebox Cake (No Bake)

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds fresh strawberries, washed
  • 3 cups whipping cream
  • 1/3 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon rosewater (optional)
  • 4 sleeves (about 19 ounces, or 24 to 28 whole crackers) graham crackers
  • 4 ounces baker’s semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

Instructions

  1. Take out a few of the best-looking strawberries and set them aside for the garnish. Hull the remainder of the strawberries and cut each berry into thin slices.
  2. With a hand mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer, whip 3 cups of cream until it just holds stiff peaks. Add the confectioners sugar, vanilla, and rosewater (if using) and whip to combine.
  3. Spread a small spoonful of whipped cream on the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch baking pan, or a similarly-sized platter. Lay down six graham crackers. Lightly cover the top of the graham crackers with more whipped cream, and then a single layer of strawberries. Repeat three times, until you have four layers of graham crackers. Spread the last of the whipped cream over the top and swirl it lightly with a spoon. Add a few more strawberries.
  4. To make the chocolate drizzle, place the baker’s chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and heat on high for 2 minutes, stopping at 1 minute to stir. Drizzle this over the layered dessert with a spoon, or transfer to a squeeze bottle and use that to drizzle.
  5. Refrigerate for at least four hours, or until the crackers have softened completely. Garnish with additional berries if desired.

Recipe slightly adapted from: http://www.eatagreatdeal.com/2015/01/no-bake-strawberry-icebox-cake.html