Using clay to create a festive Fourth

It's about time I fess up to yet another aspect of my book addiction (believe me, there's lots more to this aspect of my life). Over the past year, I've amassed a nice collection of old children's craft books, from the 1960s to the 1980s.



Anytime we're feeling crafty, we go through these books, all thrifted finds or from sales at the public library. For our latest activity, we consulted "Things to Make" by Peggy R. Greene, published in 1978.

Clay Play helped us produce the star garland (pictured above), which was perfect for the Fourth of July holiday. The activity caught my eye because it looked like fun and a great way to introduce my daughter, now two years old, to some basic cooking concepts using simple ingredients.

First, we assembled our ingredients to make the clay as instructed:
4 cups of unsifted flour, 1 cup of salt and 1 1/2 cups of cold water

This recipe makes a LOT of dough so you may want to halve it, instead of having to pull out all the cookie cutters you own, like we ended up doing.


Yes, that is my daughter licking the countertop, which I clean frequently for this very reason. Unfortunately, she is not yet past the stage of putting things in her mouth yet though I never would've guessed that the countertop would pose this kind of temptation.



Both my kids enjoyed putting the ingredients together.

I

I kneaded the dough for them and then instructed them to use their play rolling pins to flatten the dough. My daughter did not quite master the skill on the first try, but no worries since her brother was clearly in full concentration mode.



This part she liked.



I know now who to call on at Christmastime baking sessions.



As I said, we had PLENTY of dough and we just kept rolling and cutting until we had finished our dough. We then baked it for one hour at 325 degrees, waited a day for it to cool completely and then painted the pieces.


I like these trays, which I bought at the 99 Cent store, for painting. I find them more practical and less wasteful than the traditional paint cups, which invariably end up with paint in them after my kids get done painting.



Here is the finished product, hanging festively above their little table in the kitchen where they play often. Truthfully, I thought we were just going to make simple hand prints when we first started, but we made so much dough that we took out our cookie cutters.

I had three different sizes of star cutters so I decided this would make a festive garland for the Fourth of July holiday. After the holiday, we'll probably switch the garland with other pieces we made with other cookie cutters, but for now, my kids are enjoying their handiwork. They loved making something to adorn their little kitchen area and we had a great time together.

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