Sculpt the Future in Play Dough: Fun Salt Dough Crafts for Kids and Parents

Have you ever stopped to think that every single one of us uses our hands for work? Whether it’s typing in an office environment, weaving a basket, holding a camera steady, or planting seeds on a farm, we all use our hands to make a living – it’s an experience everyone shares. That’s why tactile materials – like sand and play dough ­– are particularly appropriate for use in talking about your children’s future careers.

Not only do art and craft activities with squishy substances help develop your child’s hand-eye coordination and concentration, they let their imaginations run wild as your little ones magically turn shapeless lumps into anything they want them to be.

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As parents, we all too frequently think we can mould our children into what we want them to be, but perhaps they have other ideas.

Why not sit down together and take a look at how the World’s No. 1 Sand Artist, Jooheng Tan, uses his hands to produce amazing sand art sculptures of different children’s aspirations? Then, talk with your children about what they want to be when they grow up.

Fun Salt Dough Crafts for Kids and Parents

Next, grab something squishy – leftover pastry, homemade play dough (see instructions below), or even cookie dough (though be careful not to hold this too long in your hands, as cookie dough will get very crumbly!) – and sculpt the future together. Make-believe you are working together at professions that involve making products by hand, like baking, pottery, weaving, or making jewelry. Or, make objects that might assist workers in different professions – like a rocket for an astronaut, a microphone for a singer, or a bat and ball for a cricket player.

With younger children, perhaps help fashion a little person and verbally guide them through a fun scenario: “My name is (insert daughter/son’s name) and I’m going to work. What do I do?” This activity is all about encouraging your child to think about his or her future, but a certain amount of make-believe is good for all of us. When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? And what do you want to do with your life now?

An Easy Play Dough Recipe (Salt Dough)

This is the simplest recipe ever! All you need to do is mix table salt and plain flour in a 1:2 ratio (so one part salt, two parts flour) and add water gradually until you get a firm, knead-able dough. Let it rest for half an hour before using. Store the salt dough in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.

How to Make Play Dough

  • Add 1 tbsp vegetable oil to make kneading easier.
  • Add a bit of lemon juice for a crisper result once dried.
  • Add liquid food colourings to the dough, or leave plain – your child can also paint their creations once they’ve dried.
  • Be creative with the tools you use to play with the dough – consider things like toothpicks, chopsticks, and plastic forks.
  • To preserve, air-dry for 48 hours, or bake in the oven on a low heat for three to four hours (it’s ready when it sounds hollow).

Doing any arts and crafts activities can be messy! Be sure to check out the advice provided by the Surf Excel Stain Gang app to find out how to keep your clothing clean and bright.

What does your child want to be when he or she grows up? Leave us a comment below and let us know!  And don’t forget to share pictures of your salt dough crafts with us on our Facebook page!