All-time favourite play and craft recipes for kids

July 16, 2015

You've probably run across some or all of the following recipes at one time or another, but they're not always easy to track down when you need them. These are basic to children's play and crafts to keep the little ones happily busy for hours. The bonus? They are all easy to make.

All-time favourite play and craft recipes for kids


Kids love the freedom of finger painting. It's fun but messy, so keep containers of finger paint safely away from eager little hands. Finger painting is one children's activity that's best done supervised.

  • 125 grams (1/2 cup) cornstarch
  • 500 millilitres (two cups) cold water
  • Food colouring
  1. Combine cornstarch and water in a saucepan and place over high heat.
  2. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook until thickened, stirring constantly.
  3. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
  4. Divide mixture among containers and stir several drops of food colouring into each.

To store, pour the finger paint into small plastic containers with snap-on lids and store at room temperature.

Craft paste

This white paste is easy to throw together with ingredients from your pantry and is used for craft projects and making papier-mâché.

  • One litre (one quart) water
  • 125 grams (1/2 cup) salt
  • 350 grams (1 1/2 cups) white flour
  1. Bring water to boil in a medium saucepan.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in salt.
  3. Add flour a little at a time, stirring constantly. Continue to add flour and stir until mixture is the consistency of thick gravy.
  4. Cool to room temperature before using.

Store the paste in an airtight container in the fridge. It may keep as long as five days, but throw it away immediately if it becomes mouldy or has a bad smell.

Play clay

Two kitchen staples — baking soda and cornstarch — are the basis of this easy-to-make clay that will inspire your child's imagination for hours of play.

  • 500 grams (two cups) baking soda
  • 250 grams (one cup) cornstarch
  • 350 millilitres (1 1/4 cups) cold water
  • Food colouring (optional)
  1. In a medium-size saucepan, mix together baking soda and cornstarch.
  2. Add water and stir. Add food colouring to the water, if desired.
  3. Set over medium heat and stir continuously for 10 to 15 minutes. Do not overcook. Mixture should have the consistency of mashed potatoes.
  4. Transfer the cooked mixture to a plate and cover with a damp cloth to cool to room temperature.

Between uses, store play clay in a self-sealing plastic bag or an airtight container. It keeps in the fridge for up to a week. To harden clay objects, air-dry overnight on a wire rack. Or place them on a cookie sheet in a preheated 180°C/350°F oven then turn off the heat and keep the objects in the oven until it's cold. To microwave, place objects on a paper towel and microwave at medium power for 30 seconds. Turn objects over and heat for another 30 seconds, repeating as necessary until objects are hard and dry.

These easy-to-make craft recipes are great for last-minute rainy day fun activities to keep your children busy.

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