The winter blues have summer feeling so far away!

But don’t worry, I have a project that is sure to chase away those horrid blues for you and your child(ren).

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The winter blues is in full force, but Phil has said that an early Spring is in our future. Is it really? It sure doesn’t feel that way.

I’ve seen a meme going around on Facebook (several times in fact) stating It’s the 194th day of January. It can sure feel that way. Staying indoors brings upon the feeling of that old saying of “Cabin Fever”. After all, Winter is a time for hibernating, I mean, take those clues from bears, bats, snails and box turtles. They spend their fall rushing around gathering food to basically plug their butts so they can sleep the winter away without worrying about going potty.**** Hmmmm…..that can’t feel too good. Honesty, is that even comfortable?

That’s the nature of the beast I guess.

Plugged butts aside, taking the cue from animals and our ancestors, we should take the time of short days and long nights to rest and hone our creative abilities. Use the time to reflect on the past and ponder the future. Meditate by painting or drawing or knitting or sculpting, heck, messing around with play dough is mesmerizing. Don’t believe me? Well, keep reading I have just the ticket for you.

Working with kids in my art classes, I have learned a ton from my young students. They live in the moment and don’t worry about the future ( I can attest, I have a 10 year-old who can’t understand the importance of a bath and good teeth brushing - BOYS!) When my students are engulfed in their art or craft, they truly take it all in. You know this, by the tell-tale sign of the tongue sticking out during intense concentration.

In case you’re in full-blown hibernating mode and don’t want to leave your cave to pick up some play dough, I have just the cure - HOMEMADE play dough. It’s fun and ooooh so easy to make. You probably have all or most of the ingredients in your pantry. If you have kids, make it a fun night of making dough, getting creative and relax. Maybe your tongue will make an appearance!

Once this simple recipe is made, you can separate into a couple of different sections and add glitter to one section, food coloring or essential oils to another. The possibilities are fun. Then when it’s time to sculpt, you have different colors and textures to work with.

Now for that awesome recipe (no cooking required)…

HOMEMADE PLAYDOUGH INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups flour

  • 1 cup salt

  • 2 Tbsp cream of tartar

  • 2 Tbsp oil (vegetable, olive oil or coconut oil works too)

  • Food coloring or liquid watercolors (if you have a budding artist in the household)

  • 2 cups boiling water

  • Glitter and/or essential oils (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Mix dry ingredients in a bowl.

2. Make a well in the center and add oil and coloring.

3. Pour in boiling water and mix.

4. It will look like a goopy mess and you’re going to be sure that you’re going to have to add a lot of flour to make it work. Just let it sit for a few minutes. It will firm up and work perfectly.

5. Take the dough out of the bowl and knead it a bit to form a ball. If you want to add glitter or essential oils, do so now and knead them in.

This recipe will last up to 6 months in a plastic zip lock baggie.

Above are fun sculptures my son and I have made.

Get creative and use buttons, feathers, sequins, pipe cleaners, leaves, pine needles, or anything you have around the house. Use toothpicks to scratch in texture. Use your rolling pin or a spoon or a table knife. Look around, there’s lots of cool tools laying about.

I enjoy using a portion to make something and then let it dry. Once dry, you can paint it and seal it with Modge Podge. It’s not only fun and therapeutic, but it’s a great way to make personalized gifts too.

Homemade play dough is great not just for kids, but adults as well. While your watching the fire crackle in the fireplace or mindlessly watching Golden Girls reruns, pull out your handy zip lock baggie and play away. Knead, roll, squish, pull, whatever….just relax and let your thoughts go.

****Although my hibernating statement was funny, it’s not true. The bears, basically yes, but not the other animals. You can read here on the Top Ten Coolest Hibernating Animals.

Written by Sami Turberville
Artful of Love owner and teacher