Teaching children about sustainability can be tricky. Kids tend to be more materialistic than adults, and being told “less is more” never impressed any of my kids.
Fortunately, there are fun ways you can introduce the concept of sustainability that doesn’t require the kids to give up anything. When my children’s favorite consumable substance, play-doh, inevitably got left out and dried up, I chose to show them how to make play-doh and refill the colorful plastic cup, rather than go out and buy more.
We used the recipe from “The Best Ideas For Kids” to make this. The ingredients are as follows:
- 1 cup flour
- 2 tsp cream of tartar
- 1/2 cup salt
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 cup water
- food coloring
Mix the dry ingredients in one bowl, and the wet ingredients in a large pot. Add the food coloring to the water. (If you want more than one color, you can mix it in later, but it’s a lot harder.)
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in the pot, and cook on low while stirring. It will clump up in no time into your play-doh!
Once the play-doh has formed a ball and appears cooked, remove and let cool. When it’s cool enough to touch, need for 5 minutes and you’ve got your play-doh!
I highly recommend reading the tutorial from the original source since it explains why you need certain ingredients.
Using the opportunity
Making the play-doh was a great way for me to talk to my children about single use waste and the problem of plastic in a safe manner for them. Packaging in particular is very important for my son, almost as important as a new toy or game. It’s also a great rainy day activity to keep kids from getting bored, just like these ones.
While we made the play-doh, we talked about how plastic never really goes away, and that we can help the planet by making our own play-doh and reusing the cups instead of flooding the landfills with tons of little plastic cups.
It was a fun lesson, and it turns out, homemade play-doh is actually better quality than the stuff that came in the first cup! A win for everyone.