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Sensory Rainbow Play Dough Set

Written by Amy Rios Town Clerk/Crochet Artist

On Friday, February 9th Spencer was star student for his class in Preschool.  He was to invite a special person into class and they would tell the class a little bit about what they did professionally and have an activity for the students.  The star student also gets to wear a crown, do the calendar, lead the pledge of allegiance, serve the food, be line leader and turn off the lights.  Spencer was very excited for his big day.

In my former life, I was a Assistant Scientist in the Vaccines Research and Development group at Wyeth.  I used to sequence DNA and use a mass spectrometer to determine the purity of proteins among other things.  A spectrometer determines the wave lengths of the material you put into it and from the number(s) you get you can determine what if the sample is pure or not.  The spectrum is just a fancy way of saying rainbow, and what kid doesn’t love the rainbow?

All children are scientist from the moment they are born.  All they do is observe and learn from their surroundings.  So I decided to put their observation skills to the test.  I set up a simple ‘experiment’ for them and introduced them to my good friend ROY G BIV. This is the acronym for the colors of the rainbow Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo and Violet. I made eight different play doughs with common household materials.  They had different weights, textures, smells and colors.  I wanted to stimulate as many senses as I could.

Red – Cloud Dough – Flour and Oil.  I used regular kitchen oil.  If you don’t want to measure, put in a pile of flour and just add oil until the mixture is firm and pliable without being too oily.  This dough is light and fluffy, but sticks together quite well.

Orange – Foam Dough – Shaving Cream and Corn Starch. Spray a bunch of shaving foam into your bowl and add corn starch until the mixture is no longer sticking to your fingers.  This is a very light dough that feels almost like Styrofoam peanuts and will break into 5 million pieces.  It smells rather manly depending on the shaving foam you use.

Yellow – Marshmallow Dough – (not to be confused with dough that is actually made from marshmallows) Corn starch and Lotion.  Put as much lotion as you want in a bowl and add corn starch until it is a pliable substance that doesn’t stick to your fingers. Choose whatever lotion you want.  I went to the dollar store and found this very nice smelling aloe lotion.  This mixture has a little bit of weight to it but it feels like melted marshmallows. This was my favorite dough.

Green – Oil and Corn starch – this one I made up, I wanted to see what the difference between oil and corn starch would be verses oil and flour.  Well, the results were not what I was hoping for.  The substance was very heavy and had an oily sheen to it.  Your hands get quite oily when you are playing with it.  This was my least favorite dough.

Blue – Ice Cream Dough – Conditioner and Corn Starch. Squirt out as much conditioner you want and add corn starch until the dough is pliable and not sticking to your fingers.  This dough is called Ice Cream dough because the original post I found said to put the ingredients in the fridge to chill them down.  I obviously could not do this since we were doing this at school.  This was my second favorite dough, it was a little bit heavier that the Yellow dough and it makes your hands work a little bit to squish it.  I seriously could not keep my hands off this dough.

Indigo – Soda Oobleck – Baking Soda, corn starch and water.  If you have never made this Newtonian solid before you are in for a treat.  If you touch it slowly and gently you sink right in, but if you hit it, it is hard as a rock.  It is kinda gross feeling and it is very messy.

Violet – Salt dough – Salt, flour and water.  This dough was also heavy and very grainy.

White – Oobleck – corn starch and water. I wanted the children to see the consistency difference between standard oobleck and soda oobleck.

I do not have essential oils, so for the doughs that were made out of regular kitchen ingredients did not have any scent.  If you have them you could definitely add them to make the experience all that much more stimulating.

The kids had a BLAST!  They were squealing with delight and enjoying themselves so much.  Each child had their own favorite substance.  It was wonderful to see them having so much fun trying all the different doughs.  The only dough that didn’t get much love was the rock dough, but it was really bad (hey not every experiment turns out great).  I had brought in Spencer’s box of play dough toys so they had plenty of things to create with.  The kids mixed a lot of the doughs together, which I had to reign in my mixing issue.  Spencer knows all too well how protective I can be of my separate colors… and he was seriously the only kid who didn’t mix any color… hehe.

I am so glad Spencer’s star student day went over so well.  He was so excited to share our project with his class he was even telling them

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