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How to make edible crafts for kids

Give a kid play dough, and he just might sample its taste. Better yet, let him help you make homemade play dough -- that's designed for molding an eating. Mother-daughter team Mary Ann Ross and Kimberly Lainson provide plenty of play dough and other edible recipes sure to delight your child.

Art supplies you can eat
If your children are at the age of preferring to eat their art supplies while you are trying to teach them to expand their creative skills, you'll enjoy these perfect projects -- edible crafts! Simply print out the projects you like and paste to colored index cards for future reference. Jell-O Play Dough
Ingredients:
1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
1 cup water
1 tablespoon oil
2 teaspoons Cream of Tarter
1 (3-1/2 oz.) package "unsweetened" Jell-O

Directions:
Mix all ingredients together and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until consistency of mashed potatoes. Let cool and knead with floured hands until dry.

Storage: This recipe needs to cool completely "before" storing it in an airtight container!

Note: The items made from this play dough recipe can be painted when they are dry.

Oatmeal Play Dough
Ingredients:
1 part flour
2 parts oatmeal
1 part water

Directions:
Mix ingredients together and form into shapes.

Note: The items made from this play dough recipe can be painted when they are dry.

Cream Cheese Play Dough
Ingredients:
8 oz. package of cream cheese
1/2 cup non-fat dry milk
1 tablespoon honey
crackers or bread slices

Directions:
Combine cream cheese, milk and honey in a bowl and mix until well blended. Mold sculptures on wax paper.

Storage: Unused portions MUST BE STORED in an airtight container and kept refrigerated!!! Because cream cheese is perishable, use the expiration date on the cream cheese package as your guide for how long you can keep this play dough.

Note: The shapes can then be placed on crackers or bread slices, decorated with edibles (celery or carrot slivers, raisins, dried fruit pieces, nuts, or seeds for a healthy snack... then EAT!!

Peanut Butter/Graham Cracker Play Dough*
Ingredients:
Equal amounts of Peanut Butter and Marshmallow Cream
Graham Crackers

Directions:
Allow children to crumble up Graham Crackers, then set the crumbs aside. Let them have just a little touch of the Marshmallow Cream and a little touch of peanut butter to feel the different textures and to lick off their fingers. (Make sure they wash their hands before starting this project.)

Mix the peanut butter and Marshmallow Cream together and have the children notice the change in texture.

Cover surface area with wax paper or use a breadboard, let children make into shapes.

Roll shapes in Graham Cracker crumbs, then EAT!!

Storage: When not using, MUST be stored in an airtight container

Peanut Butter Play Dough*
Ingredients:
One 18-oz. jar creamy peanut butter
6 tablespoons honey
3/4 cup non-fat dry milk

Directions:
Mix ingredients together, using varying amounts of dry milk for desired consistencies. Knead it with fingers, forming into desired shapes, adding other foods like M&M's or peanuts for eyes, mouths, etc. Great fun! - Thanks to Lisa M.H.

Storage: When not using, MUST be stored in an airtight container

Girl Scout Peanut Butter Play Dough* Ingredients: 1 cup peanut butter 1/2 cup honey 2 cups powdered sugar Directions: Mix all ingredients in a bowl, using your hands. Dough should feel soft and pliable. Form shapes and be creative!! Storage: When not using, MUST be stored in an airtight container.

Smooth Peanut Butter Play Dough*
Ingredients:
2 cups smooth peanut butter
2 cups rolled oats
2 cups dried milk
2/3 cups honey

Directions:
Mix all ingredients until thoroughly combined.

Storage: When not using, MUST be stored in an airtight container

Frosting Play Dough*
Ingredients:
1 can frosting (any flavor)
1-1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter

Directions:
Mix together until dough reaches desired consistency

Storage: When not using, MUST be stored in an airtight container and refrigerated. Next time you want to use it, let it come to room temperature for pliable dough.

* For the recipes including peanut butter, be aware that some children are allergic to peanut butter.

Chocolate Play Dough
Ingredients:
8 oz. semisweet chocolate
1/4 cup plus one tablespoon light
corn syrup
Directions:
Melt the chocolate in a metal bowl set over a pan of simmering water (a double boiler). Stir the chocolate with a spoon until smooth, then stir in the corn syrup. The chocolate will stiffen almost immediately, but stir until completely combined. Transfer the chocolate to a sturdy plastic bag and refrigerate until firm; the consistency will be that of Play Dough.

When firm, the dough can be worked by kneading. If it is too hard, cut off small pieces and knead until pliable. If the dough sticks to the counter when rolling, lightly spray counter or breadboard with vegetable spray or lightly grease with vegetable oil.

  1. Hand shape the dough into a rope or braid, making two or three long ropes and twist or braid them together -- can be used as the outside edge on top of a cake or around the base.
  2. Make ribbons to cover the cake. To do this, pat your dough into a disk shape and roll dough out to desired thickness using a rolling pin or else use a manual pasta machine.
  3. Flowers, too!

Storage: When not using, MUST be stored in an airtight container and refrigerate

Kool-Aid Play Dough
Ingredients:
1 cup flour
1 cup water
1/2 cup salt
3 teaspoons Cream of Tartar
1 package Kool-Aid Mix (any flavor of unsweetened)
1 tablespoon cooking oil

Directions:
Mix dry ingredients together in a large saucepan. Slowly add water mixed with oil and stir over medium heat until mixture thickens to dough. Turn out onto a heatproof bread board or counter top and knead until cool enough for children to handle. Dough will be the color of the Kool-Aid mix and will smell like the Kool-Aid mix. (Can be stored in a tightly covered container for up to six months)

Chocolate Clay
Ingredients:
10 ounces chocolate
almond bard or candy discs
1/3 cup corn syrup

Directions:
Slowly melt candy and stir until smooth. Add syrup and blend thoroughly. Pour onto waxed paper and spread with fingers until about 1/2 inch thick. Cover loosely with waxed paper and allow it to stiffen (couple of hours). Then play and eat.

To make flower petals, roll out little balls and flatten them, then pinch the petals together and these make wonderful "I Love You" gifts, even if it isn't Valentine's Day. Compliments of Kim Swanger

Storage: When not using, MUST be stored in an airtight container and refrigerate

Fruit Loop Necklaces
(a simple tool for reinforcing "patterning")
Give the children a piece of elastic cording approximately 18-inches long and a bowl of dry fruit loops. Help them sort the fruit loops into colors and decide on a pattern to string on the elastic cording (example: red, yellow, red, green, red, yellow, red, green, etc.)

Pizza Heads
(helps children to identify parts of a face and recognize that no two "people" are exactly the same and everyone is special)

Ingredients:
Refrigerator biscuits (larger ones work best)
Pizza Sauce
Cheese
Pepperoni, sausage, olives or whatever foods you can think of

Directions:
Flatten biscuit for each child and help them put sauce on it. Then let them use their own imaginations for designing their person's face (example: pepperoni eyes, olive nose, pineapple mouth or teeth, cheese hair, sausage ears, etc.)

Finger paint Pudding
Jell-O Finger-paint (allows the children to taste, smell, see and touch the colors)

Just mix instant pudding and place approximately one-quarter cup on a styrofoam meat tray for each child. Let them have fun drawing and licking as they go! In a small bowl, mix dry gelatin with hot water 1 teaspoon at a time until a paste is formed. This will be grainy. By adding more or less water, you can make it the consistency you want it to be.

Fall Trees
(imagination is the key!)
Prepare ahead of time two or three pans of Jell-O in thin layers using fall colors (cherry, lime, lemon, etc.). Buy pretzel sticks and place one large one for the tree trunk on a paper plate for each child. Let them use small leaf cookie cutters to cut out the "leaves" of their trees from the Jell-O.

Pretzel Initials
(some children learn easier by touch and this project just helps to reinforce the shapes of the initial or letters of their name)
Ingredients:
1 envelope dry yeast
1-1/2 cup warm water
1 tablespoon sugar
4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
Glaze: 1 beaten egg and a little salt

Directions:
Soften the yeast in water, add remaining ingredients and knead until pliable. Give each child a ball of dough and let them roll it out "like a snake" and help them form the letter (or letters) of their first initial, name, etc. Place formed dough on a greased baking sheet, brush with glaze and sprinkle with salt. Bake at 425 degrees for 12-15 minutes.

Bread Dough Recipe
Ingredients:
1 tablespoons quick-acting yeast
1 cup water
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon oil

Directions:
Preheat over to 400 degrees. Measure the water, sugar and yeast into a bowl and mix. Wait two or three minutes for the yeast to soften. Stir in one cup of flour, then add oil, salt and remaining cup of flour. Sprinkle flour onto a wooden breadboard and place the dough on it. Knead dough for about five minutes.

Place dough in a bowl and cover it, letting it rise for about 45 minutes in a warm place away from drafts, open windows, etc. Punch the dough down and work it into a ball. Next, separate the dough into smaller portions and let the children use their hands to roll the dough into ropes or snakes to mold dough into different shapes.

Ghost Snack (for a healthier snack use raisins instead of M&M's)
Marshmallow Building Blocks (inexpensive afternoon snack)
Grilled Cheese People (children can use their imaginations while helping you prepare their lunch!)

Spread softened cream cheese on slices of white bread. Give each child one slice of the bread and a ghost cookie cutter. After they have cut it out let them use various things to decorate it. (Change the cookie cutter pattern to fit any holiday throughout the year) Show your child how to stick toothpicks into the marshmallows and then allow them to build anything their imaginations allow, including perhaps a contest to see who can build the tallest tower.

Ahead of time, use a round cookie cutter to cut out circles from slices of bread. Let the children top the circles with cheese. To make each cheesy person, use two circles (one for the head and one for the body). Place them on a cookie sheet, add bacon bits eyes, noses and buttons. Broil until the cheese melts and give one cheesy person to each child. Let them then add the arms and legs (carrot and celery sticks) and the bread left over from cutting out the circles can now be used as shoes, gloves, hats, neckties, bows, etc.

Tasty Paint
1 can sweetened condensed milk
Several drops of food coloring

Give the children paintbrushes and paper or just let them use their fingers. The paint will be a pastel color and when it dries, it will be kind of glossy.

Enjoy these fun projects with your children by letting your imagination be your guide. be an "un-grownup," it's fun!

* For the recipes including peanut butter, be aware that some children are allergic to peanut butter.

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