Christmas is all about The Nativity and the birth of Jesus. As we often do in our house, we discuss and learn topics through reading. The Nativity Story is one that we read together every year, and love to find variations with beautiful illustrations. This Gift of the Magi play dough represents the gifts of gold and frankincense (we omitted Myrrh as I have heard varying things about it being kid-safe). Frankincense essential oil has stress-relieving and anxiety reducing properties, making this a perfect calming holiday sensory tool.
Gift of the Magi Play Dough
We like to make play dough from scratch. It is easy to make (I prefer no-cook), makes large batches, and lasts for quite some time. Our favorite recipe is similar to this one from The Imagination Tree, with a bit of a twist.
What you need:
- 2 cups flour
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1/2 salt
- 1 tbsp alum (we use this instead of cream of tartar)
- fine gold glitter
- 1 1/4 cup hot water
- Frankincense Essential Oil
What to do:
- Mix flour, vegetable oil, salt, alum and glitter in a bowl.
- Add hot water slowly, mixing until the right consistency. (If too wet, add more flour; if too dry, add more water).
- Once play dough has formed, add 6-7 drops of frankincense.
- Continue to knead and soften the dough.
Calming Sensory and Pretend Play
The properties of the essential oil combined with the stress-reducing qualities of sensory play, make this the ultimate play dough experience. I have to say, I LOVE the smell of the oil and so do my kids, it is so festive and woodsy. My kids dug right in squishing and squeezing the dough.
We read The Nativity book while we played with the play dough. Additionally, to represent myrrh (a resin from a small thorny tree) we incorporated a small, fake ‘Christmas tree’. The kids enjoyed pressing the tree into the sparkling dough and making impressions.
We hope you enjoy this play dough recipe and have a wonderful time playing with it and your kids! Let us know what you think of it, and if you really love it, we hope you share it with your friends. Happy Holidays!
Katie believes that children learn best through play and hands-on experiences, this is why she writes at the blog, Views From a Step Stool.
She brings her background in special education and her Master’s in Educational Psychology together to write about and develop kids activities that engage the senses and provoke curiosity.
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