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The kids are happily pounding away at their play dough right now.  The homemade kind.

When I saw it on Nicolas’s track, my immediate thought was, “He needs to make his own.”  I used to make it once or twice a year for the boys’ preschool classes, and the recipe was still floating around here on my hard drive.  It couldn’t be easier, and it’s fun for the older kids to help with.  I figured the kneading would be good, OT-wise, too.


1/2 Cup salt
1 Cup flour
1 Tbsp. cream of tartar
1 Tbsp. oil
1 Cup water
Food coloring

Dump all of the ingredients, except the food coloring, into a heavy pot.  (I doubled this batch, so each boy would have a giant lump to play with.)

Turn stove on medium heat and stir.

And stir.

And stir.

(It takes some strength after a while…they each only stirred for a few seconds.  You have to keep it moving.)

Until you have this:

A lump.

Careful, if it starts to smoke, yank the pot off the heat.  It’s done.

Okay, this is very, very hot dough.  I do NOT let the boys touch it yet.  I don’t think it would burn them (although the pot would), but remember: Sensory Processing Disorder.  Heat hurts Nicolas.

Anywho, carefully turn the dough out onto a clean countertop and knead it a few times.

When you’ve kneaded it for a couple of minutes, and it’s cool enough for the kids to handle, divide the dough as you see fit.  In this case, I divided it into two equal lumps, so each boy would get their own color.  If you want to make dough of many colors, make a lump for each color.

Create a well to put the food coloring in, and drip it in!  Kalen asked for a turquoisy-green, so I put in mostly green with a smidge of blue.

Fold it up.


And knead.

And knead.

And knead.  (Nicolas wanted “just blue.”)

Until the color’s all blended in.  Add more food coloring, and repeat the kneading bit, if you’d like.

See?  Turquoisy-green.

Making R2: Day Two

After painting the body (interior trim white), prying the soccer ball out of the [mostly] dry paper mache, and trimming the dome to size, raid the recycling bins for appropriate droid leg materials.


Cut, configure, and tape legs.


Prime legs and feet.  Realize as you’re doing so that you should have built and attached legs and feet before the first primer/painting round.  Oh well.


Prime again after first coat dries, because even Kilz doesn’t stick so well to plastic packing tape on the first go.

Compare work to model for accuracy.  Declare progress to this point a roaring success!


Use cardboard from recycling bin to create ledge inside dome.


Take this opportunity to teach about utilizing slits in a straight piece of cardboard to bend it to the necessary curve.  Attach with masking tape.

Cover dome with aluminum foil, and use cardboard ledge to hot glue it to the body.


Hopefully you remembered to cut an opening in the dome before this point, so the unit can actually be used as a Valentine mailbox.  We did.  (Yay!)

Call it quits for Day Two.  Admire the distinctly droid-like figure now residing on the kitchen table.


(P.S. Want to see how Nicolas’s R2-D2 Valentines Day Box came together?  Check out the posts here, here, and here!)

My boys

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