Salt dough—a staple of life when you have children. You can shape it into Christmas tree ornaments, baked to use year after year. You can keep it in a plastic tub and use it like Play-Doh, molding your creations and then smashing them back down into a blob when you’re done. But have you ever thought about using it as a tool in your homeschool?
Think of all the different ways you can take this incredible compound and use it to enrich your studies. Are you talking about geography? Use the dough to create a topographical map and show hills and rivers. Using your modeling tools, you can cut out the fjords of Norway or build the Rock of Gibraltar. Are you studying animals of the world? You can create hippos, rhinos, and hundreds of other amazing animal shapes while discussing where they live, their eating habits, and if they migrate. You can study human anatomy while forming bones and organs out of dough. A child is more likely to remember the shape of a femur and where it’s located if he’s made one himself.
Some children learn best through tactile activities, and you may find that concepts become easier to grasp when you can touch them and make them come alive in your hands. If you add the fun of baking the dough and then painting it, not only can you use realistic colors, but you can use those objects as learning tools for other students in the family or even in your neighborhood.
Salt dough and modeling clay don’t have to be just for young children—you can use this form of tactile teaching forever. Who doesn’t love to pick up a piece of clay and squish it—we never outgrow enjoying that sensation, and you will find that your older students gravitate toward participating as well.
Here is a basic salt dough recipe – enjoy!
2 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. table salt
Half a cup to three-quarters cup of water – start with half and then add more if the dough isn’t pliable enough.
Store in an air-tight plastic container or Ziplock bag.