If you haven't figured it out yet, we do a lot with homemade playdough in this house. It's the go-to activity for my younger kids when something pressing has come up for me to take care of, as an alternative to media for the kids, or when my toddler is moody. Yes, Rowan.
Playdough is a mom's best friend.
With this being the first big week of Nutcracker rehearsals/performances and preparing for a lot of "waiting" time with my non-performing kids, this idea to make one of our favorite activities portable could not have come at a better time.
It is simple, manageable for quick clean up, and all compact to grab and go when we are heading out the door this week. And it's all based on one of our favorite seasonal playdough themes: making and decorating christmas trees.
This Christmas to-go playdough set is idea for kids ages 2-8.
Your child can open the set all by him/her self and have everything they need for creative play wherever there is a flat surface to set it upon. Once the ribbon is untied and the lid is open, the lid to the container becomes the "work surface". No worries with wiping down the table after play. If the lid isn't flat or big enough for cutting out Christmas trees and decorating, simply bring a folded piece of foil or wax paper to become your child's easy-to-clean-up work surface.
What you'll need for this Christmas Tree To-Go Playdough Set:
- air tight multi-compartment container or bento box
- half a batch of our homemade green playdough* (or buy a pack of green)
- one christmas tree cookie cutter
- one child rolling pin
- ribbon to tie set together
Christmas tree "decorations" for play:
- multi-colored pom poms
- dry white beans
- any small-medium supplies you have on hand for decorating a "tree"
*To make this set even more special and aromatherapeutic, add pine or evergreen essential oil to the green playdough. Both oils have a woodsy scent and are calming oils.
1. Fill each of the compartments with the small decorations by kind.
2. Fit the playdough snugly into the largest compartment.
3. Close the lid (the snap lid containers are awesome for keeping air out) and make sure your container is sealed shut to keep the playdough supple and moist.
4. Thread your cookie cutter through your ribbon and tie a double know (not too tight so kids can still open the knot).
5. Slide the rolling pin through the slack in the tided ribbon.
You're ready to grab + go!
This play set is ideal for kids:
- waiting at sibling's sports activities/practices
- waiting for parents in meetings
- in the car (for older kids who know to keep the playdough in its compartment to be decorated as is)
- as one of the "stations" to rotate through at home (Remember our stations??)
- waiting at doctor's appointments
- waiting, waiting, waiting--keep it in your handbag or car for emergencies
Although this set was designed for being played with out and about, it sure has gotten a lot of use on our own kitchen counter. Since it is compact and all of the supplies are always together, it works great to pull out of the pantry and hand over to a child for some kitchen counter play.
There are so many ideas and variations for decorating these playdough Christmas tree. This activity never gets old for kids. And for a child, boy does it beat reading the same Highlight magazine on the doctor's magazine shelf or trying to sit still to wait and wait some more in any given situation.
I originally made this set for the twins and Rowan to take turns playing with this week while we are away from home. But now after watching Johanna getting so involved with the set I might let her take it back into the "angel waiting room" at her venue for some creative play while she waits.
I hope this to-go idea inspires you to try this or invent some other to-go activity for your kids during this busy season. Children love having something creative to do when they are not at home and bored/ready for some structured play.
the sleepy time gal