How is your summer going? We've been starting to welcome in the hot dog days of summer around here, the kind where you can only stand being outside for ten minutes before crawling back into the air conditioning. As much as I'd love to spend every single summer day by the pool, that's just not always achievable, especially with a rascally two-year-old. Instead, we've been finding ways to entertain ourselves with the resources we have around us, making nature crafts and reading books. I came across a really great idea the other day to make some nature fossils with clay!
This craft ended up being my favorite yet, even more fun than DIY play dough, which was pretty fun! At first, I thought that we would make salt dough because I really didn't want to run out to the craft store and purchase air dry clay. That got me thinking - can I make some sort of clay at home that's not like salt dough? Salt dough can be kind of a pain to work with! It's just not soft and malleable like clay. I ended up finding a really great recipe that I think you will enjoy.
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 cup baking soda
3/4 cups water
Over the stove, mix the three ingredients together and heat over medium. Stirring constantly to break up clumps, let the mixture form into a light soup-like mixture. As you stir, it should start to form up into a thicker mixture, after about 5-8 minutes. When it starts to look like a thick frosting and can no longer be stirred, it's done! Don't overcook this one, and feel free to lower your heat if needed. You may want to use a plastic spatula or wooden spoon to stir as well.
Take it off the stove and let it come to room temperature, about 45 minutes. It may seem hard and crumbly, but don't worry! Once it is cool enough to handle in your hands, start to knead it like bread dough. It should form into a nice, smooth clay-like material after a minute or two. How awesome is that?!
Roll it out like cookie dough until about 1/4 inch thick. Now you can do with it what you will! We went out into the garden and collected some leaves and flowers and herbs to make impressions in the dough. It seemed to work best with evergreen type leaves and ones with thick veins. You could also make fun shapes with cookie cutters! When you're done making shapes, you can either let them air dry or bake them at 250 for about 2 hours or until hardened.
This craft is incredibly easy to throw together and is so fun! Tad loved being able to make patterns with the leaves and flowers we had collected, so excited to show me how different each one looked! This is a great way to get kids excited about learning the different patterns of plants. We may even paint them later! Enjoy.