Add a little (calorie-free!) cheer this Valentine’s Day with this super-easy chocolate play dough recipe. This sensory dough is delicious to play with and you can add a little role-playing fun into the mix.
Valentine’s Day is a bit of a non-event for the grown-ups at our place. I like to think that the husbie and I are loved-up enough, without having a threesome with Hallmark. That said, I really do enjoy making the day a bit fun and special for my three kids. I like making any day I possibly can a bit fun and special. Why not?
So, each year I pop a little surprise message into their lunch box (click here for some cute Valentine’s Day printables that are nice for kids), along with a special lunch box treat. Some nice ideas for the lunch box are:
In the afternoon it might be fun to make a batch of this delicious chocolate play dough. The recipe is super easy and I’ve added extra salt to keep the temptation to eat the dough at bay. It really does smell yummy, making it a gorgeous sensory play experience.
The kids will love making little ‘cupcakes’ and decorating them with bead ‘sprinkles’. You can add some candles for a pretend birthday party. My girls enjoy swirling the dough into chocolates and I covered a chocolate box with gift wrap to make them a sweet little box to keep their chocolates in.
The whole house is going to smell very, very tempting, so make sure there is no real chocolate in the house when you make a batch of this dough. Or … not. After all, someone’s going to have to eat the real chocolates to make way for the pretend ones, right?
You will need
- 2 cups plain flour
- 1 1/2 cups of salt
- 3/4 cup of cocoa powder
- 2 tbsp cream of tartar
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 cups of boiling water
You can also add a few drops of glycerin if you have some handy. It makes the dough extra shiny and stretchy
What you do
Put all the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix well (the kids will love doing this bit, but a parent will need to do the rest).
Add the vegetable oil and then pour in the boiling water, mixing everything together with a wooden spoon until well combined.
Leave it to cool for a few minutes and once you are able to safely handle the warm dough, knead it well on a clean, dry surface. It will take a few minutes to really come together into a smooth and stretchy ball with all traces of stickiness gone. If after a few minutes you are still getting residue on your fingers as you knead, you may need to add a little more flour to the dough. If the dough is crumbly, add a little more boiling water, bit by bit until the dough comes together.
Bring out the play dough cutters, rollers and squishers! You can also use biscuit cutters from the kitchen to cut the dough into chocolate shapes. Talk about the different shapes with younger children and introduce them to the concept of 2D shapes and 3D shapes. You can roll a sphere to make a circle shaped chocolate or cut a cube to make a square-shaped chocolate, etc.
Add some patty cases, candles and beads for sprinkles and your child will enjoy staging a birthday party for their favourite teddy bear. They can ‘mix’ the chocolate play dough, add it to the patty cases, ‘bake’ it in the oven and then take it out and add their decorations. They can also have a go at baking some brownies, a big chocolate cake or some melt-in-your-mouth fudge.
The kids will also love writing messages in their chocolate play dough. I love chocolate is a favourite one for the kids, but I love my mum is easily my favourite. Using letter stamps is a good way to introduce younger kids to letters, sounds and words. My older children enjoy forming letters out of the play dough itself. Happy Valentine’s Day … or just happy families. It’s up to you.