{charmed earth}

The Lifestyle blog of Katie Storms.: something simple, something sweet, something styled.

04 January 2010

Something Reduced

Something Reduced.

I still haven't told my husband about the project. I told my friend David, but he swears he won't tell. So unless someone stumbles across this Charmed-Earth by accident, my secret's safe.

Today's Temptation: Play-Doh.

Every semester I start back at school with a new group of Creative Writing students. And every year I start the first day with Play-Doh. We get creative. We sculpt it, smash it, showcase it, and then the bell rings. And globs of Play-Doh weigh down the trash can. And those nostalgic canisters that remind us of our childhood: trash. Sure, I try to rescue it from the depths of the garbage. And I stash some of it on my shelves for the next semester. But you and I both know I can't use 6-month-old Play-Doh when I'm trying to impress a batch of second semester seniors, eighth hour.

Dilemma: Though some small children may sneak a bite, Play-Doh is not edible. And those canisters don't look biodegradable. And unless I already owned them, I can't reuse them.

Solutions: a.) I could buy it as usual and change the rules so that classroom purchases don't count. b.) I could skip the whole Play-Doh activity and have them write. c.) Oh, yeah. I could make Play-Doh.

It's only Day 2. I chose Option C. You can find countless how-to videos on youtube, and you can find countless recipes online. And since I had cornstarch, baking soda, oil, water, and food coloring at home, I figured I'd give it a go. I did need to get more baking soda at the store, since each batch requires a whole box. But baking soda is technically edible, and I know it's biodegradable. And it's only 87-cents a box. That's a lot cheaper than the Play-Doh I find at Target. And it turned out to be super easy. The warm dough was a wonderful touch, too.

Here's the youtube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zsV3L6MOCc4.

It's the best one I found. I like that she suggests using a tablespoon of food coloring. I found some gel food color in hot pink, neon green, and orange. It looks better than the real deal. I might be a bit crumbly in class, but I don't think I mind. Today I reduced my spending. I usually spend $10-$15 on Play-Doh; today, I spent about $5. And I know that I usually trash the 24 canisters (I'm embarrassed to admit that I've trashed at least 96 in the past two years. That's 96 full size canisters). And I promise I won't throw this stuff in the trash either. I think I'll have the kids give it back. And I'll see if the 4-year-old twins next door can find a use for it.


  1. I love this activity! I always keep the play-doh from semester to semester...and the students sometimes complain about the mixed-up colors and crumbly bits. :)

  2. The Play-Doh was huge hit. I decided against giving it to the twins...I thought about all those germs. So I decided to just dry it out. If it's not dry when I get home, I think I am going to scuplt something and let it decorate my garden in the spring...

  3. Do you compost? (We do!) I bet you could just compost the leftovers, since it looks like it's just made from food-type ingredients.