In response to requests from Australian followers, today Carrie of A Little Learning for Two is sharing her recipe for silly putty using Australian sourced ingredients but even those NOT in Australia should read on as Carrie is also sharing 10 fabulous playful learning ideas for using silly putty with kids!
Since the start of our journey into understanding Autism we have found quite a few effective therapies and techniques that our girls enjoy. Top of the list has always been occupational therapy which has really helped not only with their fine and gross motor development but also emotional regulation, strength building and spatial awareness. One of the great things we have found is that most of our OT activities can be tweaked to suit both of our girls, even though their individual needs are quite different. One such activity is the use of therapy putty or silly putty (slime). As well as using therapy grade putty we also make our own homemade version of silly putty which the girls enjoy working with.
Homemade Silly Putty Recipe
You will need:
- 1/4 cup white school glue (we found Elmer’s brand white glue at Woolworths)
- 45 mls of water (I use a medicine dropper to measure out the water for this)
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 tsp borax (found in the laundry aisle) *see notes below
- Two plastic cups
- Glass mixing bowl
- Two stirrers or spoons
- Liquid food colouring
We make small batches but you can easily increase the quantities provided to make larger amounts.
In one cup combine the glue and 45ml of water. Stir well until mixed together. You can add food colouring at this stage if you would like coloured putty.
In the second cup add the 1/4 cup of water and the borax. Stir until borax has dissolved.
In the glass bowl I first pour in the glue and water mixture and then slowly add in the borax solution while stirring. The two will react and form a putty little substance. You can use your hands to mould the putty and complete the mixing process.
Your slime putty is ready to play with!
A Note about Borax:
- This recipe contains borax. Borax is often used in laundry, dishwashing and cleaning products. It is a naturally occurring mineral but it is also a possible skin irritant for some children and it is NOT safe for consumption. If concerned, I would recommend you use the silly putty while wearing gloves or inside a ziplock bag. It is NOT recommended for children who still mouth toys and non-food substances.
Silly Putty Activity Ideas
But how do you play with silly putty in a bag? We use ‘in the bag’ activities often as it provides all of the benefits of sensory play and strength/fine motor skill building whilst also being portable and mess free (important when you are doing therapy and play out and about!) Plus it’s perfect for using putty with children who do not enjoy the feeling of the squishy texture on their skin. Here are 10 activity suggestions for play;
1. Use a permanent marker to draw a large shape on one side of the bag, then flip it over and let your child manipulate the slime inside the bag to fill the outline and create the shape.
2. Hide mini objects or foam letters inside the slime and create matching cards to go with them (I usually just draw pictures on squares of paper). Turn the picture cards over face down and then flip them one by one, your child needs to find the same object or letter inside the slime. Sometimes we use a timer and if it hasn’t been found in time the card gets turned back over.
3. Fill a bag with slime and pour glitter or sequins on top before sealing. Let your child work the glitter through the slime by pressing on the bag.
4. Put two different colours of slime inside the bag (like blue and yellow) and let your child combine the colours together to create a new colour.
5. Use cotton buds to ‘write’ in the slime through the bag.
6. Put a single large sequin inside the bag and draw a circle in the centre of the outside of the bag. Your child need to move the sequin around until it is inside the circle.
7. Use a marker to draw a maze on the side of the bag and put a bead or sequin inside the slime. Your child can use their fingers to push the bead/sequin through the maze to the end.
8. Put two googly eyes, a bead and a moon shaped sequin (or alternatively cut the shapes for a face out of foam sheets) and draw a face shape on the side of the bag with a marker. Children can manipulate the parts inside the bag to create a complete face with eyes, a nose and a mouth.
9. Put a length of wool or string inside the slime and use a cotton swab to move it around and create letters or numbers. Use a template underneath the bag as a guide if needed.
10. Place a picture or sight word underneath the ziplock bag of slime and set a timer, children have to move the slime and figure out what the word or picture is before the time is up.
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