Idea For Play: Ultimate Play-Dough Challenge

Play-dough is one of my favorite kid activities.  It’s so versatile, all ages can play and it’s suuuper cheap.  My favorite combination. 🙂

The inspiration for today’s idea came when I had a house full of children.  They couldn’t seem to get into a rhythm of playing together, there was constant bickering and everyone ended up finding me in the kitchen with the phrase “We’re bored!”

(And then of course- can we watch a movie?)  Blah.  But I didn’t want to waste this precious friend time with the TV, so I pulled out the trusty play-dough and we created a new game: Ultimate Play-Dough Challenge!


Here’s how it works.

Each kids needs a chunk of play-dough (homemade is really the best, google a recipe. It’s super easy- and yes, the cream of tartar is critical. Don’t make it without it.  I’ve tried. Epic. Fail.)

I also threw out toothpicks, random mason jar lids, cookie cutters, a couple butter knives and a rolling pin.


Next, come up with some challenges.  I came up with the first one, but then my pre-teen daughter stepped in and created the rest of the challenges.  She did a great job and it helped her feel included in the “younger-kid” activity. 🙂

The first challenge was: see who can build the tallest tower using only play-dough and toothpicks. Here was the winner:


The had so much fun.  The next was: build a birthday cake.


Everyone enjoyed that one.  And then the challenges kept coming.  Here was a list of ours:

  • Tallest tower
  • Build a birthday cake
  • Make your hand
  • Longest snake
  • Sculpt a Disney character of your choice.
  • Make a silly face
  • Create a house for a mouseIMG_0238

To make it even more fun, I turned on a Disney Pandora station and let the music play in the background.  Every time a new song came on, they had to yell out which movie it was from.

So next time your kids are bored, pull out the play-dough, turn up the music and play: Ultimate Play-Dough Challenge!  It’s totally worth the mess.



Idea For Play: Outdoor Scooter City

Toward the end of winter, we get major spring fever.  The kids get restless.  I get grumpy.  The walls seem to close in on us a little bit more everyday.

So when the weather finally turns warm, I send the kids outside to play.  They get to run, jump and throw balls- everything I wouldn’t let them do inside. 🙂  So today’s inspiration came from our first week of outside Spring weather.  Oh that glorious warm weather!!!  It’s a mom’s best friend.


Today’s idea: Building A Scooter City.  The goal is just that: have your kids build a city for their scooters, using sidewalk chalk to “build” or draw the city.

All you’ll need is sidewalk chalk and scooters (or bikes, or rollerblades- whatever your kids have.)

You’ll also need a large concrete or asphalt pad.  We have a large basketball, concrete court in our backyard, which worked great. But you could also go to the school yard or a local park, since you’ll only be using chalk that’ll wash off.

To make this activity work (and last a few good hours), you’ll need to give the kids a few ideas and directions before sending them off to play.  Talk them through building a city.  Ask them what a city needs.  Ideas could include:

  • Streets
  • Houses
  • Stores
  • Parks
  • Library
  • School

If they seem to need a place to start, I had my kids do these steps:

  1. Draw their own house to park their scooters
  2. Pick a job they want to do and then draw it.  In our city, the kids built a bakery, a bank, an art studio and a vet clinic.


After this, they were off and running.  Help them get spaced out appropriately and remind them to build roads for the scooters to get to place to place.

We invited a group of neighborhood kids over to play and it made it much more fun.  The kids got really clever and used bark chips for money.  The “banker” kept the chips in her bank and then helped each kid budget for all the items they wanted to buy.


I made some applesauce cookies for a snack and the “bakery” sold them to each customer for 1 bark chip each.  It kept the kids busy for over two hours.  With me only refereeing a few disagreements.  And not only was it active for their growing bodies, it was good practice at communicating and working on a project together.


The rain has since washed off the city, but I will keep this idea tucked away for a slow, summer afternoon when we need some fresh ideas.

Hopefully this gives you a good, FREE afternoon of outside, unplugged play!