Mini Monets and Mommies: Brain Dough: Halloween Play Clay

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Brain Dough: Halloween Play Clay

A few months ago I posted a DIY scented play dough activity. I love art. I love making art, sharing it, helping kiddos to create. That said, it doesn’t always go right for me. The first try for this activity was honestly so gross that it made me shudder. But, my son didn’t think so. He’s not the crafty type of kid. He’s rather do just about anything than sit and draw. When I pulled out my precious homemade play dough, he immediately volunteered to try it out. What? Who is this kid? What’s different about this art activity than any other one? The answer (in his words): “Mom, you made BRAIN DOUGH!”

Play Dough
What a perfect Halloween activity. While ooey, gooey brain dough is kind of creepy 11 months out of the year, during October it’s festive, fall fun.

Here are the original directions for putting it all together:

Mixing up a batch of homemade play dough is hardly reinventing the wheel. At the beginning of my first experience working in early childhood education (as a teacher’s assistant in a preschool) the lead teacher tasked me to make play clay for out 3- and 4-year-olds. She sent me off to the school’s kitchen with a recipe that looked something like this:


1.      Boil 1 ½ cups of water.


2.      Mix in 2 cups of flour.


3.      Add 2 tsp. of cream of tartar.


4.      Add 2 tbsp. vegetable oil.


5.      Add ½ a cup of salt.


This recipe (or any of its slight variations) is fairly standard. Basically, I’m saying – it’s not new news. Even though I thought the lead teacher must be a creative genius to have come up with such as rocking recipe, I quickly realized that almost every preschool teacher knows this one. Even though you’ll find more play dough recipes online than stars in the sky (really, there are pages and pages and pages of them), I still wanted to explore some fun things to do with this soft clay-like compound.

Halloween crafts

Obviously the first thing to do is make the dough. You can follow this recipe or any other one (some of them have variations of ingredients or don’t involve cooking). If you’re looking to try something new, I highly recommend having your child help you to experiment. The only exception to this is with hot water. Never let your child near the hot stove and never give your child play dough with hot or boiling water to stir, mix or otherwise play with. Let your little one help by adding new cold (or room temperature) ingredients. I let my son pour different amounts of vegetable oil. He’s 12 and thought it would be hilarious to pour half a bottle of oil into the mix. Needless to say – it didn’t work. He certainly enjoyed it though.

Now it’s time to make it brainy:

Holiday Crafts
Grab a couple of raspberries (by now they aren’t in season, so you can thaw out some frozen ones). Mash them into the dough. It’s totally sensory and will turn the mixture into a brain-like pink. The little lumps from the berries also give the dough that special “Ewwwwwww!!!!!!!” factor. On the plus side (for you), it will now smell super sweet.

Kids art

Your child can now monster mash, mush and mix the play dough. Squeeze it, let it drip like slime or use it to fill the top of a crafty Halloween skull project!

Are you looking for more fun fall crafts? Follow my Pinterest board for ideas!

Follow Mini Monets and Mommies's board Fall Activities for Kids on Pinterest.

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