Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Aromatherapy Play Dough

We're still fighting illness around here. Turbokid was coughing all night, so I decided to make him some peppermint-scented play dough to help relieve the congestion. Since this made a huge batch, I split it to make nine different colors and scents. When Turbokid squeezes or kneads the dough, the scent is released.

Salt doughs and play doughs are the only thing I use bleached flour and cheap iodized salt for. The color of the dough isn't as light if I used unbleached and whole wheat is too coarse. This is a cooked dough, which has a smoother texture than no-cook doughs. Making this play dough will give you a bit of an arm workout between the stirring and kneading.

I only have five essential oils in my cabinet so far(lavender, lemon eucalyptus, chamomile, orange, and peppermint), so I experimented with coconut and vanilla extracts. The scent is more subtle with the extracts and you have to be careful not to use too much or the dough becomes sticky. You only need 2-3 drops of most essential oils to scent a ball of dough the size of a preschooler's fist.

Red - tension blend (lavender-chamomile-peppermint), natural white - vanilla extract, blue - peppermint, light purple - lavender-chamomile, orange - orange, green - lemon eucalyptus, brown - coconut extract, dark purple - lavender, yellow - chamomile
Aromatherapy Play Dough

2 cups bleached all-purpose flour
1 cup salt
1 Tbsp cream of tartar
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 cups warm water
food colorings
essential oils or extracts

Stir together flour, salt, and cream of tartar in a medium saucepan. add oil and water and mix well with a hand mixer, making sure there are no lumps.

Heat mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly. Cook until the dough forms a big ball and is no longer sticky. Remove from heat and allow the dough to cool until it is cool enough to handle.

Divide dough into desired number of colors. Knead sections and roll into balls. Make a depression in the center of a dough ball and drip in food colorings and essential oils. You only need a 2-3 drops of each to start with and you can easily add more to get your desired color and level of scent. Kneed the dough ball until the colors are well incorporated. Repeat with other dough balls, scents, and colors.

Store in an air-tight container between uses.

You can use any skin-safe essential oils you like. Peppermint is good for congestion, lavender and chamomile are good for stress, and citrus is energizing.

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