"Free choice is one of the highest of all the mental processes." Maria Montessori
This is always a winner when the girls have a play date. The important part is to let them take the lead, although some gentle direction is needed when it comes to following the steps in order and they need to clearly understand that handling the hot water and the mixture immediately afterwards is a 'grown-up job'.
That said, with this dough, the children picked the colours, the scent (having sniffed all of them at least two or three times and deciding to 'vote' on their favourites), they measured, mixed and kneaded; they even picked out the loose parts and cutters. I always ask them to choose a selection, rather than giving them the whole box as this way they are making decisions about what to play with and how to play and aren't overwhelmed with an enormous amount of equipment.
Play is so engaging when it is child-led, when they are making their own choices and learning from them.
This is my favourite, super-easy recipe :
2 cups flour 1/2 cup salt 2 tbsp veg oil 2 tbsp cream of tartar 1.5 cups of boiling water Chosen colour & scent A few drops of glycerine
1. Mix all of your dry ingredients together
2. Mix all of your wet ingredients together
4. When it starts to come together (but is still a bit sticky) and has cooled, knead it for a couple of minutes until it becomes smooth and stretchy! (Sometimes you may need to add a teeny bit of extra flour)