we most often attribute the experience of making art to the sense of sight, but many of the most absorbing and pleasurable projects for young children engage two or more senses. making cinnamon dough is one such activity – it has the potential to engage all five senses, if you allow your kiddo a little taste, that is. today N and i made cinnamon dough together. she had such fun helping me to mix it, knead it, and then play with it.
- 2 cups flour
- 1 cup salt
- 5 teaspoons cinnamon
- 3/4 – 1 cup warm water
- cookies sheets
- bread board
- plastic wrap
- mix flour, salt, and cinnamon in bowl
- make a well in the center and pour water in well
- mix with your hands until dough forms a ball (add water or flour as needed so that dough isn’t crumbly or sticky)
- knead on floured board until smooth and satiny (about 5 min)
- wrap in plastic and refrigerate 20 minutes before using
you can use this as you would any play dough, and store it in an airtight container for future use. this dough resembles sand a lot, so we found it fun to make impressions of shells, and N pretended her tiny toy figurines were playing on the beach for quite a while.
it is also fun to roll and cut this dough with cookie cutters. then bake it at 350 for one hour or until hard. you can sandpaper it, paint it, and varnish it when cool. these would make yummy smelling autumnal decorations, party favors, or holiday ornaments! (way to get a jump on that in the summer, eh?) here’s what we baked, soon to be painted for the season (way!) ahead.
i am a big fan of mary ann kohl‘s art books for kids. this idea came from her book, mudworks, but my inspiration for making it came from my amazing art therapist friend and colleague. she works with terminally ill children in their homes through the hospice of metro denver. she is so creative in how she comes up with projects for these children that indulge their senses. i knew i had to try this project with my daughter my friend described bringing this clay over to the home of her client, a sweet little boy, and how he lit up just kneading the dough, feeling it squish in his hands, and smelling it repeatedly. it is these sorts of sensory experiences – tactile and olfactory – that make the most vivid imprint on our memories.