Christmas Tree Play Dough Kit

Okay, so I admit it – we’re a bit play dough kit obsessed over here.  We can’t help it.  Play dough is something that we play with on a daily basis and having pre-made kits filled with dough and interesting loose parts makes it really easy to delve into the fun – everything that’s needed is right there in a container waiting to be taken out!  It also means that Grae can easily help herself to a kit and have a fun activity pre-prepared for independent play times, which I love.

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While we recently put together a rainbow play dough kit and a Frozen-themed play dough kit, our latest creation is this christmas tree play dough kit that allows Miss G to decorate and redecorate gorgeous tree after gorgeous tree.  We actually came up with the idea last winter while playing with our button ornament Christmas tree fine motor activity, but it didn’t get turned into a proper kit until just recently and I’m in love.

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Here’s what it looks like…  First off, we started with a GLIS box from Ikea (Canada | US | Kuwait) and added two batches of green play dough – the lighter one scented with just a few drops of tea tree essential oil, and the darker one scented with just a few drops of  black spruce essential oil, which gives off a very Christmassy smell the moment the container is opened.

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To make the play dough, we made 2 half batches of our favourite no-cook play dough {but skipped the Kool-Aid and used liquid food colouring}, then added the essential oil to each.  You could of course make one full batch of the dough and then work the colours and essential oils in afterwards, but I just find it easier to do it the other way.

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Next, we added a styrofoam cone we already had on hand, though if I had the choice, it would be a wooden cone from one of those geometric solids kits, or something else not styrofoam.  For decorations we added beaded garland in silver, gold, and red, some tear-shaped gems {this value pack would be amazing}, some star-shaped gems, and a handful of small jingle bells.  We also included two larger star-shaped gems that we’d previously glued together to act as our tree topper.  Our selection is limited here in Kuwait, but if you’re somewhere with a good dollar store, you’ll most likely be able to find the sweetest miniature ornaments to include, as well as those teeny tiny metallic present decorations to serve as gifts under the tree.

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Once your kit is assembled,  it’s time to play of course!

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After covering the tree form with play dough, Miss G wrapped it with the beaded garland…

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Added our star to the top…

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And then began decorating it with gems.

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So pretty, right?

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The lovely part is that the beads, gems, and bells can be removed from the dough just as easily as they can be pushed in, and the dough comes off of the styrofoam cone in one clean swoop, which means endless play {YAY!}

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I’m pretty sure that this little kit has been pulled out and played with at least once every day since we put it together, and as long as we continue to make sure that it’s closed properly after each play session, it’s sure to last until well passed Christmas.  (Despite the fact that the GLIS kits aren’t fully air-tight, we don’t find the need to put our dough in a zip-close bag first only because a) it’s played with SO often and b) because we always have at least 3 or 4 kits stacked on top of each other and that helps keep the air out.  Otherwise I’d usually recommend a plastic bag though.)

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Also, while it’s a ton of fun, all of that putting on and taking off is really great fine motor practice, and when clean-up time rolls around, sorting skills come into play too.

While we were at it, we put together a mini-version for Grae to give to her friends just before the holidays {very similar to last year’s ‘build a snowman’ kits}, but of course she had to create her own and test is out immediately.

It’s all of the same things,  just in a smaller 2-section divided container with a styrofoam tree that’s been cut down to size.

Cutest mini tree, isn’t it?  Because our big gems are SO big, we swapped them out for smaller, shimmery buttons for this version and I think they’re perfect.
In the end, we decided to go with the prettiest metallic pony beads for our friends’ kits…  We’ll bring these to our annual Christmas get together and Miss G will be beyond thrilled to hand them out.

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