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Early Learning at Home: Kitchen Crafts

by Susan Franklin

Photo Purchased From
Photographer: Debi Bishop

The kitchen is a great place to learn through the sense of touch as well as participate in a myriad of other kitchen lessons. Here is a collection of craft recipes appropriate for pre-schoolers, most of which are non-toxic or edible, and some of which both taste and smell good. You can use these recipes to discover and learn about the senses while having fun. These should save you money and give you more ways to keep little ones busy having fun while learning in the kitchen with mom.


You will need:

  • 2/3 cup Margarine
  • 2/3 cup Light corn syrup
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 2 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 2 lb Powdered sugar
  • Food coloring (optional)

Combine the margarine, corn syrup, salt and vanilla extract. Add powdered sugar. Knead dough until it has the right consistency. Divide and add food coloring. This is a large batch suitable for a small group of preschoolers in a play group or party. Be sure to keep this refrigerated.


You will need:

  • 1 C. Peanut butter
  • 1 C. Powdered Milk
  • 1 C. Honey
  • 1 C. Oatmeal

Mix all ingredients together and punch, play squeeze, and mold it.


You will need:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup salt
  • cup water
  • 1 tsp. vinegar
  • food coloring
  • tsp. peppermint extract.

In a large bowl, cimbine the flour and salt. Slowly add the water and vinegar, stirring with a wooden spoon until a stiff mixture forms. Then knead the ball of dough on a smooth surface until it is pliable.

Divide the dough into separate pieces for each color you wish to make. Make a large indentation with your finger or the end of the wooden spoon in the center of each dough section. Drop in the food coloring and peppermint extract. Knead until color is mixed completely and the dough is smooth.


You will need:

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup dishwashing liquid
  • Vegetable cooking oil

Combine the water and dish soap. Then add a splash of vegetable oil to add firmness to the bubbles.


You will need:

  • 1/2 cup liquid starch
  • 1/2 cup soap powder
  • 5/8 cup water

Beat ingredients together until they resemble the consistency of whipped potatoes


You will need:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 4 cups cold water
  • food coloring or dry tempera paint

  1. Combine the flour and water and cook over low heat until thickened
  2. Remove from burner and cool
  3. Add a pinch of salt
  4. Add dry tempera or food coloring, if desired
  5. Store in covered jar in refrigerator


Here is a great recipe your children will love because they will enjoy licking their fingers while painting with it.


  • finger painting paper or freezer paper
  • corn syrup (thick)
  • food coloring

Put a large spoonful of corn syrup on the paper. Add a few drops of food coloring to the corn syrup and let them go.

Let the painting dry for a day or so. Then let them take markers and outline the painting or add details to their painting.


You will need:

  • 1 (1/4 3 ounce packet) of unflavored gelatin
  • 1 T cold water
  • 3 T boiling water
  • 1/2 tsp white peppermint extract
  • 2 drops boric acid solution

Sprinkle the gelatin into the cold water to soften. Pour into the boiling water, stirring until dissolved. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.

To use glue, brush thinly onto the back of a stamp or some paper and let dry. When applying to paper, just moisten it a bit. To keep, store in a small jar or bottle with a lid. Warm in a pan to turn into a liquid again.



  • 1 cup sifted flour
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 3 Tablespoons oil
  • 1 small package Kool-Aid (or other unsweeted mix)
  • 1 cup boiling water

Mix 1 cup sifted flour, 1/2 cup salt, 3 tablespoons oil and 1 small package of Kool-Aid or other unsweetened powdered drink. Add 1 cup boiling water. Stir the ingredients together. Knead mixture until it forms a soft dough.


You will need:

  • 2 lb pasta (wheels, elbows, ziti: any kind you can string)
  • 3 bottles Alcohol
  • Food Coloring

Pour the pasta into a bowl large enough to hold the pasta and the alcohol. Add the three bottles of alcohol. Make sure all noodles are covered and let stand as long as you wish. The longer the noodles are in the solution, the more brilliant the colors will be.

Place pasta on paper towels to dry Allow several hours. When the pasta is dry, you can use them to teach sorting and classifying by shape and color. Then string them to make necklaces, bracelets or garlands.


You will need:

  • 1/3 cup non-self-rising wheat flour
  • 2 T. sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp oil of cinnamon

Pour the flour and sugar in a small saucepan. Gradually add water, stirring vigorously to break up lumps. Cook over low heat until the mixture is clear, stirring constantly.

Remove from stove and add oil of cinnamon. Stir until well blended. Makes about 1 cup. Spread paste with a brush or tongue depressor. Soft, smooth, thick and white, Paper Paste has a good spreading consistency and is especially appropriate for use with small children or for any paste-up work.

This paste can be stored in a covered jar for several weeks without refrigeration.


You will need:

  • 10 ounces chocolate, almond bark or candy discs
  • 1/3 cup corn syrup

Slowly melt candy and stir until smooth. Add syrup and blend thoroughly. Pour onto waxed paper and spread with fingers until about 1/2 inch thick. Cover loosely with waxed paper and permit to stiffen for a few hours.

Try making letters, worms, small bowls, etc.

You can make flower petals by forming little balls, then flattening them and shaping them.


Copyright Susan Franklin. This article was originally published in her Early Learning at Home column and is reprinted here with her permission.

Susan Franklin is a full-time wife and mother of two children. Her first career was in teaching English, Speech and Drama. She now homeschools her four-year old and two-year old and enjoys researching methods and fresh ideas for homeschooling her children. Her hobbies include sewing, writing, cooking, gardening, and scrapbooking.

Growing Together Family Learning Newsletter, Vol. 1, No. 3, page 15

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