‘Tis the season to mix up the salt dough! This week we’re making scented salt dough for your Christmas tree. And because we’re outdoorsy folk, we’ve added our own natural twist to the decoration.
Your Little Explorers can make fabulous decorations for your own tree with this easy material, and with a little love and attention they can be brought out year after year. They also make lovely gifts for friends or teachers.
It’s likely that you will have everything you need for this activity in your cupboard already. Improvise with the spices if you don’t have them all – as long as it smells Christmassy!
You will need:
- 125g plain flour
- 275g salt
- 6 teaspoons of festive spices (we used a mixture of ground cloves, an allspice mix and grated some cloves for good measure)
- 1 cup of water
- Cookie cutters
It’s very simple. Mix all the dry ingredients with half the cup of water to start with, then gradually add enough of the rest of the water until you have a firm but pliable ball of dough. You’ll have to get your hands right in there and get kneading – your Little Explorers might find this relaxing after a busy day at preschool.
Roll out the dough to about half a centimetre thick. Then press your pine cones and needles into the surface to make a pattern. Cut out your shapes with your cookie cutters and use a chopstick to push a hole into the shape. This is for the ribbon. Your Little Explorers might be tempted to taste this delicious smelling dough – which does look exactly like cookie dough after all! But the huge quantities of salt will soon put them off.
Bake them on a tray lined with greaseproof paper at 75 degrees for an hour, then turn them over and bake for a further hour. Your home will smell a bit odd while they are cooking, but very festive once they are dried!
When cooled, your Little Explorers can paint the decorations with poster paints and glitter glue for extra bling factor. They can thread ribbon through the holes to tie the trees into a garland. This is great for hand-eye coordination! Your house will smell amazing, and your tree will look wonderfully home-made too!
Expert Explorers: Do you know why we decorate our homes with fir trees at Christmas? There are so many legends and theories around this time of year. It seems that about 1,000 years ago, people would hang trees upside down in their houses on hooks or chains! If you couldn’t afford a tree, you would make a pyramid of wood and decorate it with apples, candles and paper. Sounds a bit dangerous to us!