If you're trying to homeschool little ones, you know how important it can be to keep them busy while the older ones go about their lessons. Here's an activity that will appeal to the crafty sorts and the "foodies" alike: play dough.

This isn't just any play-doh, though — it's edible play dough! Get ready to raid the pantry and start mixing up some dough. The whole family may want to get involved. And why not? This fun project touches on math, science, home economics and, of course, art. Have everyone wash up and get ready to mix up some edible art supplies.

Kool-Aid® Play Dough

Here's one for the color fans. Make this dough in all your favorite colors and flavors (interesting scents, too).

What you need:

  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 2 packages of Kool-Aid® (your flavor of choice)
  • 2 ½ cups flour
  • ½ cup salt

What to do:

Mix the dry ingredients first. Add the oil, then the water. Knead the mixture together. Store the dough in plastic bags in the fridge.

Oatmeal Play Dough

Did you stock up on oatmeal during the chilly winter months? Here's a way to move some of it out of the pantry. You can paint the creations you make from this dough once they have air-dried.

What you need:

  • 1 part water
  • 2 parts oatmeal
  • 1 part flour

What to do:

Mix the ingredients together and start sculpting. Since this recipe is based on proportions, you can make just a little or a whole bunch.

Chocolate Clay

This recipe for chocolate lovers is a great frugal, homemade gift for family and friends.

What you need:

  • 1/3 cup corn syrup
  • 10 ounces chocolate (you can also use candy discs or almond bark—pick your flavor)

What to do:

Slowly melt the candy and stir gently until smooth. Add the corn syrup and blend thoroughly. Pour the mixture onto waxed paper and spread it with a spatula until it's about ½ inch thick. Cover loosely with another sheet of waxed paper and allow it to stiffen; this should take a couple of hours. Have fun with this one—you can make flower petals, leaves, hearts, snowmen or any creation that comes to mind.

Peanut Butter & Graham Cracker Play Dough

Do you have peanut butter lovers in your household? If you do, they'll enjoy this recipe. This is an excellent recipe if you have the time to really revel in textures and sensations. Since it contains a peanut product, please skip this one if you have allergies in the family.

What you need:

  • Creamy peanut butter
  • Marshmallow crème
  • Graham crackers

What to do:

Prepare equal amounts of each ingredient. Start with the graham crackers and let the kids crumble them up in a bowl or on a plate. Mash 'em, crush 'em, keep some bigger pieces or totally pulverize them. [ed.: already used "crush"]It's up to you! When you're done turning the crackers into crumbs, set them aside.

Next, it's time for the peanut butter. Taste it, feel the texture and enjoy it for a bit—then sample the marshmallow crème. Once the fascination with each item has been enjoyed, mix the two together. The texture will change when these ingredients combine, so this can get interesting!

Cover your work space with waxed paper and make shapes with the peanut butter and marshmallow mixture. Then roll your creations in the graham cracker crumbs. Use bigger chunks for decorating works of art or making fun creatures. Now comes the tasty part: Devour them!

Have some of the dough left over? Be sure to store it in an airtight container so it won't go bad.

Whether you want an activity for the whole family or just something for your younger ones to play with while others are occupied, one of these recipes should be the perfect fit.

Melonie Kennedy is a military wife and a mother of two whose work has appeared in multiple magazines, books, e-books and blogs. Contact her at ravenwrites74@yahoo.com.

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