Can you believe it is already middle of August? This summer flew by way too fast! Are you excited about fall approaching or are you like me and wish the summer never ended? 🙂
So here is a very simple and beautiful craft you can make with your children using a couple of very basic ingredients and any nature finds you have handy. I love making these medallions, which could be hung on a string individually in child’s room or hung on a piece of driftwood into a sort of mobile.
In fall you can make same versions with beautiful autumn leaves and comes winter they would make beautiful Christmas tree decorations.
Baking soda and corn starch playdough
This craft uses baking soda and cornstarch playdough. When I first heard of this recipe I had hard time believing it would work, but it turns out a rather full-proof recipe. However, I found it to be somewhat drying on my hands. So normally at our school for playdough we use this organic DIY playdough recipe. A major benefit of baking soda playdough though is that it dries into a beautiful bright white and very hard material. Once dry you can color it with watercolors or acrylic paints and apparently you can even sand it (according to this video).
Here is the video showing the recipe:
Once you have your playdough ready roll it out and make the shapes as you like (we love these wooden child-sized rolling pins). Use a back of a small paint brush to make a hole at the top for a string. Use pressed dried flowers or any other objects of choice to decorate. Here we used dried flowers and some coriander seeds we had handy. And in the past we also used small clippings of one of our spruces with some dried flower petals.
Go easy with glue
When using little evergreen branches we did not use any glue, we just lightly pressed them in and they stayed put. But the pressed flowers required glue (we used regular white glue). However after a day I noticed that some flowers reacted either with glue or with baking soda. See those bright green spots on some flowers? So in the future I will try to apply even smaller amounts of glue and try only apply it to stems and other thick parts to prevent this issues.
I am also planning to try using a DIY paper glue made of wheat flower and water and see whether or not it causes the same discoloration. I’ll post an update to this post about the results later on.
Be mindful when shopping for ingredients
At our forest school we always try to only use the recipes that produce minimum or no plastic trash along the way. So when it comes to purchasing baking soda — pick the one in the cardboard box rather than a plastic packet. And when it comes to corn starch check if your grocery store sells it in bulk section, and if not look for option with minimal plastic packaging.
Why does this matter?
I believe we all try to make the best decisions in life within the data we are aware of. A problem of plastic pollution plaguing our planet has a lot to do with the fact that most of us simply aren’t aware of the magnitude of devastation our every day plastic trash has on our planet. Most of us believe that as long as we recycle we aren’t contributing to plastic pollution of our oceans. But in fact recycling facilities around the world are so overloaded with plastic that majority of our plastics never get recycled and instead end up in the oceans turning our precious oceans into a plastic soup.