Nowadays we're all encouraged to Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. And so we should! There are thousands of items and materials that can be used to create something new and exciting. Think about it over your next cup of coffee. And when you're done, take the grounds and create this fun, non-toxic play dough for kids.
Coffee Ground Dough
1 cup used coffee grounds
1/2 cup cold water
1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
In a large bowl, mix together coffee grounds, flour, and salt. Add flour. Knead dough until it comes together to form a ball. If the dough is particularly sticky, sprinkle with a little extra flour. Once the dough has formed, kids can go ahead and unleash their creativity. Because of the coffee grounds, the dough is quite grainy, which feels much different than typical play dough. This dough will dry and harden within a day or two. Display your creation, or paint a design to show off your talent
Gather a variety of natural items (leaves, sticks, pinecones, etc) from the backyard or local
park. Using a rolling pin and other kitchen utensils, flatten dough into a round disk shape. Lightly press your items into the dough, leaving a distinct imprint of the item on the surface of the dough. Let dry.
Digging for Dinosaurs
This would be a great activity for a children's birthday party, but requires some preparation in advance. Purchase some small, plastic dinosaurs (or other creatures) from your local dollar store. Make dough as per recipe above. Depending on the size of the dinosaurs, gather enough dough to completely cover the dinosaur so it looks like a small egg. Let dry for at least 24 hours until dough is solid. Give each child an egg, as well as some small, blunt, plastic objects (plastic knives or play dough tools) to dig through the shell to discover the surprise inside. They'll feel like grown up archeologists.
Once kids have had a chance to mould and manipulate the dough, have them press it into a small paper plate. Gently help them to press their hand into the dough, leaving behind a perfect imprint of their tiny hands. Using a tooth pick, inscribe the print with the date and your child's name. This might be a fun activity to do each year, to see how fast their hands grow. At some point, you may need to use a larger paper plate.
**Note** Many coffee shops will happily give you their old coffee grounds free of charge. Don't be afraid to ask your local barista. Some of the larger chains actually package them for you to take home.