Bright Beginnings Preschool

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Recipes For Lots Of Sensory Fun

Gak, Silly Putty, Etc.


Solution A - 1 1/2 C warm water; 2 C Elmers glue; food coloring.

Solution B - 4 T Borax; 1 1/2 C warm water

Mix solution A in one bowl, mix solution B in another bowl.  Disolve both well.  Then just pour solution A into solution B, DO NOT IX OR STIR!  Just lift out the Gak.  Use glass bowl so children can see the Gak form in the bowl.  It just becomes a big "cloud" of rubbery stuff.  Store in baggies.  If you half the recipe, you only need to half the solution A and it will work the same.

Silly Putty Recipe

1/2 cup liquid starch; 1/2 cup Elmers glue. 

Mix starch and glue together until it feels like silly putty.  Store in airtight container in the fridge.

Glue Goo

Stir together: 2 C white glue; 1 3/4 C water. 

Separately, dissolve: 1 tsp Borax in 1/2 cup warm water.  Add to the glue mixture.  Repeat twice.  In order to get the mixture smooth, you will have to mix these three separately at the same time.

Goop and Slime Recipes


Cornstarch; water; food coloring

Put some cornstarch into a bowl.  Add just enough water to make it pasty.  Add food coloring.  This makes a messy slime, that can go from liquid to solid...just play with it for a while! 


Fun because it seems both wet and dry at the same time!

1 box (16 oz.) cornstarch; 1 C water; food coloring (optional)

Add water to the cornstarch in small additions, and mix the ingredients by hands.  Add a few drops of food coloring into the mixture, if desired.   Cookie trays or broiler pans that have ridged edges are a great play surface for goop and clays.


For a "silly putty" type substance mix equal parts of Elmer's glue with liquid laundry starch... For a slimier substance mix cornstartch with is slimy...and can add food coloring to it to make it even more disgusting.

Bubble Recipes

Dish Soap Bubble Solution

1 tsp Glycerin; 1 T dish soap; 1 qt. water

Mix all together.

Best Bubble Solution

1 C water; 2 T Light Karo syrup OR 2 T glycerin; 4 T dishwashing liquid.  Mix together and have fun!

Finger Paint Recipes

Finger Paint Recipe #1

1/2 cup cornstarch; 2 cups boiling water; 1 cup cold water; 1 package unflavored gelatin; food coloring or poster paint.

In saucepan, mix cornstarch with 3/4 cup cold water to a smooth paste.  Soak gelatin in 1/4 cup cold water.  Set aside. Pour boiling water slowly over cornstarch mixture, stirring.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture boils and clears.  Remove.  Stir in gelatin.  Cool and divide into separate screw top jars.  Add color.  Refrigerate to store.  Paint is transparent, strong and durable with high gloss finish.  May be used on dry or wet paper.

Finger Paint Recipe #2

1/2 cup cornstarch; 2 cups cold water; food coloring.

Mix ingredients in saucepan.  Boil until mixture thickens. Cool, pour into containers. You can double this recipe, omit the food coloring, and pour into several jars, then add the food coloring.

Jello Finger Paint

Jello; enough boling water to make it a goo consistency for finger paint.

Use normal finger-painting material or glossy paper.  Children will love the smell and the feel of it.

Kool-Aid Finger Paint

2 C flour; 2 packs unsweetend Kool-aid; 1/2 C salt; 3 C boiling water; 3 T oil.

Mix wet into dry.  Children will love the color change.  Finger paint anyway.

Face Paint Recipe

Corn starch, water, cold cream, food coloring, muffin tin

In each cup of the muffin tin, mix 1 tsp corn starch, 1/2 tsp water, 1/2 tsp. cold cream and a couple of drops of food coloring - a different color for each cup.  Stir. 


Regular Watercolors

4 tablespoons baking soda; 2 tablespoons white vinegar; 1/2 tsp glycerine  (available in local pharmacy); 2 tablespoons cornstarch.  Red, blue, yellow food coloring.  Mix vinegar and baking soda in a small bowl.  Add the glycerin and cornstarch and stir thoroughly.  Now experiment with color. Mix each color thoroughly and leave(preferably) over night.  Styrofoam egg cartons make great paint holders. 

Scratch and Sniff Watercolor Paint

Buy different flavors of unsweetened Kool-Aid or any brand unsweetened powdered drink mix.  Get an ice cube tray.  Add one tablespoon of water and one tablespoon of Kool-Aid in one section of the ice cube tray and mix with a toothpick.  You can make more or less if you like by using equal parts of water and Kool-Aid.  Make more colors and scents of paint in the other ice cube sections using other flavors of Kool-Aid. Have children paint their watercolor creations using the new scratch and sniff Kool-Aid watercolor paints.  Let the paintings dry overnight.  Scratch and sniff the dry paintings!  Can you guess what each smell is?

Clay Recipes 

Cornstarch Clay

1 cup cornstarch; 2 cups salt; 1 1/2 cups cold water

PUt salt and 2/3 cup water in pan and bring to a boil. Mix cornstarch with 2/3 cup water and mix well.  Blend 2 mixtures together and knead into clay.  Makes about 3 cups.  This clay can be air dried and then painted.  Store unused clay in airtight container in the fridge.

Chocolate Clay

10oz. dark, milk or white chocolate confectionaery coating (1-3/4 cups semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips may be substituted), chopped and melted 1/3 cup light corn syrup.

Combine chocolate and corn syrup until just blended.  Spread onto a sheet of waxed paper to 3/8-inch thickness (about an 8-inich square).  Let stand, uncovered, at room temperature for about 2-3 hours or until dry to the touch.  Wrap tightly with plastic wrap; let stand overnight.  Use immediately or store up to 2 weeks.  Yield: 1-1/4 cups.  Lots of fun.  Can roll into long strings and make baskets.

Clean Mud

2 rolls toliet tissue, torn into pieces; 1 1/2 bars Ivory soap, shaved, 2 qt. warm water.  Combine all ingredients in a big plastic dishpan or large bucket.  Knead by hand until soft and gooey, adding more water as necessary.

Dryer Lint Clay

2 C dryer lint (firmly packed); 1/3 C warm water; 6 T white glue; 1 T clear dishwashing liquid.

Tear the lint up into little bits.  Mix everything in a bowl and knead until workable.  Make things. Let them dry for several days.

Kool-Aid Clay

3/4 C salt; 2 C boiling water; 1 or 2 pkgs. Kool-Aid; 3 T oil; 4 C flour

Mix first 4 ingredients.  Add flour.  If dough is too sticky, add more flour.  Knead the dough a few times. Store in plastic bags or containers while it is not being used.  Refrigerate for a different texture.

No Bake Clay

1 C salt; 1 C flour; food coloring, optional; 1/2 C water

Stir salt and flour together in a medium bowl.  Add food coloring to water to achieve desired color.  Pour water into salt and flour mixture and knead until mixture is doughy, adding more flour or water as necessary.  Store in airtight container.  Objects made with this clay will air dry in about 48 hours.   Hint:  As a variation, omit food coloring and let children paint their dried creations with tempera paint.

Sawdust Clay

To mix the clay, use a large bowl or bucket.  Mix 2/3 parts of sawdust (any kind but redwood) and 1/3 part of flour together.  Pour water in slowly and mix until it reaches a stiff but "squishy" consistency. Add more flour if too crumbly. The clay needs some kneading before the gluten in the flour becomes elastic, holding the sawdust together.  Work it in your hands or on a table top covered with newspapers.  Sawdust clay can be rolled flat and cut into shapes with cookie cutters.  This clay air-fires very hard. Place directly in sun if possible.  Use tempera or acrylic paints to decorate the finished objects.

Dough of all kinds

Cooked play dough - I use this the most but change color and scent

4 cups flour; 2 cups salt; 4 tablespoons cream of tartar; 4 cups water; 2 T oil.  In a large pot add flour, salt and cream of tartar and mix together good before adding water.  Add oil.   Add 2 cups cold water, then add your food coloring and cooking scents like lemon if making yellow dough, peppermint if making green dough, all optional in to the other 2 cups of water.  Pour into dry mixture in pot and stir.  Then put pot on low heat on stove and continue to stir until very very thick scraping the bottom and sides of pot continually.   Once very thick, pour on a counter top and knead for sometime until no longer sticky.   Smells great and the children will love it.  You no longer have to worry about this dough staining your carpet like the store bought.  Vacums up easily. 

Rubbery Playdough

1 and 1/2 cups water; 1 cup of cornstarch; 2 cups of baking soda.  Mix all ingredients together and boil over medium heat.  Once doughy, remove from heat. 

Oatmeal Playdough

1 cup flour; any color of food coloring; 1 cup of water; 2 cups of oats.  Stir together the dry ingredients and mix food coloring and water gradually.

No Cook Playdough

1 cup of flour; 1 cup of boiling water; 2 tablespooons cream of tartar; 1/2 cup of salt; 1 tablespoon of oil.  Mix all the ingredients together.  Be careful as it can be quite hot.

Kool-Aid Playdough

1 cup water; 3 tsp of cream of tartar; 1 cup of flour; 1 package of Kool-Aid (any flavor of unsweetened); 1 tablespoon of cooking oil; 1/2 cup of salt.  Mix dry ingredients in a large/medium pan.  Add water and oil.  Stir over medium heat until it looks like dough.  Whatever the color of Kool-Aid used should be the end result.  Takes about 8 minutes. 

Chocolate Playdough

Quick and easy.  Takes less than 20 minutes to make a half pound ball.  It smells good but don't eat it!

Gather together 1 1/4 cup flour, 1/2 cup coco powder, 1/2 cup salt, 1/2 T cream of tartar, 1 1/2 T cooking oil, 1 cup boiling water, large pot, wooden spoon, mixing bowl.

Edible Sculpting Dough

Mix 1 pkg dry yeast and 1 1/2 cups warm water in bowl.  Add 1 egg, 1/4 cup raw honey, 1/4 cup shortening and 1tsp salt.  Slowly add 5 cups flour until ball of dough forms.  Add a little more flour if dough is sticky.  Knead dough by hand on a floured board.  Begin sculpting making only flat figures since dough will dry.  Cover sculptures with towel and place in a warm place for 1/2 hour to rise.  For puffy sculptures let rise longer.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until brown.  Eat sculptures.

Sidewalk chalk

Find a mold for your chalk (small paper cup or candy molds will work).  Mix together 1 cup plaster of Paris with 3/4 cup of water.  Add color to your mixture using powdered tempera paint.  Blend well and let stand for a few minutes. Pour your mixture into the molds you choose.  Set aside and let dry completely.  Once dry you can remove your chalk from the mold.  Set it aside to dry for approximately 24 hours more.  Tips:  Powdered tempera paint is available at large craft stores.  Experiement with making swirled colors by adding the paint and stirring very little.  Drying time can take from several hours to a few days depending on the size of the mold you choose.

Tye-dye made with sharpies

Gather up two sharpies in cool colors, a lot of rubber bands, a couple of tennis balls or a few ping-pong balls, a spray bottle set on fine mist with alchohol, and something to tie-die like a bandana or a T-shirt.  It takes about 15 minutes to make, and another 15 minutes or so to dry.

Egg Paint

With adult help crack 4 eggs and separate egg yolks.  Place one egg yolk into each bowl (4 bowls).  Add a few drops of food coloring to each yolk and mix.  Mix red, blue and yellow food coloring to make a new color in the fourth cup.  Paint the bright, glossy colors on the paper.  Add a few drops of water to cup if paint thickens or begins to dry before painting is complete.

Eggshell Mosaic

Save eggshells until you have enough for a project.  Rinse and let them dry.  Crush and store in container.  When you have a couple dozen eggshells make up some dye by filling a jar with 1/2 cup of hot water  Add a tsp of vinegar and a few drops of food coloring.  Drop some of the crushed shells into the water.  Make up several jars of different colors.  Let them soak a few minutes.  Spoon them out and allow to air dry on a cookie sheet.  You can hurry up this drying by drying on a cookie sheet in a 200 degree oven.  When you have an assortment of different colored shells, have children use cotton swabs, and paint a design on paper using glue.  Sprinkle the colored eggshells onto the glue, and shake off excess. 

No Cook Paste

Gradually add water to a handful of flour and mix until gooey.  This recipe can also be used as a quickie finger paint by adding some food coloring and working it on heavy paper or cardboard.  Also works well as a paper-mache paste.


Mix 2 parts corn starch to 1 part water.  Add desired color of food coloring.  Makes a fun dough when learning different forms of matter.  If you make a huge batch in a tub try jumping into it.  Afterwards, read the story Bartholemew and the Ooblek by Dr. Seuss.

Rubber Egg

Place an uncooked egg - in its shell- in a glass jar and pour white vinegar over it until covered.  Leave for at least three days, and then pour off vinegar.  You now have a yucky to the touch but fascinating egg object.

Rainbow Celery

Place a cut stalk of celery with leaves still on it in a glass of water tinted with food coloring.  Within an hour the color begins to show in the leaves.  Slice one stalk in half part way up from the bottom and place each stem in separate glasses of differently color water for a multicolored effect. 

Salad Spinner

Cut paper to fit into bottom of the salad spinner.  Place paper in the spinner.  Drip paint onto the paper with spoon.  Use more than one color if desired.  Snap lid on spinner and have the children spin the handle.  Open and add glitter or confetti if desired.

Glass Glue

In a bowl, soften 2 packets of unflavored gelatin in 2 T cold water. Heat 3 T milk to boiling and add to soften gelatin. Stir until gelatin dissolves and pour into a jar.    Use this when something must adhere to glass, such as labels on jars, or to glue wood to wood.  Keeps ony a day or two. 

Stained Glass Crayons

A good way to use all those broken crayon pieces is to make stained glass crayons.  Remove any covering paper, place the pieces in a well-greased muffin tin (or line each muffin section with foil) and put in a 400 degree oven for a few minutes until melted.  Remove from the oven and cool completely before removing from tin.  If you mix the crayon colors, the "new" crayons will have a stained glass effect and are great fun to color with.

Treasure Rocks

Stir 1 cup used coffee grounds, 1/4 cup sand, 1/2 cup salt, 1 cup flour and 1 cup water together until stiff dough forms; add more flour if necessary.  Shape into balls.  Make hole in ball, insert "treasure" (small toy) in hole.  Smooth over hole.  Air dry for two days or place in 150 degree oven for 20 minutes.  Have child break open and find treasure. 

Preserving leaves with Glycerin 

Mix one part glycerine to two parts water.  Pour mixture in a pan and submerge leaves (weigh leaves down with rocks).  Leave submerged for 2-6 days.  the leaves will be soft and well preserved.