One way to get a rise out of your child is to mix up a batch of craft dough he can turn into a family of stand-up dolls and pets. Once they're baked, he can outfit his collection by painting on features, clothes and accessories.
To make the dough, combine 3 cups of all-purpose flour, 1 cup of salt and 1 cup of water in a mixing bowl. Knead the dough until it is smooth and rubbery.
For each doll, first form a head by rolling a piece of dough between your palms (it should be roughly the size of a Ping-Pong ball). Make a second, slightly larger ball for the torso. Or, if you want to dress the figure in a skirt, shape a triangular trunk. Press the head onto the torso, applying a few drops of water to make the dough sticky, if necessary.
Next, shape and attach cylindrical arms and legs. Pinch the lower ends of the legs to form feet. Attach ears and a nose, and use a toothpick to etch facial features. Bake the figures on a foil-lined cookie sheet for 1 hour in a 275-degree oven. Remove from the oven and set aside until cool enough to handle.
Now your child can fashion footwear for his dolls by flattening pieces of dough into thin circles and wrapping them around the feet. (Remember, the bottoms of the shoes will need to be level for the figure to stand up on its own.) Use the same method to craft a wig for the doll's head.
Bake the figures for an additional hour. Let them cool before painting (acrylics work best). Unbaked dough will keep in the refrigerator for about a week.
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