This invitation to create with cherry play clay was an absolute hit with my toddler! Make some cherry play clay, grab a few simple materials, and you’re ready to set up this fun sensory play activity perfect for Valentine’s Day! (This post contains affiliate links.)
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Sensory Play: Decorating Cherry Play Clay Hearts
Our most recent invitation to create is valentine themed, but it could of course be used any time of year. I learned so much by watching Theo create with this heart-themed sensory activity! Disclaimer: This sensory play activity does use small parts that are a choking hazard for children under 3. Please do not use the small parts if your child is still mouthing things, and never leave your child unattended.
Materials for Sensory Play Activity
- Cherry play clay (recipe below)
- A variety of playdough tools (We had a little roller and some wooden sticks at home. You could use a rolling pin, fork, straw, toothpick… anything for your child to use to explore making marks in the clay.)
- Heart cookie cutters
- Pony beads
- Letter stamps (I LOVE this set! It has both upper and lower case letters, and the stamps are really easy for small hands to grasp.)
- Wooden hearts
* These are just materials I had found in my crafting supplies. Don’t feel like you need to use the exact materials- look around your house and see what you could use that you already have.
Recipe for Cherry Play Clay
1. In a saucepan, mix together 1 cup cornstarch, 2 cups baking soda, and 1 1/4 cups water. I also added one packet of cherry flavored Kool-aid to give it a pink color and cherry scent! Stir this constantly over medium-low heat. At first it will seem really soupy, but don’t lose hope- it will thicken!
2. Continue stirring. You will notice it begin to thicken towards the bottom of the pan. Lumps will then begin forming. And then pretty quickly after that the whole thing begins to thicken. Give it a few strong stirs until it is a bit thicker than mashed potatoes.
3. Once your play clay is the right consistency, dump it out onto a clean surface (cutting board or sheet of wax paper) to cool. It’s quite hot once it first comes out of the pan so I usually cover it with a damp cloth (to keep it from drying out) and let it cool quite a bit before handling it.
4. Once it’s cool enough to work with, knead the play clay until it’s smooth.
5. Once the play clay is completely cooled, you can store it in an airtight container or plastic bag for up to two weeks if you’re not planning on using it right away.
6. You can let your finished creations air dry overnight to harden.
Setting Up the Invitation to Create with Cherry Play Clay
I placed the smaller materials in a plastic tray that I found at our local dollar store.
Theo was so excited to get started creating! He was not familiar with using a roller and cutting with cookie cutters so I modeled the activity for him. It took him a few practice tries with me, and then he got the hang of it. He rolled and cut out hearts over and over! “Heart, Mommy, heart!”
The activity Theo seemed to enjoy the most was making impressions in his play clay hearts!
He pressed the letter stamps into the clay and was so excited to see the impressions they left when he removed the stamp. He would yell out each letter as he made the impression. So much fun!
Theo also had fun using the little wooden hearts to make heart impressions in the clay. He developed a pattern of making impressions, rolling over the clay to erase the impressions, and then creating more impressions.
As our time to explore was coming to a close, we chose a few of our creations to save. We placed them on a plate and set them aside to dry. Theo loved having a finished craft to show to his sister and Daddy later that day!