Check out this lovely autumn/ fall craft idea; making your own playdough hedgehogs! Children will love making their own hedgehogs! Below we have a recipe for playdough (you are always able to use store bought if you have some in) but it’s lovely to be able to create your own.

Thanks to Jess, from South West England, who sent in this lovely hedgehog playdough idea. Let’s take a look at it…

What did you do?

I am so proud to be sharing my hedgehog play dough activity with you at ‘Housebound with kids’. Play dough is super easy to make at home using every day cooking ingredients and is a fantastic tool for thinking skills and creativity.

Perfect for autumn/ fall – this particular activity I have made a brown play dough using brown gel colouring. The playdough can be moulded into hedgehog shapes and then you can use (uncooked) pasta pieces for your hedgehog’s spiky backs!

Play dough recipe:

Tools needed:
One microwave safe large mixing bowl
Wooden spoon/spatula
Cups for measuring

2 cups of plain flour
1 cup of table salt
4 sachets/teaspoons of cream of tartar
2 cups of water
1 generous tablespoon of cooking oil
brown food colouring as needed to create desired shade googly eyes

Sieve 2 cups of plain flour into the bowl.
Add all other dry ingredients to the bowl and mix together.
Add water, oil and food colouring and mix.
Use a whisk to remove any lumps.
Place the mixture in the microwave.
Cook for 1 minute, remove bowl and mix. Repeat this process until the mixture begins to bind.
Continue to cook for 1 minute at a time, using your spatula to turn the dough ensuring all sides are cooked thoroughly.

Leave dough to cool for an hour.
Check the dough’s texture.
If sticky knead the dough in a sprinkle of plain flour until it is smooth and ready to use.

Enjoy your play dough!

This activity is perfect for strengthening little ones hand muscles which later supports their writing skills. Children will need to use a pincer grasp with their thumb and first finger to push the pasta into the dough, which is particularly great for strengthening those fingers most needed to help writing skill. This activity may also help your child to determine their preferred dominant hand.

You can add wobbly eyes, which are always fun, to complete your hedgehogs look! Play around with different sizes and create whole families of hedgehogs. Encourage counting by looking at how many pasta spikes your hedgehog has or how many hedgehogs you have made. Also use this activity to afford conversations about the Autumn season and talking to your children about the changes made during this season and the different animals we may see, such as our spiky friends.

My favourite thing about this activity Is how it has so many different directions for learning, which is what makes it so perfect. It’s engaging and therapeutic, supports fine motor development, encourages learning about seasons and offers opportunities to practice counting. And of course the hedgehogs look so cute in all their different shapes and sizes thanks to the children’s brilliant imaginations.

A photo of 2 brown playdoh hedghogs  both have googly eyes and 3 pasta shapes for spikes.  they are on a blue table.

Do you have any other projects planned?

This Autumn playdough activity can easily be extended for more able children in fine motor skills by simply adding child friendly scissors and allowing children to use the scissors to make several snips in the hedgehogs back to create some very realistic spikes. Alternatively you could make more Autumn playdough in different colours including, green, orange and red and make some leaves using simple leaf cutters and explore more counting and conversation about Autumn time with your children.

Tell the Housebound With Kids community a bit about yourself…

My name is Jess and I am an Early Years teacher in England! I have a BA Hons degree in working with children & families and I am presently leading a preschool group in a nursery setting. I absolutely love my job and love letting my creativity run free by always striving to come up with new and fun ideas to engage my little learners! I have an Early Years Instagram account @jess_earlyyears where I share all of my favourite fun activities and resources that I create for my preschool group.

Do you have any tips for other parents?

There is more that you are capable of doing at home than you think!
For example, the play dough recipe I use for my preschool group is easily achieved at home and you can buy all of the ingredients at your local supermarket during your weekly shop. Easy peasy!

What are your family’s favourite board game(s)/card game(s)?

My favourite board game is probably Cluedo. I love a challenge and a game that gets me thinking.

What are your children’s favourite books?

I love Julia Donaldson’s collection of books, I find her writing to be flawless in regards to appropriation, story lines and ability to engage children. My very favourite would have to be a squash and a squeeze, the repetition and the giggles it creates are just fab. I do very much love The Tiger Who Came To Tea by Judith Kerr, it’s just so wonderfully ridiculous!

What toys would you recommend to other parents?

I am very into wooden toys at the moment, in particular peg dolls and wooden story spoons. Not only are these very robust materials that last years but you can buy them plain and be as create and personal as you want as well. I love to buy and paint peg dolls and wooden spoons and have created many story sack resources, song spoons and small world people with them that the children love. These toys are also a brilliant idea to buy and paint at home and can provide your children years of fun with their favourite characters. You could even make a peg doll family of yourselves to play with, how cool would that be!

Has this website and community helped you?

Housebound with kids is a brilliant idea and something I am sure many families have been grateful for during the current climate and the challenges we have faced during this year. Housebound with kids have been able to support parents who would usually be out at work adapt to learning and playing more at home with their children and being creative in finding lots of different activities and ideas to offer them.

A photo of a child in a grey hoodie holding a brown playdoh hedgehog in his hands.  it had pasta shapes that act as its spikes.