By mid-November, pomegranate season is in full swing. I picked up several at the grocery store last week with the idea that we would eat some and that I could try making playdough with the others. Pomegranate arils are so delightfully bright red that I figured they had to produce a fairly saturated natural red dye. I was right. Sort of. Pomegranate does make a great dye for playdough, albeit in a lovely shade of purple, rather than red.
How to Make Pomegranate Playdough
Spoon the arils from one pomegranate into a food processor and turn it on high for about 2 minutes. This should give you 3/4 of a cup to a full cup of juice. Strain the juice to remove the seeds, if desired (I left the seeds in). You’ll need 1 full cup of liquid so add water if you have less than a cup of juice.
In a medium-sized saucepan combine 1 cup white flour, 1/2 cup of salt, and 1/2 tsp cream of tartar.
Add just over 1/2 Tbsp of cooking oil. I know that seems like a random amount but that extra little bit makes the difference between dry and supple playdough.
Add the pomegranate juice to the flour mixture and stir to combine.
Stir the mixture over medium heat until it gets thick and pulls away from the sides of the pan. Remove from heat, let the dough cool for a minute or two and then knead it a few times.
*Or, take the easy route and substitute store-bought pomegranate juice for the water in your favorite playdough recipe.
I kept the hollowed out rind of the pomegranate and gave that to my son along with the playdough. We had some acorns and cinnamon bark out in bowls from a project we did earlier in the day and Peanut (age 3.5) added those to the fun.
The unusual combination of materials lent themselves beautifully to all kinds of imaginative play. I made a little playdough acorn family and their adventures included going to school, watching a performance and going for a ride in their pomegranate rind car. We made a new hardwood floor for them using the cinnamon bark. We also both enjoyed making prints in the dough and Peanut spent a fair bit of time filling and emptying the pomegranate rinds with the acorns and cinnamon bark.
Peanut and I played together for two whole hours while our daycare friend napped. I’ve been quite busy lately and so this extended and peaceful one-on-one time with my little boy has honestly been the highlight of my week. I NEVER regret putting my to-do list aside and giving him my full, undivided attention.
If you’d like to enjoy pomegranates with your little one but would rather not get into making playdough, the simple act of preparing and eating pomegranate arils is a great sensory activity for young children.
And now, a question for you, my dear readers. How do you prepare a pomegranate for eating? Do you cut it open and then gently pry the arils out in water like we did? Do you halve the pomegranate, turn it upside down and whack it with a spoon to loosen the arils? It seems that everyone I ask has a different method.
The Homemade Play Dough Recipe Book
We love playdough. In fact, we have a batch or two out on our kitchen table most days of the week. As a mom and a former home daycare operator, I have counted on it time and again as an open-ended play material that never fails to engage a child’s imagination as well as her hands.
Whether you use playdough regularly or you’ve never made a batch in your life, The Homemade Play Dough Recipe Book is for you. In the book you’ll find endless inspiration in the form of recipes and ideas for a whole year of play.
The book includes:
Such recipes as non-cook and cooked play dough, gluten-free dough, salt dough, modelling dough, and real bread.
ideas for 52 weeks of loose parts play, in a great printable poster format
a whole year of play dough activities, arranged seasonally. There’s an idea for every week of the year, from storytelling and role play activities, sensory play, and small worlds, to creative art prompts and math-based play.