I couldn't resist making these stress ball balloons when I saw them here.  These are basically balloons filled with playdough, with faces drawn on with Sharpie markers.  These are a great for discussing emotions as well as giving those little finger muscles a good work out! 
After a bit of experimenting I found non-cook playdough produced a better dough as it was a bit more stiffer and consequently kept the squeezed shape for slighly longer than cooked dough.  Adding extra salt seemed to make the dough even stiffer.
And they have been well and truly squashed and squeezed.
Great for strengthening finger muscles!
However I had made these and I was keen for the children to have a go at making their own, from scratch!
As J was very interested in numbers at the moment, I thought creating a simple recipe card for her to follow would be a great way to incorporate numbers into the activity.
The recipe for non-cook playdough is available on my recipe page.  I adjusted the ingredients slightly as I wanted J to make only a small amount of dough, but this didn't work.  The mixture was far too wet, so had to sneakily add extra flour when J popped to the toilet!
First I helped J to read the recipe card.  As we got towards the end of the ingredients she had got the hang of it and was able to read it on her own.
J counted out her ingredients.
Poured them into her bowl.
And mixed them all together.
Then she got to the part where she needed to add hot water.  Now she had worked so hard that I didn't want to just whip it away from her at this point because of the hot water.  I knew she was very sensible and would listen to what I told her, so I poured the hot water into the bowl and explained that she needed to stir it very slowly and carefully so that it didn't splash her.  And she did.
As the dough was very hot, I kneaded it for a bit until it had cooled down enough for J, then she took over. 
Rolling her dough into a sausage shape, ready to fill the balloon.  (You need dough rougly the size of a cupcake, too much and it makes it very difficult to tie the balloon).
I couldn't take photos of the next stage as I needed both hands to stuff the balloon!  This part is easier with 2 people but if you are doing it alone, stand the playdough sausage so it stands upright, then stretch the balloon open as wide as it will go with both hand and lower it onto the dough, then use your thumbs to push the dough into the balloon.
Only fill the round part of the balloon.  Pinch and squeeze out and dough that is in the neck part as it will make tying difficult.  Also check for air pockets before tying and work these towards the opening.
Once tied J just had to add her face.
I think these are much cooler than mine!
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