Are you in the mood for some St. Patrick’s Day activities? Or perhaps your little ones are all about playing princess activities or pirate games. Either way, I’ve got a fun little project just for you- make some salt dough gold coins using natural dye! We’ve been using these for all kinds of pretend play including leprechaun hunts (I pretend to be a leprechaun and hide the gold for the twins to find…their idea), pretend shopping, and even a buried treasure sensory bin. My twins (age three) are super into counting EVERYTHING right now, so this is a playful way to build on that interest. And once you’re done here, you can hop on over to Fantastic Fun and Learning for another golden recipe for play!
DIY Salt Dough Gold Coins with Natural Dye
To make your coins, you’ll need to make a batch of salt dough. I used our basic recipe with a twist- turmeric! I’ve used turmeric to dye wooden beads before, so I knew it was excellent for producing a deep golden color naturally.
Salt Dough Recipe with Natural Dye
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup salt
- 2 cups warm water
- 4 tsp turmeric
Before making your dough, you’ll want to dye your water with the turmeric. Place the water and turmeric in a saucepan on the stove, bring to a boil, and then simmer until the liquid is reduced by about half. Then let your water cool, pour through a sieve (the turmeric will have formed a paste in the bottom of your pan), and use the resulting water in your recipe. I got about 3/4 cup dyed water out of this process, which was plenty for my batch of dough.
Combine your dry ingredients and then slowly add your water a little at a time, mixing until you have a dough-like consistency. You may not need all of your water, so it’s important to just mix in a bit at a time so you don’t end up with a sticky dough! You want it to be a little stiff. If your dough is still too dry after adding all your dyed water, a little regular water will do just fine to moisten it up until it’s workable.
Once our dough was rolled out, we improvised a bit- we don’t own any small round cookie cutters, so we used a large plastic bottle cap to make a bunch of circles. For the dollar signs, I got out our vintage stamp set that I found in a thrift store ages ago and used the dollar stamp.
Cool, right? You could do all sorts of fun stuff when it comes to stamping your coins- even stamping them with different letters of the alphabet or symbols for patterning or letter recognition games- endless possibilities. Or just leave them blank- they are pretty by themselves!
Once the coins were baked, the color wasn’t quite as vibrant (typical for any colored salt dough), so we used a glaze of glossy Mod Podge mixed with gold liquid watercolors to give the coins back some of their color and shimmer. You could also use regular school glue and super-fine glitter, but the effect will be a bit different.
And there you have it! Beautiful salt dough coins for pretend play or counting games. My children hoard and count them like they are real treasure, so I’d say they were a success Now, hop on over to Fantastic Fun and Learning to check out their beautiful invitation to play with gold play dough!
The Homemade Play Dough Recipe Book
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If you love play dough, (or salt dough, or bread dough…) as much as we do, I highly recommend that you check out The Homemade Play Dough Recipe Book written by Cathy James of NurtureStore. It is a super creative e-book packed with amazing ideas regarding all things play dough, including:
- all the recipes you need for the activities in the book including non-cook and cooked play dough, gluten-free dough, salt dough, modeling dough, and real bread.
- ideas for 52 weeks of loose parts play, in a printable poster format
- a whole year of play dough activities, arranged seasonally. There’s an idea for every week of the year including sensory and imaginary play, storytelling, art ideas, small worlds, math activities, reading and writing ideas.