Fun dough at the company picnic

I was nominated for handling the kids’ activities for our company picnic. Fourteen kids were expected, most in the 4-7 age range. My first idea was sidewalk chalk, an introduction to a lifelong career as a graffitist. Unfortunately, the picnic spot was nowhere near sidewalk. Using the paved parking lot also seemed like a bad idea for obvious reasons.

Plan B was fun dough in a variety of colors. That seemed insufficient, so on the advice of my better half, plans C (kites), D (bubbles) and E (random balls) were also implemented. The grand total came to just over $40, not including the flour, sticks, paper and crayons I kicked in myself.

The kids gravitated to the kites first. Once built, they ran around a few times, lost interest, and went for the bubbles.

My youngest had a lot of fun playing with the dough, but it was clear it needed some marketing. Adults were generally averse to picking up something that begged to be squished, pounded and mixed. I fiddled with it off and on, then managed to entice another guy to join in. He tired of the molds and made an olive (mixing the blue and yellow doughs) with a red “pimento” inside. This triggered a flurry of other food-themed creations: a blueberry, a celery stick with cream cheese, a carrot and its leaves. There was a pseudo-competition to replicate the hardest food substance. Eventually, there was a piece of fish cake, sushi, a black berry, cauliflower, an eggplant, watermelon slice, pinapple ring, a lemon, zucchini wedge and, the agreed winner, a slice of orange.

As the party wound down, I was looking for ways to parlay extra bags of fun dough onto other people (much like a midwesterner does with her prize corn harvest). We still had to take home about 10 pounds’ worth.

The various nerf-like balls weren’t used.


  1. Ok, I had to go back to your Fun Dough recipe link to see what the heck you were talking about and, having done so, I must ask: Did you cook up all this fun dough yourself to bring to the picnic? Because it sounds like you had a hella lot of it…

  2. Another one is home-made slime. Make sure you are present for this and emphasize that it is not safe to eat!!!

    White Glue
    Food Coloring (optional)
    Ziploc bag

    1. Take a cup of water and add to it 1 Tbs. of borax (approx 4% solution). Stir until completely dissolved.
    2. Make a 50% water 50% white glue solution. Take 0.25 cup of each and mix thoroughly.
    3. In a ziploc bag, add equal parts of the borax solution to equal parts of the glue solution. 0.5 cup of each will make a cup of slime.
    4. Add a couple drops of food coloring.
    5. Seal bag and knead the mixture.
    6. Dig in and have fun. Remember to wash your hands after playing.
    7. Keep your slime in the sealed bag in the refrigerator when not playing with it to keep it longer. Unfortunately it may eventually dry out or get moldy. Toss it and make some more.

  3. So, who had more fun with the games…the kids or the adults? I am having a hard time imagining a child wanting to replicate a fish cake!

  4. Tredecillion: Did you cook up all this fun dough yourself?

    My spouse did. There were six bags (blue, yellow, red, pink, white, and lavendar), each about 6 pounds’ worth.

    As you know, the dough eventually becomes brown when all of the colors are mixed.

    Terri: home-made slime

    Nifty. Another fun one is oobleck, two parts corn starch and one part water. When pressure is applied, it behaves like a solid. Otherwise, it acts like a liquid. Very non-Newtonian

    Sarah:who had more fun with the games?

    Both. The kids were amused early-on, allowing the adults time to eat. As the party wound down, the adults had fun with the dough.

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