There is a great deal of science involved with cooking. With that in mind, my wife and I came up with a very inexpensive little bit of educational fun for us to do as a family. She pulled out her mothers old recipe for making christmas ornaments and after purchasing a few supplies, we had an entire evening of Christmas music, baking, painting and talking for less than you would spend at the movies.
suggested discussions: flour and water acting as a glue, heat and evaporation, acrylic sealant to keep the "food" from going bad since these ornaments are edible (though I wouldn't recommend it.. They taste horrible)
Salt Dough Ornaments
2 C. flour
1 C. salt
1 C. water
Mix salt and flour. Add in half the water, then gradually add the remaining water. Knead until the dough is smooth, this can take up to 10 minutes.
For flat dough ornaments roll out the dough on baking paper. You can also be creative and make odd shapes and wreaths (takes longer to bake.) Use cookie cutters, cut-out templates, or just use your hands.
Dust dough with flour and begin to add details to the ornaments with a toothpick, popsicle stick, and knife.
Don't forget to use a straw to make a hole so you can hang the ornament.
Baking: Time varies based on thickness of ornament
Time: 1 1/2 hours - or until dry
Let cool before you begin. Paint with acrylic paints. Glue on beads, buttons, or any fun accessory. Coat with acrylic varnish when everything is dry.
Total cost looks like this:
Dough = $0.50 maybe
cookie cutters = $1
acrylic paint = $10
Acrylic varnish in a spray can = $4
1 bottle of clear acrylic sparkle paint = $1