Recommended by Ann Hallock and kids, Sarah, age 5, and Nat, 8
My kids and I love making crafts, particularly the kind that Sarah calls "make-it-however-you-like projects." That's why we have this clay recipe taped to the back of our cornstarch box. It takes about five minutes to "cook," and the resulting concoction is warm and pliable and the perfect consistency for kneading, modeling, and embellishing with stuck-on odds and ends.
Recently, making the clay and the creatures filled an entire empty afternoon and seemed to inspire that dreamy state kids can get into with open-ended projects: "Maybe this guy should be Frankenstein ... these beads are his monster eyes ... what should his arm be?" The sculptures dried to a hard, pearly finish, and our countertop is now populated with a one-of-a-kind menagerie of aliens, animals, snowmen, and robots.
In a small saucepan, mix the salt and baking soda with 1/3 cup of water and bring to a boil.
In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and 1/4 cup of water and stir well.
When the salt mixture boils, remove it from the heat and add the cornstarch mixture. Stir vigorously for a minute or two to thicken the clay. Spoon it onto a sheet of waxed paper and allow it to cool before working with it.