Friday, April 16, 2010

Gluten free play....

There is controversy regarding the need for children with allergies to wheat (gluten) or with Celiac disease to avoid skin contact with these allergens (the substance that causes the reaction). Common medical thought is often that it is okay to have playdough, lotion or shampoo with allergens as these are not eaten. Well, for those of us with kids or working with kids, we know that anything can be eaten, purposely or accidently (puradently?). We also have all seen kids develop rashes from milk-based or wheat-enhanced shampoos and lotions.

There are many shampoo and lotions WITHOUT allergens, read the labels and avoid those. What to do then when presented with play dough? Make your own.
Here is a recipe adapted from for cornstarch/baking soda play dough.
Hints for natural food colors are listed at the bottom and how great would it be to eat beets and then dye your play dough purple.

2 cups baking soda mixed with 1 cup cornstarch in a saucepan
1 1/2 cup warm water * (see below for scent and color)

Add water to the cornstarch/baking soda. Mix until smooth, then gradually bring to a boil over medium heat, mixing all of the time. Remove from heat and put on a board. When cool, knead smooth. Store in a covered containe
* Color and scent : Add a few drops of food coloring to the water. Want it "natural",
use dark brewed tea instead of water, add beet juice (steam up some beets and
use the water). For scent, use spices such as pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon.
Try liquid extracts like peppermint, vanilla or lemon. Use unsweetened Kool Aid or
Sugar free gelatin to both color and scent.