I recently had the pleasure of visiting my daughter's first grade classroom to teach her classmates and teachers how to make edible play dough.
Below is a simple recipe using only three ingredients, one of which is honey. As I was developing my lesson, I was reminded of a lovely ancient Jewish tradition using honey when first introducing young children to the alphabet. It was customary to drizzle honey on the letters and have the children lick the honey as they learned the letters so that they will associate reading with sweetness and delight.
It occurred to me that we could use the play dough as an equally delicious way to explore letters. I modified the recipe so that it is suitable for most classrooms, even with the most severe allergies. The other two ingredients in the dough, besides the honey, are coconut flour and sunflower seed butter.
To begin my lesson we discussed the three ingredients, and explored where they come from (the honey was local, but the coconut flour travelled from the Philippines to get to us!). We then talked about how bees make honey.
We divided into smaller groups and each group had to follow the written recipe. With minimal adult supervision, they measured and mixed the ingredients resulting in a yummy dough. Each student got a portion of the dough and enjoyed shaping letters and little honey bees and eating it along the way, of course.
As I hoped, shaping letters and numbers with play dough was a great way for children in pre-school and grades K-1 to practice writing and math - the edible part was just such an awesome bonus!
Edible Play Dough
1 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup sunflower seed butter
In a large bowl mix the ingredients with a spoon or spatula. When the dough is formed use your hands to gather it together. Scrape whatever is left on the bottom of the bowl and mix it into the dough. If the dough is still sticky, sprinkle a bit of flour until it's easier to work with. The dough yields 1.5 cups. I found that about an 1/8 of a cup is enough for each child to make letters. Any unused dough can be stored in a airtight container in the fridge for at least a week.