I just read The Danish Way of Parenting: What the Happiest People in the World Know about Raising Confident, Capable Kids and guys—I was schooled. No—not my children. Me.
Here’s what I mean. It’s mid-January and it’s winter and it’s cold. I may or may not complain about this fact on a daily basis.
No, we can’t go to the playground—and yes, did I mention it’s so cold—but what I am reminded of by Jessica Joelle Alexander and Iben Dissing Sandahl, the co-authors, is that it’s really how you look at it.
The Danes do this wonderful thing and say, isn’t it so lovely that we can cozy up by the fire and play games with warm toes in our warm socks?
And, then, get this—they actually spend hours on end by the fire with their family. Singing, hanging, doing arts and crafts. They call it hygge (pronounced “hooga” which means to cozy around together) and they are really good at it.
In the spirit of hygge, I’ve been working to reframe the way I talk about the things that at first flash, are disappointments.
And, I’ve even been welcoming this family time together in the long stretches of the darkened afternoon, where we can work as a team and celebrate togetherness without the pressure of a holiday. Hygge is all about keeping it simple and being in the moment.
Which is exactly what this recipe for wintertime coziness will bring: time together with mixing spoons, the magic and transformation of everyday ingredients into something entirely different (a toy! that your children helped make!), and the gathering of found objects (in this case, stamping materials) on a mid-day walk.
Follow the simple steps below using kitchen pantry ingredients to make your very own hygge play dough and to invite a bit of cozy togetherness into your home during these mid-winter months.
What you’ll need:
For the play dough:
- 2 cups flour
- 1 cup salt
- 4 teaspoons cream of tartar (found in the spice section of supermarkets)
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 2 cup of water
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract for aroma and natural color
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (or pie spice) for aroma and natural color
For the found objects:
Look around on a wintertime walk or even in your home for objects with interesting texture for stamping in dough, like sea shells, plant matter, acorns, or pine cones.
For the storage and presentation:
How to make a set of Hygge Playdough:
- Mix the flour, salt, and cream of tartar in a stovetop pot.
- Add oil, water, vanilla extract, and cinnamon (or pie spice) and stir until ingredients are well blended.
- Cook over medium heat, continuously stirring for several minutes until the dough begins to stick together.
- Remove the dough from the pot and let rest for a few minutes.
- Knead the dough a few times to smooth and soften it. Your dough is ready for play!
- Once playtime is through, cool to room temperature before storing in small, lidded mason jars.The dough won’t keep as long as manufactured play dough, but will last for several weeks in a dry, cool place.
- Gather your found objects and arrange in a separate mason jar.
- Stamp, decorate, and tie with ribbon.
Rebecca Pitts writes and makes stuff for kids + kids at heart. She is the founder and creative behind Hudson + Daughter and a contributor at Dear Handmade Life. Her work and ideas have been featured in Country Living, the Etsy Seller Handbook, the Martha Stewart American Made Market, Craft Industry Alliance, And North, Blog Society, and atly.