We haven't baked Christmas cookies yet, but the boys have rebuilt the world multiple times on our miniature railroad display. The Chef has some special decorative trees and buildings that are set up in an off-limits part of the platform, kind of like a gated community. The rest of it we build with toys and stuff from the wooden train set, and that part gets rearranged almost daily. The Sous Chef and I thought we needed some “natural features.” So we collected rocks, moss and sticks, whipped up some homemade play dough, and created a miniature wilderness. At the moment it is populated by a plastic monkey and pink frog, but that will change tomorrow.
Small natural items, like sticks, stones, dried flowers, dried weeds, herbs, pinecones, bits of pine branches, moss, etc.
Play dough (recipe for homemade is below)
Cardboard pieces (such as from a cracker box)
Any clean paper, foil, plastic or arts and craft scraps
1. Let anything wet or muddy dry out overnight.
2. Cut cardboard into shapes for mounting. Small pieces can be the base for trees. Larger pieces can hold entire natural scenes.
3. Mold play dough into hillsides or river banks. Make small balls to support the trees.
4. Add the natural items. Moss makes wonderful grass. Pinecones and twigs look just like mini replicas of the “real” thing.
5. Use whatever else you have on hand to create rivers, ponds, animals, tiny cabins, etc.
Homemade Play Dough – This recipe comes courtesy of the wonderful teachers at the HeartPrints Center for Early Education. Combine 2 cups of flour, 1 cup of salt, 1 TB cream of tartar. Heat 2 cups of water, 2 TB of oil and a food coloring until it boils. Then combine wet and dry ingredients, mixing with a spoon until it cools enough to knead with your hands. Store in an airtight container.