In this activity, children will learn about the 4 different grades of maple syrup and enjoy a sensory experience so sweet, they will want to play again and again!
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Graded Maple Syrup Playdough
For the past 2 years, my family has tapped Sugar Maple trees in Southern New Hampshire. But this past summer, we moved to a Maple Treeless neighborhood in Wisconsin. We are certainly missing the ping ping sound of sap dripping into our buckets, and trudging through deep snow—buckets in hand—sap splashing our knees. If you want to learn more about our experience tapping trees and making 100% pure maple syrup, you might enjoy reading:
To satisfy our maple sugaring obsession, this year we will have to settle for maple syrup festivals and sensory play. And hopefully, Nana and Grandpa will reserve several jars of their Grade A New York syrup for us!
- 2 cups flour
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup salt
- 2 TBSP canola oil
- 2 TSP Cream of Tartar
- Drizzle of pure maple syrup
- Imitation Maple Flavor
- Wilton Icing Colors (brown, black, yellow, orange, red)
1. Whisk the flour, water, salt, oil, Cream of Tartar, syrup, and maple flavor in a medium saucepan.
2. Stir the playdough ingredients over low until they clump together into a soft ball.
3. Remove the playdough from the saucepan and knead until smooth. Divide the dough into 4 balls.
4. Use the icing colors to dye the already amber colored dough according to the 4 grades of maple syrup. Press the dye into the dough using the back of a spoon. Mix it in completely using your fingers.
Grade A Light Amber syrup is harvested from trees early in the season. It is clear, light, and loved by all! As the weather warms, the syrup darkens in color. Medium Amber and Dark Amber syrup are appreciated for their beautiful color and rich flavor. Because of its strong flavor, Grade B syrup is usually reserved for baking or cooking.
My children enjoyed using old syrup jugs, a hydrometer test cup, spiles, and textured rolling pins as tools for their play. The air wasn’t quite as sweet as the smell as real maple syrup boiling, but we enjoyed a light scent in our home as they played. Graded Maple Syrup Playdough is the perfect seasonal sensory activity for early spring!