Head to a dollar store and purchase a shiny new cookie sheet, cookie cutters, plastic knives and craft sticks. Include a batch of homemade play dough.
Here's my favorite recipe.
1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
1 cup water
1 tablespoon oil
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
Mix dry ingredients in a saucepan. Add oil, water and food coloring and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat when dough begins to pull away from the sides of the saucepan and forms a ball. Pour out and knead a few minutes. Store play-dough in a plastic bag or airtight container.
Use the cookie sheet for a play dough surface. It's easy to clean and the edges keep the play-dough contained. Plastic knives, craft sticks, and cookie cutters make great tools. An empty plastic bottle can be a rolling pin. Encourage your child to roll out the dough into long snakes. Pinch and twist the snakes into shapes, letters of the alphabet and their name. All these activities increase hand strength and strengthen fine motor skills.
Add a gift bag and a card and you’ve created a one-of-a kind gift for under five dollars.