Christingle Play Dough - with Orange Scent

Looking for another way to explore Christingle with young children? How about Christingle Play Dough. This play dough recipe is super simple to make & smells fabulous too. Perfect for toddler groups, after school play, Messy Church or a Christingle Service, & a neat gift to take home & play with again.

Christingles are traditionally made during Advent, Christmas or Epiphany. Made from an orange & candle they represent Jesus as the light of the world. Cocktail sticks with sweets & dried fruit represent the 4 seasons & a red ribbon wrapped around the middle signifies Jesus' love for us.

We wanted our Christingle play dough to not only look like an orange but to smell like one too, here's how we made it.

Simple No-Cook Christingle Play Dough Recipe

2 cups of plain flour
1 cup of salt
2 tablespoons of cream of tartar 
2 tablespoons of sunflower/vegetable oil
1 cup of boiling water
Red & Orange food colouring
Orange Extract (from food aisle)

To make the dough:

:: Add all the dry ingredients into a bowl & then added the sunflower oil. 

:: Add a few drops of orange food colouring to a cup of boiling water & slowly pour into the dry ingredients. Mix well with a spoon until it starts to form a dough, then knead with your hands for a couple of minutes. (If the mixture is dry add a little more water, or too wet add a little more flour)
:: Add 2 tbsp orange extract & knead well into the dough. 

We made another quick batch following the same play dough recipe, using the red food colouring instead of orange. Once both batches of play dough were cooled they were ready to use.

We rolled a large section of the orange dough to create a ball, then taking a smaller section of the red, we rolled a long thin sausage shape to create our ribbon. 

We wrapped our red play dough ribbon around our orange & secured by pressing the ends together. The red ribbon reminds us of God's love which is like a BIG HUG around the world.

Ask the children to stretch out their arms as wide as they can & then wrap themselves in the biggest hug ever, like a massive hug from God whose love never ends.

To represent the four seasons we used one brown pipe cleaner which we cut into four sections. I've always thought of these as trees representing the seasons, but also signifying the four points of a compass. 

To decorate our 'trees' with fruit we used a variety of coloured wooden beads.
You could encourage children to think of as many different fruits as they can.
What fruit could each coloured bead represent?
I wonder which country those fruits come from?

This is a really neat threading exercise for small hands too, although some may find it easier to add the beads to the pipe cleaners before they push them into the orange.

Finally, we added our birthday cake candle to the centre of the orange. This not only represents Jesus as the light of the world, but the birthday candle also reminds us to celebrate his birthday on Christmas Day! 

We created a flame for our candle by folding over a small section of a yellow pipe cleaner & moulding it over the top of the candle, alternatively you could use yellow paper.

After you've made the Play Dough Christingles you could:

:: Sing "Happy Birthday to Jesus", "This Little Light of Mine" or "Away in a Manger"
:: Pretend to blow out your Christingle candle & then 'magically' re-light it by adding the flame again. 
:: Read a simple version of the Nativity together.
:: Donate to the amazing work of the Children's Society
:: Pop your Christingle in an airtight container ready to explore & remake another day.
:: Keep the Christingle candle safe & light it for real on Christmas Day to celebrate Jesus' Birthday.

Looking for more ways to explore the real meaning of Christmas?
Take a look at our Advent & Nativity ideas.