Posted by: allisonwonder | March 5, 2010

Hairball Elephants

I’m trying to do activities with the kids- “activities” being pretty much anything that’s not watching TV*, with bonus points for anything educational and/or involving physical activity and/or getting us out of the house. I’d like to avoid anything expensive and things that require special equipment- any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! This kind of thing is a lot easier in the summer when we can walk down to the “little beach” or drive to the big beach- the weather’s kind of gross right now. It could be worse, but Simon’s a big wimp when it comes to the cold.

So here we are today- it’s not raining, but it’s cloudy. It’s not cold, but it’s windy. I want to go for a walk, but Simon will whine the entire time we’re gone- not so much fun for me. We’ll try to get out later (maybe walk down to return that overdue movie), but this morning was Time to Make Something!  WHEEEEE! I saw this recipe for modeling dough made from dryer lint a while ago; we certainly have enough dryer lint, so hey, why not?

Simon liked putting the ingredients (dryer lint, water, flour and vegetable oil) into the pot. He likes mixing it. He didn’t like the waiting part, but it’s something I’d REALLY like for him to learn to deal with. Really.

In goes the flour...

The recipe doesn’t say how long the lint soup is supposed to cook for- I let it go for almost 1/2 an hour, and it still didn’t seem to be congealing properly. I would have turned the heat up to “medium”, but I didn’t want to risk having dryer lint (with bonus cat hair!) burned onto the bottom of the pot. I’m selfish like that. So we ended up with a big, grey hairball, which I then wrapped in a J-Cloth and squeezed to get the extra water out. We’re not aiming for perfection here, folks, just something to keep Simon occupied.

Lint Soup

Good enough, right? So we let that cool for a while, then got ready to make wonderful things. Well, I was ready. Simon doesn’t like getting his hands dirty or “yucky” (or wet, actually), so he wasn’t too sure about this stuff. And it WAS pretty gross- I’ve seen too many hairballs come out of the cats for this to be anything but icky. BUT- this was our project for today, our great experiment, and we were going to see it through. I eventually got Simon smooshing the stuff around with his fingertips (and frequently wiping them off on a towel) and asking me to make stuff- this was actually more than I expected him to do.

I made some very squishy animals…

mouse-hairball and elephant-hairball

…Simon made a very realistic-looking pile of hairy cat vomit.

Simon and his... creations

I’m going to call this one a success. The recipe might not have worked out like it was supposed to, but we made something that we got to play with after we made it and we spent some time doing something fun that did not involve the TV or even any TV or movie characters. Also, I learned that our dryer lint contains a ridiculous amount of cat hair.  Hey, I could make fake hairballs to sell for April Fool’s Day! SCORE!

*Simon’s a bit of a TV-holic- we don’t have cable, but he LOVES movies and wants one on at all times. It’s bad. We’re working on it.

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