Potential Food Allergens in School Crafts & Supplies
Sometimes, common arts and crafts supplies and activities can contain unexpected food allergens.
If the supplies include an ingredient your child is allergic to, they might be at risk for an allergic reaction due to cross-contact. Cross-contact happens when a food allergen comes in contact with food or an item not intended to contain that allergen.
Fortunately, there are ways to make many popular kids’ crafts safer for kids with food allergies. The chart below contains a list of some unexpected places you may find common food allergens, along with other options and precautions.
You can download the chart to print and share.
This is only a general guide and is does not include every possible food allergen. Double-check all ingredients to make sure they are safe for your child or student.
Craft and Sensory Recipes
Here are some alternative recipes for Play-Doh® and Oobleck. Choose the recipe below that’s best for your child based on their allergies.
Rice Play Dough (with video)
1 1/4 cups rice flour
1/2 cup salt
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 cup water
1 tbsp oil
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
Food coloring/sparkles (optional)
- Mix flour, salt, and cream of tartar in a large pot. Add water and oil.
- Cook over medium heat until the mixture pulls away from the sides of the pan (about 5 minutes), stirring constantly.
- Add vanilla extract (for smell, not taste). Mix thoroughly. Put play dough on a clean surface. When cool enough to handle, knead lightly and store in an airtight container.
- Add food coloring to the water to make colored play dough. Add sparkles during the hand mixing time for sparkly play dough.
Cornstach Play Dough
1 cup cornstarch
1 lb baking soda
1 cup water
1/8 tsp oil
Food coloring (optional)
- In a large pot, combine ingredients. Cook over medium heat until “mealy.” Allow to cool on a plate, covered by a damp cloth. Knead well and store in an airtight container.
Sweet Play Dough
3 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup corn syrup
1/2 cup margarine, melted
5 drops food coloring
- Mix all ingredients, except coloring, until mixture is blended and all one color. Then mix in coloring.
- You can shape this and eat it, assuming your child is not allergic to any of the ingredients. Do not make this in advance. Make this when you are going to play with it. It will get hard and become inedible.