We make a lot of salt dough ornaments and gift tags over here, and this is definitely the coolest idea yet. We took the kids on a nature walk to find objects with various textures, and then we tested them on the raw dough and watched some beautiful ornaments come to life.
Mix together the flour, salt, and water in a large bowl. Depending on the age of your child, this might be a step that you do to prepare for the craft. Clare, our three-year-old, liked to put her hands in and help...but, for the most part, the mixing was a grownup step.
Once the clay is mixed, put it in a resealable plastic bag. Then go outside and look for items to make your textures! We enjoyed this step, because we got to explore and use things in creative ways. We found a lot of natural items like, pinecones, pine needles, Spanish moss, and small twigs with berries. Use things that you find around your house and explore the different possibilities and textures.
Our four-year old, Jackson, rolled out the clay on the parchment paper, until it was about 1/4" thick. We divided the clay into three pieces so Jackson, Clare, and I could all work together.
Use the cookie cutters to cut out different shapes. Remove and use excess clay until the clay is gone or you have as many ornaments as you want.
Begin to explore the different textures that your items create. You will find out that some work well and others not so much.
Use a straw to poke a hole near the top of the ornament. This hole will give you a place to tie a sting through after you bake the ornaments.
Adult step: Place the ornaments on a non-stick cookie sheet. We placed the parchment paper on a cookie sheet, which made it easier to transfer the ornaments. Bake the ornaments at 350 F for an hour. Remove the ornaments once they've turned light brown.