I have often spent many Sunday nights making play dough to take to school the next day. When my own children were younger they loved this and would always help me and of course, had to test it out first! Over the years I have experimented with adding different things to add different sensory experiences for the children. New parents will often ask me how to make playdough as it can be expensive in the shops. It’s really easy!
Here is the recipe for basic play dough:
- 2 cups of flour (a typical sized mug)
- 1 cup of salt
- 2 tablespoons of oil (any oil but sunflower oil works best)
- 2 tablespoons cream of tartar (this is what makes it stretchy)
- 2 cups of water.
- Optional -add food colouring of your choice.
Put it all into a pan over a very low heat and stir like crazy until it starts to lift from the sides of the pan. Put it onto a floured surface and knead until perfect play dough consistency. Voila!
There are loads of variations to this recipe. Here are some of my favourites and ideas on how you can extend their play:
- Add something smelly such as lavender oil, cinnamon, herbal tea or lemon rind for a fabulous smelly treat! Just remind the children not to eat it!
- Add bits and bobs such as glitter, tiny beads (not with young children), sequins or porridge for added interest. Especially great if wanting something special for Christmas or if your child loves touching and feeling different textures.
- When I worked with preschoolers, their favourite activity often involved making things with play dough. Let your child add bits and bobs to make their creations. These could include natural things from the garden such as petals and sticks, buttons, lolly sticks, sequins, pipe cleaners, beads, feathers, dried pasta, dried beans, marbles, pom-poms, their favourite small world toys, stones, birthday candles, gems, sea shells….the list is endless just like the fun! Just be careful to supervise your child if using tiny objects.
- Instead of the recipe above just mix corn flour and water to make a gloopy dough. I tend to put this on to a tray so it doesn’t go everywhere. Let your child make trails in it with their fingers as it is great for fine motor control.
- Marshmallow play dough is awesome! Just add marshmallows (about 6 large ones), a little oil, food coloring and 3 tablespoons of cornflour to a bowl and pop into the microwave for about 30 seconds. Children could theoretically eat this so this is great for those who put everything in their mouths but it does get sticky, add more cornflour to the table.
- Add different tools to extend their play such as tongs, cooker cutters, rolling pins, spoons, plastic knives, rollers, cake tins, garlic press, potato mashers, moulds and spatulas.
I absolutely love play dough and the homemade types are far better than the expensive shop bought ones.
OH THE JOYS OF LIVING IN THE OLD HOUSE IN THE SHIRES.