Tag Archives: playdough

Playdough Play Time

Playdough is a staple of childhood.  It always amazes me how long it can keep a child’s interest, squishing, pounding, rolling, and cutting.  I personally prefer homemade Classic Playdough, because it’s cheaper, better smelling, a bit softer and easier for little hands to command, and I have a little less to worry about when my son snitches another pinch to eat. (Should I worry about the fact that he’ll often turn his nose up at the dinners I make, but will gladly eat playdough?)

Rolling out the dough and using your favorite cutters is always fun, but playdough is all about limitless creativity, so here are some ideas that might help you shake things up a bit.

  • Add a shaker bottle of glitter.  Cover some of the holes so it doesn’t come out too quickly!  Let  your kiddos sprinkle it on as “cookie sprinkles” or knead it in for magical glitter playdough.
  • Supply “loose parts” like pipe cleaners, beads, googly eyes, toothpicks, even accessories from Mr. Potato Head!  Pushing these pieces into playdough not only encourages a lot of creative fun, but it also builds the same fine motor strength and control needed for writing.
  • Bring in the scissors!  Kids love to cut playdough!  It helps build cutting skills in a non-threatening, fun way. 
  • Extruders like these are a blast to play with and they build that hand strength as well.  (As I mentioned before, if your kids have been frustrated by these in the past, try it again with the Classic Playdough.)  If you need an impromptu extruder, try using a garlic press!

What is your favorite way to use playdough?
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Filed under Create, fine motor skills, Learning through Play and Experience

Fruity Scented Kool-Aid Playdough

I love cinnamon scented playdough, which I listed here, but I also love the fruity scent of Kool-Aid scented playdough!  Adding an extra appeal to the senses could hardly be easier!  Start with the Classic Playdough Recipe.  Add a packet of Kool-Aid to the water before adding it to the pan.  Ta-da!  Simple, right?  Now, if you already have a batch of playdough made up, you can also knead the powder right into the dough.  It takes a bit of time to get it mixed through, but because it hasn’t been cooked, the scent may actually be stronger that way.  Just be sure that the powder has been worked in completely.  You may even want to let it sit overnight to be sure that the powder has been fully absorbed. 

I recently kneaded some grape Kool-Aid (OK, it was Flavor-Aid, I’m a cheap skate!) into some leftover glitter playdough.  The color intensified and the smell was fantastic!  Some of the children even watched the transformation and were excited by it, asking for more Kool-Aid to mix into other playdough batches.

Adding a scent to your playdough takes a tactile sensory activity and adds another sense, making it multi-sensory.  It is appealing to the children, literally inviting the children to come explore as the scent wafts across the room!  It is also a great way to extend a familiar activity.  In addition to sensory development, playdough play enhances creativity and fine motor strength.

More from the “Exploring the Arts through Our Senses” unit here!

For more food-themed activities, click here!


Filed under Create, fine motor skills, Learning through Play and Experience, Recipes - Nonedible, sensory activity

Snow Dough Snow Men

If you’re itching to build a snowman with your little ones, but you’re local climate doesn’t support such an activity, whip up some of your own snow dough.  This is just a spin on the Classic Playdough Recipe.  Follow that recipe but add about 1/4-1/2 cup white tempera powder to increase the whiteness and the fluffiness (or simply omit any color, and you’ll end up with white-ish dough).  Add some glitter as well for real appeal.  The final product is a sparkly white playdough that can be rolled into snowmen, or manipulated into other snowy creations. Provide pipe cleaners and beads for the snowmen’s noses, eyes, and buttons.  You might also consider other items like yarn, fabric, what-have-you!  Inserting these kinds of accessories builds fine motor skills and often encourages use of the pincer grasp, critical for budding writers.  Manipulating playdough enhances fine motor strength while also fostering creativity.  Enjoy some fun in the snow….dough!

For more wintry activities, click here!

Snowman graphic by Mr Basmt.


Filed under Create, fine motor skills, Learning through Play and Experience

Scented Playdough–Cinnamon Spice!


If you want great scented playdough, that smells like an actual, natural food scent, try this one out!  It’s probably my favorite scented playdough, in large part because it makes your whole room smell like a bakery!  In fact, you’ll have to remind your children that in spite of the great scent, it is still not for eating! 

Incorporating scented playdough engages the sense of smell along with the tactile experience of traditional playdough, making it a multi-sensory activity.  The added scent also enhances the dramatic play themes that often work their way into playdough activities, as children may begin making apple pie, cinnamon rolls, or their favorite cake.  Additionally, playdough enhances creative and small motor skills.

Cinnamon Spice Playdough

2 cups flour

1 cup salt

4 tsp cream of tartar or alum

5 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp cloves

2 cups water

2 Tbsp. oil

(Food coloring if desired.  I like to leave it a natural cinnamon color.)

Combine the dry ingredients in a saucepan.  Add the water and oil and mix well.  Cook over medium high heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture begins to thicken and form a stiff ball.  Remove from heat and knead when cooled enough to handle.  Store in a ziplock bag when cooled to keep from drying. 

Feel free to play with this recipe and make it your own!  In fact, please let us know here how you were able to make it better!

For more food-themed activities, click here!

Here are other playdough posts you may be interested in:

Glitter Playdough

Classic Playdough Recipe

Playing Around with Playdough


Photo courtesy of YappsCotta.


Filed under Create, fine motor skills, Learning through Play and Experience, Recipes - Nonedible, sensory activity

Glitter Playdough!



I don’t think I’ve met a child yet who isn’t intrigued by a little sparkle.  And as they see it, there is no such thing as “too much”.  Switch up your playdough routine a bit by adding glitter.  It’s about as simple as it sounds.  Start with a new or old batch of the Classic Playdough Recipe, and knead in some glitter.  (I like to use iridescent craft glitter, just because it’s so versatile.)  If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you can even have the children help you work in the sparkle.  Shake a bit onto their pile of dough and have them roll it in or show them how to knead.DSCN2371  (Keep tabs on your bottle of glitter though, or you’ll find a mountain of it on someone’s  tray.) 

Working with playdough not only invites creativity, but it builds fine motor strength.  The sensory experience can also be useful for soothing a restless or upset child.  (Kneading in particular is great for working out frustration and stress – for teachers and parents too!)  So bust out your craft glitter and turn your last batch of playdough into something new again!


Filed under Create, fine motor skills, Learning through Play and Experience, Recipes - Nonedible, sensory activity, supplies

Playing Around with Playdough

DSCN2322Classic Playdough is a staple of childhood! Not only is it fun and creative, but working that dough builds fine motor strength and control. These skills are just as critical to developing young writers  as is learning the ABCs.  Pushing objects into playdough creates a new type of sculpture and also presents a new challenge to children as it requires them to use the pincer grasp and push at the same time  (a skill similar to writing with a pencil).  I’ve found that preschoolers love to scatter their creations withtoothpicks, pipecleaners, googley-eyes, feathers and beads.   DSCN2317Recently, we experimented with a new kind of “push-in”.  I gathered accessories from a “Cooties” game as well as our Mr. Potato Head.  The kiddos had a great time coming up with all kinds of creatures.   DSCN2325(It appears I have a budding Picasso on my hands with that face arrangement!)


 Find the Classic Playdough recipe here!

Where do you sit on The Spectrum of Preschool Arts and Crafts?

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Filed under Create, fine motor skills, Learning through Play and Experience, sensory activity

Birdseed Playdough

It seems like an obvious recipe, and indeed it is, but here’s a picture recipe in case it helps:


Start with the Classic Playdough Recipe.


Add birdseeds (or your favorite assortment of seeds).  You can knead the seeds in after the dough is made, or place the seeds in a bowl on the same table as the playdough and let the little ones do the dirty work.

Some of you might think this is a waste of good playdough, but it actually creates a new sensory experience.  In fact, if you let the children play with the regular playdough for a few days, and then introduce the seeds, the change in texture will be more pronounced (and you might feel a little better about getting your miles out of the dough).  As the children work the dough and build fine motor strength they also pick up new vocabulary (with guidance of course).  Soon they’re using words like gritty, bumpy, smooth, and texture.  The children may even begin identifying the seeds that they recognize.  Some children may want to pretend to plant the seeds in the dough, which gives you the opportunity to talk more about what the seeds need to grow.

So it’s not just about changing it up, though it certainly does that, and I’m not just crazy, though that could also be debated. 

For more Seeds & Plants activities, click here.

Above photos by chrissi and adlie.


Filed under Create, fine motor skills, language activity, Learning through Play and Experience, Recipes - Nonedible, sensory activity