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All Natural Playdough Recipe and Activity Ideas

Playdough is so versatile for all age groups. Have you noticed when your children are playing with playdough, you also can't keep your hands off of it? The effects of squeezing, stretching, rolling and pummeling the dough can be so calming, therapeutic and great for stress relief.

This month we featured an all natural scented playdough by our friends Dough Perfect in all of the March boxes and adding an essential oil aroma to the dough was perfect to incorporate a stress relieving, sensory play item. 

Here is one of our favorite all natural playdough recipes, should you need an activity to do on a cold, rainy or Sunday afternoon:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 3/4 cup salt
  • 2 cups lukewarm water
  • 2 tablespoons of oil (vegetable, olive or coconut all work)
  • Food coloring to add some color to your dough (we like Wilton brand but we also have used beet root or tumeric dissolved in water for a more natural coloring option)
  • Essential oil of your choice (lavender, orange, etc..) to add a scent
  • Large ziplock bag

1. Stir together the flour, salt and cream of tartar in a large cooking pot

2. Add water and oil to your mixture 

3. Cook the dough over medium heat, stirring constantly and ensuring the dough is not sticking too much to the pot

4. Eventually the dough will form into a ball and stick together

5. Remove your dough from the pot and place the ball in a ziplock bag

6. Add your coloring and essential oil to the bag (the more color the more brighter your dough will appear)

7. Knead the dough, while inside the bag until all the color is incorporated in the dough

8. Store the playdough in a tightly concealed container and it should last you up to 3 months!

*remember you can cut the dough in 4 quarters and change up the colors as this recipe will make a good 4 jars worth


Playdough Activity Ideas

The use of playdough has many benefits including but not limited to; enhancing fine motor skills, fostering creative learning, providing stress relief, supports literacy skills and enhances eye hand coordination skills. We have rounded up some of our favorite play ideas that can be used for children 6+ but also can be modified for preschool aged children.

Incorporating playdough when learning more complex math equations can be fun and much more engaging. Try teaching fractions and allow your children to cut the pieces with a plastic knife while understanding basic math concepts. This of course can be modified to teach simple counting, addition and subtraction.

Try excavating dinosaurs from playdough using tweezers or tongs, creating an engaging activity full of fun sensory and fine motor play. Pair this activity with your child's favorite dinosaur fact book, learning about each critter that has been excavated!
Build 3D shapes using toothpicks or twigs and playdough. Create small balls for the attachment pieces, encouraging your children to roll the dough with their fingers and then attach the twigs/toothpicks to create 3D shapes. You can create cubes, prisms and cylinders. Take it up a notch and your children can model their own unique creations!
The erupting volcano experiment never gets old! Take a plastic or styrofoam cup, cut the bottom out and wrap the cup in playdough. Place the cup upside down, fill it with some vinegar, baking soda and food coloring and watch your volcano explode!
Create your tanagram puzzle in dough or simply learn about shapes by pressing each piece in the dough!

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