By Small Talk Speech Pathology

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Play dough - homemade & made with LOVE!

We all love the squishy, comforting feeling of play dough and so do kids!

Play dough is a FUN filled activity for everyone and kids love it even more if the adults can get creative along with them and play with them.  Play dough is an inexpensive activity that can occupy kids for hours on end!

This is a simple no cook play dough recipe which you can make within minutes.   

  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ cup salt
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • natural or food colouring (eg. beetroot, turmeric powder), optional
Note:  Increase the above amounts two or three times for more play dough which can be divided and coloured differently.


1.  In a bowl mix all dry ingredients. 

2.  Add oil, liquid colouring and boiling water (warn kids if they are helping!) and stir until it all comes together.

3.  Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it until it becomes smooth. If the playdough is still too hot to touch, leave to cool a bit. Divide into several portions and add different colouring few drops at the time to each. Knead well into the playdough.

4.  Store in an airtight container after play time.  It will dry out quickly otherwise.
Last step, but not the least, have fun and play with your kids (for a little while)! It’s very therapeutic for adults, too, as you can see in the picture below !

More play dough making tips:
  • For a textured play dough, add some glitter, dried lavender or sand.
  • Add a few drops of natural cooking essence like orange, peppermint or almond for a nice smell, but omit if that will tempt small kids into eating the playdough – it IS natural, but way too salty.
  • If the kids manage to eat some, don’t be alarmed, it won’t hurt them, they’ll just be very thirsty!
  • Be alarmed if they eat commercial playdough – it is full of chemicals, with a weird sweet smell.
  • Once the playdough starts to smell rancid, dries out or gets very dirty, it’s time to make another batch.

In addition to being a sensory, manipulative medium for children and assisting with the development of fine motor skills - 
play dough is brilliant for building language skills.

When playing with play dough, try using the following words:
Play dough Nouns:
knife, rolling pin, cutting board, cookie cutter, plate, circle, square, triangle, heart

Play dough Verbs:
cutting, rolling, squeezing, squishing, pulling, slicing, chopping
Play dough Adjectives:
sticky, soft, hard, smooth, rough, round

Play dough is another great activity to talk about concepts such as colours, shapes and sizes.
eg. "Let's make a small green star each". "Then we can try a big red square".  You can even theme your play dough sessions to extend your child's vocabulary further eg. baking, making facial expressions based on feelings, or occasions like Christmas, Easter etc.

Have fun and get creative!


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