Over the last 12 years I have tried many play dough recipes and found two that have become my firm favourites. Working in early years, play dough has been a favourite activity of many of my mindees as well as my own children. It’s so simple and easy to knock up a batch or two and then pop them into an airtight container to re-use often. Play dough activities help work towards many early years targets. With little squeezes and pinches of the dough strengthening those fine motor skills. It can be incorporated into early years goals such as shapes, colours and of course imaginary/creative role play. Mine love to make play dough cakes and often use the dough to play with other small world figures to create an imaginary desert, farm or ocean.
*These recipes do contain salt so please monitor little ones to make sure none is consumed, and wash their hands after use. It’s really not tasty so mine have never been interested in eating the dough!*
The first homemade play dough recipe is a no bake one. You can always add in a drop of glycerin (optional) if you like a sheen to the dough. Then in with the boiling water, you can add in any food colouring (gel preferably) to colour the dough. Alternatively we also like to have scented dough so add in peppermint or vanilla. The different dough shade and scents make for a different sensory activity each time.
Pop all the dried ingredients into a bowl and then add in increments the boiling water (mixed with your chosen colour) Bring it together carefully adding the water slowly. Once you have a ball, knead it for a few minutes on a slightly floured surface. This dough has a great stretchy soft consistency.
The other favourite dough of ours is a cooked play dough that tends to last a little longer than the no cook dough. So if you’re wanting a longer lasting dough this could be more for you. Again add in gel colouring or even scents such as fresh lavender or rosemary. We have even added in cocoa powder with the water to make a chocolate scented gruffalo homemade play dough.
Put all the ingredients in a saucepan and cook on a slight heat whilst stirring until all the mixture comes together to form a play dough consistency and scrape excess mixture from around the pan into the mixture. Pop in any added extra colouring /scents into the mixture and then empty dough out on to a board and knead for a few mins until smooth.
Optional to add – glycerin (a few drops for sheen), food colouring, essential oils or herbs.
Please do let us know if you try these recipes and how your little one played with them.