The best play dough is home-made play dough. It can be a fun comprehension exercise to make the dough with the children too, but be careful of the boiling water. A no baking recipe for kids!


  • 32 oz plain flour
  • 16 oz salt
  • 2 tablespoons (1 oz) oil
  • 4 tablespoons (2 oz) creme of tartar
  • food coloring
  • 32 oz boiling water


  1. Mix all the dry ingredients together.
  2. Add the oil.
  3. Add the food coloring to the water.
  4. Gradually stir in the boiling water.
  5. Knead and knead and knead!

Play Dough Learning Experiences

Play Dough is an engaging, fun, fine motor activity that children love. Amongst its many benefits, play dough develops:

  • Muscle strength
  • Dexterity
  • Exploration
  • Texture awareness
  • Creativity
  • Ability to express emotions
  • Role play and dramatic play
  • Receptive language
  • Sharing
  • Conversations
  • Planning and designing

As a manipulative activity – pounding, squeezing, punching, poking, twisting, and rolling – it is a great outlet for tension.

Children are also exposed to math and science concepts:

  • Mass
  • Weight (include weighing scales)
  • Size concepts
  • Measuring ingredients when cooking the dough
  • Experimenting with colors – e.g. a ball of blue dough kneaded with a ball of yellow dough makes green dough
  • Sense of smell by adding different essences – e.g. peppermint, lemon, pineapple or herbs like dried mint and lavender

I like to use dough on a sensory table accompanied by a variety of other textured and tactile accessories. The texture of the dough can be varied by adding such materials as rice grains, sawdust or natural materials, like acorns. Dough activities can be provided within the indoor or outdoor learning environments. Children can be either all sitting or all standing at a table.

The children can use a range of implements and other provisions when playing with dough, such as:

  • Knives
  • Hammers
  • Moulds
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Match sticks
  • Rolling pins
  • Oven trays
  • Scissors
  • Plastic plates
  • Foil pie plates
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Googly eyes
  • Buttons
  • Beads

Playing with dough provides many opportunities for conversations between children and with teachers. Sit with the children, listen and talk to them about what they are doing. There are so many language possibilities; for example: hard, soft, stretch, smooth, fat, thin, long, short or create stories. Children’s dough creations can be baked and used as gifts.