Play dough fun

Duration: any

Age: toddler, child, parent

Skill for Bub: Muscle builder, Hand/eye coordination, Just for fun, Mind builder


Make your own play dough with the kids and enjoy hours of fun.

playing with play dough

Your house is too small, it’s raining outside and the hundreds of dollars worth of kids toys that are strewn all over your home have been declared ‘boring’… Does this sound familiar?

Well, on days like this why don’t you try making your own play dough with the kids. It’s cheap, easy and not too messy to make. Of course once it’s made the kids will have something new to play with… at least for a little while.

What’s so great about play dough?

Play dough is so much more than just coloured gooey stuff that ends up all over the house. It’s actually a great learning experience for children of all ages. It stimulates their senses of touch and smell and sometimes rather unfortunately taste too! Once children are around 18 months old this is not so much of an issue.

By playing with play dough children learn about co ordination, they practise their vital motor skills and they strengthen their muscles as they roll, squeeze, poke, knead and shape the dough into all sorts of things. Best if all, it is great to watch their imaginations run wild as the bake cookies, create animals and so much more.

Basic Suggestions

Put on some play clothes as kids can get pretty grubby in the kitchen and you don’t want to restrict their fun because they are going to get their good clothes dirty.

If you have some time, sit down and play with your child for a while and encourage their creativity. Ask them what they are doing or what they are making and help them along. Use the time to talk and work together on special things.

If the clean up factor is putting you off then try confining the activity to one designated space. A table is probably best and you can always place a sheet of plastic underneath to catch the excess bits. Our advice – ban play dough from heavily carpeted areas.

If they are making a mess on the floor and the drop sheet is proving futile then don’t try and clean up every few minutes. Wait till they are finished and clean up once. If there are still some bits on the floor leave them overnight and vacuum them the next morning when they are dry.

rolling out the dough

Fun things to do

Chef of the future

– make pretend biscuits, cakes and entire meals. Many toy stores sell cookie cutters for play dough or just use the ones in the kitchen drawer. They work fabulously well too. Just wash them well before you use them again. Try using a cardboard box or a large ice cream container as a pretend oven. You can also let them decorate their creations with things like leaves, shells, flowers, confetti, marbles and dried small size pasta.

– make great jewellery pieces from play dough such as necklaces, bracelets, crowns and rings. These will look extra special if you mix different coloured dough together.

Painted models

– if your child makes something extra special why not keep it aside and give it a few days to dry. Once it’s completely dry help them paint it with water based paints.

– have a look at the play dough accessories available in toy and department stores. There are so many, and most are quite inexpensive. You may like to buy a few accessories and mix them with some old stuff from your utensils drawer.

Basic Recipe

There are many recipes available for Play Dough but this one seems to work every time. It’s best to play with it while it is warm but it’ll also keep pretty well in an air tight container for a few days. Of course you can buy a tub at your local Kmart if you prefer. Either way they’ll love playing with it.

You will need:

  • 1 cup of flour
  • 1 tbsp of oil
  • 1 cup of water
  • ½ cup of salt
  • 2 tsp of cream of tartar
  • 2 tsp food colouring (optional)
  1. Mix everything together in a saucepan.
  2. Cook it over a medium heat (don’t burn it) stirring and folding over constantly. The mixture will lose its stickiness and will start to gather together in a big blob like pastry does.
  3. Once it does this take it off the stove.
  4. Turn it out into a floured board and knead it until the mixture is smooth.

Handy Hints

We have had a helpful tip from one of our Huggies Club members. She has written to us explaining that instead of cooking the Play Dough in the saucepan she just adds boiling water to the ingredients instead. It keeps just as well and saves you having to do all that stirring. Thanks for the tip!

Another member tip is to make sure that the family pets don’t eat any as the high salt content can make dogs extremely ill and nobody wants a trip to the vet on account of such a great fun activity.  Thanks for the tip!