Homemade Play Dough
Play dough is a good first modeling material for young children. It’s easy to make, fun to play with, and kids can mold it into anything from letters of the alphabet to miniature landscapes.
- Grades: PreK–K
Small groups can make play dough together, or you can invite individual children to each mix up a batch in their own bowl. Gather together the necessary ingredients and equipment, and place everything on an easy-to-clean surface. After children have put on their smocks, encourage them to tell you what they think is going to happen as they mix up all the ingredients. You may want to provide a picture-chart recipe for them to follow.
Uncooked Play Dough
The following recipe makes enough for one child to play with. Although homemade play dough is made from edible materials, discourage children from eating it.
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 3/4 cup salt
- 3/4 cup water
- food coloring (optional)
With childrens help, mix all ingredients together in a bowl. If using food coloring, add to the water. Knead into a ball. Add more flour if dough is sticky, or water if its crumbly and dry. Homemade play dough can be stored in an airtight plastic bag in the refrigerator for several weeks. Warm to room temperature before using.
Provide plenty of time for children to knead their dough. Make extra flour available for children to sprinkle on their hands if the dough is sticky (a flour shaker encourages them to help themselves) and water if the dough is crumbly or dry (a squirt bottle helps control the amount of water being added).
Children can air-dry items made from the play dough. Thick sculptures will take several days to dry. Invite children to decorate dry objects with markers or tempera paint.