Top 10 Playdough Tips and Tricks!

Posted: 29th December 2015

Alexandra Kitchener from Mungo and Maisie apologised for this “Not business related” set of tips but she is absolutely right – push the children, nieces, nephews or grandchildren out of the way and indulge is some therapeutic “Dough Time” (see tip 9).

If you are looking for an activity over the holidays (and beyond) which is great for both children and grown ups, raid your cupboards and make some playdough.  As yet, I haven’t found a grown up who is unable to resist touching or squeezing the smooth malleable dough. It’s a great way to get everyone together – with grown ups helping little ones to make animals, people or food, and little ones providing cakes, sweets and treats to be ‘tasted’ by grown ups!

  1. Find a good playdough recipe and hang on to it

The best ever playdough recipe shared with me,  was one for a cooked
playdough and it has never failed me.

All you need is:
2 cups of flour,
2 cups water
1 cup salt
2 tablespoons cooking oil
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
food colouring

Simply place the ingredients into a large non-stick saucepan and mix
carefully ensuring the flour and water are mixed together. Place the pan
on a medium heat and stir until cooked (about 5 minutes). Remove from
the pan and place on a slightly floured worktop to prevent sticking.
Allow to cool for a little while and knead. Once it has sufficiently
cooled, play can begin or place into an airtight container until needed.

2. Spice up your dough!

Cinnamon, ginger, cocoa powder, food flavourings, tumeric, essential
oils, glitter, sequins, seeds, beads, and even tiny pebbles can be added
to the playdough to make a multi-sensory experience. Always check for
allergies, intolerances etc before adding scents, flavours and oils.

3. Tease the senses

Add contrasting flavourings, scents and essences to the colour of the
playdough – e.g. red food colouring and orange essence! This will really
get children talking – especially if you ask them before they start
playing what they think it will smell like.

4. Let their imaginations run wild!

Provide lots of additional extras for play with the play dough – it
doesn’t just have to be cookie cutters and rolling pins! Add googly
eyes, lollipop sticks, pasta shapes, sticks, candles, pebbles, cake
cases, toy vehicles, small character toys, straws, twigs, pine cone,
feathers – anything!

5. Have a theme for your playdough play

Fancy a sweet shop? Make sweet and chocolate coloured scented dough, utilize empty (and clean) sweet wrappers from sweet tins and tubs for wrappers and provide lollipop sticks, small cake cases, jars, labels, make small paper bags, labels,  some money and ta-dah! – your very own sweet shop! Perhaps you fancy creating a garden centre, an ice cream shop or even a birthday party.

6. Look, smell, touch – but don’t eat!

Teach children that playdough is a three-sense experience – they can
look, touch  and smell but can’t eat – no matter how tasty it smells!

7. Learn while you play

Playdough  is a great sensory medium for learning. It’s great for
developing muscles in the hand and fingers (you may have heard little
ones talking about doing dough disco at school and nursery). Talking
whilst playing about the movements they are making is a great way to
introduce new vocabulary, e.g. squeeze, squish, long, longer, longest.
Count how many beads or candles they are placing in the dough or roll
out long lengths of dough to form letters.

8. Cheat a little

Off the shelf ready to make dough mixes for bread and pizzas also make a great and quick playdough. Simply follow the instructions to make the
dough (up until it mentions popping it in the oven) for your little ones
to let them create their own breads, rolls etc. It also smells great too.

9. Have your very own dough for you

Had a stressful day? Make some playdough with a few drops of lavender or your favourite essential oils, knead, pummel, bash and squeeze your way to relieve your stress.Or if you fancy, use Baby Oil instead of cooking oil for a soft smooth dough which is great for the skin too!
Cloud dough is another calming  and sensory playdough. Super soft and
silky, all you need is 8 cups plain flour (all purpose) and 1 cup
vegetable/ olive or baby oil (avoid baby oil if your child likes to
taste things) and 2 tbsps powder paint to colour if required. Just mix
together and you have the softest, silkiest dough which can be shaped
and formed like sand.

10. Let it dry!

Finally, should the inevitable happen, to remove from the carpet, allow
to dry completely and then use a stiff brush or knife to remove and
vacuum loose particles.

For more playdough ideas and recipes visit our blog

Alexanda is a former Early Years Teacherwho loved making and playing
with playdough on a weekly basis for her class and went on to found her
own children’s toy and gift store, Mungo and Maisie in 2012.  Based in
Herefordshire and online at Mungo and Maisie specialise in children’s pretend play and educational toys.  Alexandra’s favourite part of her job is choosing and testing the products when deciding to stock them.