Play Advice · Sensory Play · Small Manipulatives

How To Do Play Dough

Ask yourself the following (extremely very important) questions

  • Do you want to have your children play creatively?
  • Do you struggle with big messy activities?
  • Do you wish an activity would keep your child’s attention for more than 5 minutes?
  • Does play dough with your children intimidate you?

If you answered yes to any of these you have come to the right place! I’m going to teach you how to make your own Play Dough Kit that will make set up, play time and clean up such a breeze you will want to have play dough be part of your every day playtime! First you will need to collect some fun sensory items for the kit.

Play dough play items:

  • pipe cleaners
  • jewels
  • foam pieces
  • beads
  • sticks
  • google eyes
  • tooth picks
  • feathers
  • popsicle sticks
  • marbles

Anything durable and easy to clean is a great addition to your play dough sensory items. Start by thinking of things you could make a critter with or a home.


Now that your have all your items place them in easy to reach into containers. This is really important because it looks inviting AND it will make clean up easier. Put all these goodies on the table and add the play dough…and a child or two.

This is open ended play so my girls just got busy doing whatever their hearts desired. My oldest took the jewels and buried them in her play dough. Then she took the stick and went digging for them. (look at that perfect pencil grip)


My 2 year old made a porcupine. One with some jewels and A LOT of googly eyes.


If you want you and your child can decide what you want to make. Today we worked on shapes. We added one stick at a time and talked about the name of the shape.

We also did a snake chasing a mouse, worked on some patterns and a halloween monster! All in all we were at this for an hour, easy.


TIP: If play dough stresses you out one way to make it easier is to stick with one color. We make a big home made batch and keep it white for the first few plays. Then we add a few different drops of color to a few balls of dough and continue the play. I admit,  I HATE when my girls mix up all the colors of the dough I bought. For some reason I don’t mind if it is our home made one, because it all seems like part of the process.

TIP: Does play dough stress you out because of the little pieces everywhere? Make it at home. I swear our homemade dough doesn’t crumble like the store bought. Plus I add coconut oil to it and it makes our hands soft, and some essential oils so it smells delish…I digress. Check out the recipe here!

Then when your done have your child help you place each item back in the right bowl. This is a VERY important part of the process. It teaches your child responsibility, sequence of events, sorting and strengthens small motor skills. Even my 2 year old is expected to help, and she actually enjoys it. She is always in charge of the “googee eye” and sticks.

After your child/children have sorted the mess throw each bowl into its own plastic snack bag. Then throw all of the baggies, and the play dough, into a gallon sized bag. Now you have your very own play dough kit. You can keep this stashed in the pantry for a quick relief when you need some quiet play. Add to the sensory items when you can. Also don’t feel like you have to use every item for every play!

There will be a mess, even with this kit. You will have to wipe off the table and probably do a quick spot sweep but I really believe all the happiness and learning my girls get out of the play session is worth the 4 minute clean up!

One thought on “How To Do Play Dough

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