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Playdough is fantastic. The creative possibilities are endless. It also has many different benefits for helping children to develop various skills. Playdough will help develop:

  • fine motor skills (helps develop pencil grip)
  • control over large muscles (helps develop coordination)
  • creative expression
  • an outlet for expressing emotion
  • imagination and dramatic play
  • self esteem
  • language skills (discussing what you are doing/what they have made)
  • colour recognition
  • regulating emotions (playing with playdough can be very calming for children – and adults!)
  • sensory awareness (touch, add scents like lavender or lemon to playdough to encourage smell)
  • social skills such as sharing and cooperation when playing in a group
You can either make or buy playdough. The bought playdough tends to last longer but if you have a little person who still likes to explore new things with their taste buds, you are probably better off making your playdough.
You can either make cooked or uncooked playdough. The cooked one tends to last longer but the uncooked one is great for making with kids. Keep your playdough in an airtight container.
These recipes come from Department of Health Western Australia Play and Learn Program. There are also other dough recipes on this page such as gluten free playdough.
Cooked Playdough
1 cup plain flour
1/2 cup salt
1 Tablespoon oil
1-2 Tablespoons cream tartar (1 T for firmer dough 2 T for softer)
1 cup water with food colouring added
Mix all ingredients in a large saucepan. Cook gently over medium heat for 3-5 minutes, stirring continuously until the dough becomes thick and leaves the sides of the pan almost clean. Cool and knead until smooth.
Uncooked Playdough
1 cup plain flour
1/2 cup salt
1 Tablespoon oil
1-2 Tablespoons cream of tartar
1 cup boiling water with food colouring added
Mix together dry ingredients and oil, then quickly add boiling water stirring quickly until dough thickens. Knead until smooth adding extra flour if sticky.
You can do so much with playdough. Here are some suggestions of things to add:
  • paddle pop sticks (make great pretend candles)
  • patty cases and baking trays
  • cutters/rollers and cutters
  • add some rice or small pasta to change consistency
  • small plastic animals
  • cars – make interesting patterns in dough
  • fresh or plastic flowers for decorations
Do you have any other suggestions that we haven’t thought of? We’d love to hear them!

One response »

  1. I just found these great ideas for using playdough. If you are looking for some inspiration, check it out!


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