What an incredible substance playdough is!

Did you know playdough had been around since the 1950’s? I am talking about the Play-Doh, buy from the shops kind, so imagine how long the old school make it at home kind has been around!

Playdough is not only a kid fave but has some serious learning benefits as well. There are  fabulous benefits of allowing kids to play with play dough and the many learning opportunities that happen along the way!

Playdough aids the development and exploration of children’s fine motor skills As part of simple, tactile play It is SERIOUSLY amazing…it can be squished, pulled, rolled, flattened, chopped, cut, raked, punctured, poked and shredded! Each one of these different actions aids fine motor development in a different way, not to mention hand-eye coordination, cause and effect and general concentration. This is just with plain old playdough and some keen little fingers and hands……….  And as soon as you add another element to the playdough experience, the list of benefits and creative play possibilities continues to grow!

Some suggestions to create open ended learning and exploring opportunities are:

glass pebbles
toy vehicles
wooden letters and numbers
fabric, netting and ribbons, pipe cleaners, googly eyes, sequins
match sticks, tooth picks, paddle pop sticks

Scissors (kid friendly variety)

toy creatures
rolling pins, pizza cutters
cupcake cases in different sizes and colours
coloured and natural feathers
stones, pine cones, sticks, bark, leaves, gumnuts (a perfect nature experience!)
muffin tins, egg cartons
small cups, plates, plastic knife and spoons
alphabet, number and shape cookie cutters
pasta shapes

containers various shapes and sizes
birthday candles
nuts and screws

cous cous
poppy seeds
sesame seeds
rock salt
glitter glue

Scents and Colours
cocoa powder
food colouring
food flavouring
essential oils
laurndry powder/liquid

Having a wide range of options and additional extras extends on the investigation and play possibilities for your little human, making the experience diverse in its impact to your child’s development. Fine motor skills…tick, investigation and exploration….tick, role playing and language/literacy development…tick, sensory exploration and extension…..tick, maths, science and discovery….tick! All from some flour, oil and water!

The actual act of making the play dough together with your child can lead to lots of open ended questioning and prediction skills. Here we have some solid materials (flour, salt etc) to which we are going to add some liquids (oil, water.) What do you think will happen? What can we make? As an adult initiated opportunity, the experience then turns to being controlled and directed by the child. The child gets to explore and observe the changing state of materials in a hands-on way, and be filled with  and curiosity as the bowl of unrelated ingredients comes together to form a sticky then smooth and squishy ball of dough! We often take these things for granted, but in the eyes and hands of a child that’s quite some transformation and THEY have been a part of its creation!

Following a recipe and instructions, counting out cups, stirring and mixing and just being able to spend time on a collaborative project with an adult are all meaningful and important experiences too!

Here is our easy go to recipe for playdough:


  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1 cup salt
  • 1 tbs oil
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 2 drops liquid food colouring


  • STEP 1 Combine plain flour and salt.
  • STEP 2 Add water, food colouring and oil. Mix until ingredients are combined.
  • STEP 3 Knead well.
  • STEP 4 If consistency is too wet add a little plain flour.

Give it a go! Any adult who has had a turn of the sweet squishy stuff, can definitely confirm that playdough has a calming effect! Its nature is to sooth and relax and has been a proven stress reliver, not only in children but adults alike. It can be extremely therapeutic!

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