Extra Sensory Holiday Scented Play Dough.

November 3, 2013 in Activities, All by wildandwisdom


Home made play dough is such a simple pleasure.  Grown ups and kids alike can’t help but give it a squidge.  It is quick and easy to make, and you can vary it in endless ways.

Today, I thought I would treat the little guy to a new batch of the squishy sensory stuff as we were a little housebound.

To make things a bit more interesting, and to stimulate the senses, this batch was a kind of aromatherapy holiday inspired dough.  After learning about importance of sensorial activities  in a Montessori setting, this seemed like an ideal variation on the usual play dough theme.


I used the recipe below to make up a nice big batch of dough which I split in half.  I coloured one a light green and added a few drops of peppermint oil.  To the other half, a teaspoon of ground cinnamon and a little red colouring.  Candy canes and cookie dough, it would be a miracle if he didn’t devour the lot!!


Not having had much luck with cookie cutters and rolling pins in the past, I decided to bring some contrasting textures and colours into the mix.  Some natural, some man made, the variety kept him interested for so much longer than I had anticipated.

Play dough is a great tool for fine motor development.  On its own, each squash, squeeze, poke and prod is developing a skill.  The extra elements help to multiply the possibilities of exploration and investigation.  The change in pressure required to poke in a spaghetti stick is different to the pressure required to press in a flat star shape. A bowl of rice behaves differently in little hands to a ball of dough.  Try out the recipe below, and add anything you can find to change up the experience.


2 cups plain flour

1/2 cup salt

2 teaspoons cream of tartar

2 tablespoons oil

1.5 cups boiling water

Mix the flour, salt, cream of tartar and oil together in a bowl.

Add the boiling water and combine with a spoon until a dough forms, add more water slowly if needed to bring all the ingredients together.

Turn the dough out onto a surface and once cool enough to handle, begin to knead for a few minutes to create a smooth bouncy dough.

Divide the dough and colour or scent  using some of the following ideas…




Essential oils, peppermint, orange, lavender…


Ground cloves/nutmeg/mixed spice


Food colouring

Food flavouring

Then raid the cupboards for some textures…

Dried pasta

Dried beans

Dried rice




Paper clips




Cookie cutters