Gemma’s No-Cook Sensory Playdough!

Before lockdown, we had been exploring our creativity and imagination using playdough at OSCAR. Many children of ALL AGES enjoyed using playdough during their time at after school care. There was so much interest and excitement shown by our children that I would share my recipe with our whanau and friends of our community.

Here is my special playdough recipe that I have been using for the past two decades, throughout my teaching career.


· 6 cups flour (this will make a double batch of dough)

· 4 Tbsps. Of cream of tartar

· 1 cup salt

· 1/2 cup of cooking oil

· 4-5 cups of hot water (add in at least 4 cups then up to 1 additional cup a bit at a time until the dough feels just right)

· Food Colouring Options (pre-packaged food colouring) or paint. Add more colour for a brighter effect - this is optional

· Essential oils - this too is optional, just a few drops will do!


1. In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients together.

2. Add the colouring and oils to the hot water.

3. Pour colouring, cooking oil and hot water and mix with a heavy duty or wooden spoon. Add more water or oil to if playdough is too dry or sticky. Continue to do this until you have your desired consistency.

4. Remove playdough from bowl and knead until ingredients are well combined. It’s a great time to add the essential oil near the end of the kneading process. Add petals, seeds, herbs, leaves or natural confetti if desired.

5. If playdough is still sticky, sprinkle flour onto a flat surface and continue to roll and knead the playdough and flour together.

6. Time to play and explore! Using a variety of resources such as stones, pinecones, buttons, twigs, ice block sticks, pompoms, cutters, rolling pins, can make it a more exciting experience for some children (and adults). The sky’s your limit!

7. Enjoy!

There are many benefits of exploring playdough for children of ALL AGES!

· Fine motor skill development

· Calming and soothing

· Encourages creativity

· Enhances hand-eye coordination

· Improves social skills

· Supports literacy and numeracy

· It promotes fun away from technology!

We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing – George Bernard Shaw

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