There are so many different things you can do with play dough that will interest children for hours. Even children in vacation care programs loved making and expressing themselves with play dough.

Uncooked play dough doesn’t last as long as the cooked version, however the children can take a greater role in its preparation. Here are two great recipes that children can help to make.

Uncooked Play Dough

2 cups of plain flour
4 tablespoons of 'cream of tartar'
2 tablespoons of cooking oildoughCredit: Image by ghirson
1 cup of salt
2 cups of warm water
food colouring

Combine all the ingredients together in a bowl. Mix and knead until the play dough reaches a good consistency. It should be smooth and pliable.

Microwave Play Dough

2 cups of plain flour
1 teaspoon of 'cream of tartar'
1 tablespoon of cooking oil
1 cup of salt
2 cups of water
food colouring

Combine all the ingredients together in a microwave safe bowl and mix well. Cook uncovered for 4 – 5 minutes on medium/high, stirring halfway through.


  • Shape letters and numbersStraws
  • Press into stencils
  • Create snakes, snails and other animals
  • Make pizzas
  • Make play dough people and name all the body parts as they are added
  • Plait long, thin play dough sausages together
  • Add essence to make the play dough smell beautiful
  • Add different materials such as sand, glitter or buttons to create textured play dough
  • Use play dough or cookie cutters to make shapes
  • Create funny faces using the play dough
  • Add toys such as plastic dinosaurs or toy cars (that can be easily cleaned)
  • Use straws or paddle pop sticks to make a birthday cake. Count them, add and subtract them or group them according to colour or sizeCookie cutters
  • Laminate some cards with pictures and names of 2D shapes on them that the children can use as a guide
  • Roll balls and make a nest to put them in
  • Hide objects in the dough for the children to find
  • Use rolling pins as well as plastic knives and forks to flatten, cut and poke the play dough

Take photos of your child’s creations and create a simple book on the different activities they have done. If your child is old enough, they could make this book themselves! Play dough is so versatile and can be used to develop children’s skills in an interesting and fun way.