Monday, 13 January 2014

Valentine's Day Theme Sensory Dough Invention and Play Ideas

Yesterday we decided to experiment with making our own type of dough to play with. 

How we made it:

We mixed 2 parts corn flour (about a cup here), red powder bath colouring (we use Acorn Kids products - contact me to find out more, but red food colouring would work - just might stain clothing etc.) with 3/4 parts moisturizing body lotion (we used vanilla scent, but rose scent might be nice for Valentine's theme),then we added about 1 part cake flour to make it less sticky. 

How we played with it and what we learnt:

My nearly-2-year-old, Mr 2, enjoys adding all the measured ingredients to the bowl and then mixing together with various implements (eg. Spatula, spade, sticks, cutlery). The powder bath colour worked well as it turned a dramatic red colour as we added the body lotion....We needed a brief pause here to apply lotion to all old mozzie bites and already-healed cuts and scrapes- a very serious task!

I think Mr 2's favorite part of the activity, was adding the cake flour and then transferring the remaining flour, using various implements, to the mixing bowl...the flour holds the same kind of fascination for our Labrador, Moby (see pic), although I think he just wanted to eat it!

Mr 2 then selected the confetti hearts to add to the dough - I was quite keen for reds and purples, but of course Mr 2 wanted blue, so we had all 3 colours.  I emptied the chosen colours onto the floor and we named the heart's colour (blue, red, purple) and size (we had big hearts and baby hearts).  Picking the flat hearts up off the floor was great fine motor pincer grip learning and then pushing them into the dough provides sensory feedback for gentle pushing and forceful pushing ( where the heart disappeared down into the dough).

We cut out a few heart shapes and moulded the dough into animals and cars, but I think play dough still wins here as this dough didn't hold its shape very well.

All that said, it was great making our own recipe and the dough was really soft to play with (and smelled like body lotion)...mmmm!

Other ideas for next time or for you to try at home:

Most play doughs consist of mixtures of cake flour, salt, corn flour, vegetable oil, glycerine, food colouring and various essences and texture elements, so we could still try many other combinations for different sensory rich experiences. See our Pinterest board on for recipes that other people have pinned...

I've seen some recipes for dough that use hair conditioner rather than body lotion, so you could try that too...

Please share your ideas and play dough inventions with us on Facebook (!