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Play Dough Play

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Location: Indoor
Promotes: Fun & Games
How to play

Play dough is not for eating. Many young children are still finding out about the world by putting things in their mouth. Your first lesson should be simple: Let's just pretend to eat this!

Start with hands and fingers only. Working this way at first will help your child understand how the dough feels and responds. Later you can offer her tools she can use to shape the dough, such as a tongue depressor, butter knife, rolling pin, and cookie cutters. Hot tip: You can use a garlic press to make snakes, noodles, and even hair.

Experiment. Show her how to roll play dough into snakes or balls by using one or two hands and the table surface. Put some dough through a garlic press and see what happens. Or flatten the play dough with a rolling pin and then use cookie cutters to make pretend food like cookies, a birthday cake, pancakes, or pizza.

Learning and Growing

Rolling, patting, and poking the dough strengthens hand and finger muscles and helps promote fine motor development and eye-hand coordination.

What you'll need



  •   Rolling Pin
  •   Sturdy plastic knife or tongue depressor
  •   Potato masher for making impressions
  •   Spatula
  •   Cookie cutters
  •   Garlic press


Everyone's Favorite Play Dough:

  •   3 cups flour
  •   1 1/2 cups salt
  •   2 tablespoons cream of tartar
  •   3 cups water
  •   1/3 cup oil
  •   3 teaspoons food coloring (optional)

Mix all ingredients and cook over low to medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture forms a ball. Remove and knead until dough is soft and has lost its stickiness. Store in an airtight plastic container or bag.


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