My Favorite Play Doughs

Let's face it, playing with play dough and getting messy using it, could be the best part of being a preschool teacher.   I am pretty sure all of the kids love it too!!  Even better than the fun you have with it, are all of the benefits that you get from giving it to your students.  While they are squeezing and rolling and pinching and pulling, they are gaining fine motor strength that they will need for writing, drawing and cutting.  You can make letters and numbers with it, using it in dramatic play, and use it when teaching science.  You can add things to it for textures and change the colors and scents to create all kinds of fun doughs.  below are the recipes I use the most in my classroom.

Play dough cakes make with old dried out play dough.

Play dough recipes

Black glitter dough-(some call it Galaxy Dough)
  •  1 cup of salt
  •  2 cups of flour
  •  1 1/2 cups of boiling water (important that it is straight from kettle)-add black food coloring to the water
  •  2 T oil
  •  2 T cream of tartar 
  •  a few drops of glycerin to add extra shine and stretch (this is a recommendation I found on Pinterest-works great!)
  •  silver or purple glitter
Mix it all of the above ingredients in a bowl until it starts to come together. Knead the dough for a few minutes and add the colouring and glitter. It will be very hot at first! It comes together beautifully and will last for months in a zip-loc bag in the cupboard.

Basic Cooked Play Dough
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1 tablespoon cream of tartar
  • Food coloring
  • Saucepan
  • 1 cup flour

Combine water, oil, salt, cream of tartar, and food coloring in a saucepan and heat until warm.  (Best to add the food coloring to the water ad then add the other ingredients.)  Remove from heat and add flour.

Stir, then knead until smooth. The cream of tartar makes this dough last 6 months or longer (in a germy classroom I do not suggest keeping it this long!), so resist the temptation to omit this ingredient if you don't have it on hand.  Store this dough in an airtight container or a Ziploc freezer bag.  I use this recipe the most and always have it in the classroom.

Kool-Aid Play Dough

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup salt
  • 1 package of Kool-Aid
  • 1 cup hot water
Combine ingredients and mix.  May color the children's hands depending on the Kool-Aid!  Blue is extra strong most of the time.

Cloud Play Dough

  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 2 cups baking soda
  • 1 and 1/2 cups water
Combine all ingredients in pan. Bring to a boil, then pour onto plate and cover with a damp cloth. Place in refrigerator for 1 hour then knead for 3-4 minutes.  This dough really feels like a cloud and the children will love it.  It is so soft!  Leave it white and call it clouds!

Play Dough for Crafts
  • 1 cup of salt
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 1 cup of water
Mix and knead all of the above ingredients and it is ready to go.  This dough is best for making projects like beads or things cut out of cookie cutters that you might use during a holiday project.  I use it to make shapes that we then use for ornaments, hand prints, and other presents that we make.  After creating a shape out of this dough, it can be baked for 30-40 minutes at 325 degrees.  One the dough cools it can be painted.  If you are using cookie cutters, I recommend using a straw to make a hole somewhere int he project so that it can be strung.  This is a very strong dough once it is baked.  It can be baked until the dough is golden brown.

I will post more as we have more pictures to go with the posts of each dough!