Learn how to make homemade playdough with this easy playdough recipe.
Teachers and parents can use this homemade playdough recipe with playdough mats and other hands-on activities. Hands-on learning leads to more critical thinking, better problem solving, increased information retention, and more authentic understanding. Yet some teachers still prefer outdated rote learning techniques, drilling students with piles of worksheets each day. Why?? There are so many other ways to help children learn!
One thing that isn’t mentioned as much in all the research is that hands-on learning is FUN. Kids love it, it’s motivating, and it makes students want to learn more. So let’s ditch the worksheets and get kids actively engaged in more multi-sensory learning!
I’m going to show you one way to practice letters, numbers, and sight words with a fun totally “hands-on” material: Playdough! Yup, your students are going to love it and they’ll want to practice all day. Today we’re going to learn how to make homemade playdough and how to use it as a teaching tool.
Playdough is always a hit with kids and is a wonderful kinesthetic activity to use with young learners. Today I’m sharing my favorite easy playdough recipe and a few activities I’ve used it with. If you try out this recipe or have any tips on how to make homemade playdough, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.
I’ve tried out tons of recipes for homemade recipes over the years and this one is by far my favorite. Although it does require cooking on a stovetop, it’s super easy (no really, it is). It lasts for a very long time and only takes about 5 minutes to make. It’s a great sensory and fine motor activity…but most importantly, kids LOVE it! You’ll love it too. You’ll be glad you took the time to learn how to make homemade playdough and will want to share it with your friends. Feel free to share this recipe with them!
HOW TO MAKE HOMEMADE PLAY DOUGH
Mix flour, salt, cream of tartar, and oil in a pan. Add water and mix well. Cook over medium heat stirring for several minutes or until the dough begins to clump. Remove from stove and let it cool down. Once cool, add the dough to a Ziploc bag with food coloring and knead through to distribute the color.
Homemade Playdough Tips
I like to make several batches at once. I put each batch in a separate Ziploc bag with a few drops of food coloring. The kids love squeezing and squishing the color throughout the dough in the bag (all the fun without the mess or stained hands). If you’re feeling adventurous, try adding vanilla extract, cinnamon, Kool-Aid, Jell-O mix, or a drop of essential oil to your dough to add some scent to your play-dough. Fair warning though: If it smells yummy, they might want to know out if it TASTES yummy too (and from what I’ve been told, it doesn’t).
This playdough stays fresh for an amazingly long time stored in a Ziploc bag or sealed storage container. I’ve never thrown out a batch because it dried out or went bad, but I always make a new one when it starts looking gross (after being dropped on the floor a few times, ew. Trust me, it will get gross). I like to give each student their own bag of play dough to avoid sharing germs… I think that’s just good practice, especially during the cold season.
Activities to Try with Your Homemade Playdough
Last week, I made this play dough with my own boys at home and let them try out some of the resources from my TpT store, Exceptional Thinkers. My 3-year-old hates getting his hands dirty so squishing the food coloring in the bag was perfect for him. Once the playdough was ready, we practiced rolling out long “snakes.” Then we made different shapes with our dough snakes: S’s, circles, X’s, etc.
Once the boys got the hang of manipulating the dough into shapes, I introduced the Play Dough Mats to them. Instead of laminating tons of Play-Dough mats, I created a binder for each child and slipped the mats into sheet protectors.
The 3-year-old practiced making letters and numbers, while the 6-year-old worked on sight words. They loved it! They practiced their letters, numbers, and sight words for over an hour! The 3-year-old even tried the Sight Word Mats while the 6-year-old helped him to read the words. Now isn’t that better than worksheets?
Where to Find My Playdough Mat Resources
My kids loved learning how to make homemade playdough and I think yours will too. So go ahead and try out a new multi-sensory activity. Let me know how your playdough comes out! Have some fun. There is life after worksheets and your students will love it.
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