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  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons canola or vegetable oil


  1. Mix the dry ingredients first, then slowly pour in the wet ingredients. 
  2. Knead until smooth and store in a covered container. 
  3. If desired, add a few drops of food coloring to the wet ingredients before adding to the dry

Play-dough is great for young children on so many levels. It invites them to create, challenges their fine motor skills (necessary for controlling writing tools!), and even exercises their larger muscles when they stand and use their upper body strength to press and flatten it. It can be rolled into long snake-like pieces and used to form letters. With a rotating selection of accessories and tools, play dough will often remain engaging even if offered every day. Consider making it a regular morning offering with a slightly different presentation each day. Presentation can make all the difference in their willingness to sit down and get started. As you set it up the night before, think of it as a little gift to them. A few examples:

Day 1: Make play-dough together

Day 2: Large ball of play-dough on a cutting board. Rolling pin, butter knife, 3 cookie cutters, and tiny bowl or shaker filled with flour.

Day 3: Three balls of play-dough, muffin tin, muffin tin liners, sprinkles, and birthday candles (or toothpicks).

Day 4: Play-dough rolled flat on cutting board, a cup or glass for cutting circles, a tiny bowl of wiggle eyes (or beans) and small pieces of cut string.

Day 5: Play-dough rolled flat on cutting board, plastic animals arranged around the cutting board, a bowl of twigs.

Day 6: Sit with them and roll snake-like pieces. Form the letters in their name. If they’re still interested, continue with the letters in each family member’s name.