Fall Play Dough Activity

Fall is definitely in the air here in the Nation’s Capital of Canada.  We have been enjoying getting outside and collecting leaves, acorns, and just not being so hot in general!  It was time for a new batch of play dough and a  Fall-themed invitation to play seemed like the obvious choice.  This play dough provides a great sensory experience for your little ones as they explore the soft squishy dough with their fingers while enjoying the warm and comforting fragrance of Fall.  IMG_8928

I got out all the ingredients and enlisted my trusty helper. I have made soooo much play dough to confidently tell you I have finally found the best recipe and the best method.  This recipe does require cooking- but it makes the play dough last so incredibly long and gives it a silky smooth feel.

Here is what you will need:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 1 TBSP cream of tartar (found in the baking section)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 TBSP vegetable oil
  • Food Colouring
  • 1 TBSP your favourite fall scent (cinnamon OR pumpkin spice work well)
  • glycerin (not mandatory, but this makes it so shiny an smooth)


First, you are going to combine all the dry ingredients; the flour, salt, cream of tartar, and your favourite fall spice.  (We just used cinnamon this time, as I didn’t have any “pumpkin pie spice” on hand.)  You can do this in a bowl, right in your pan (if it is deep with high edges), or even in a stand-mixer.  I prefer the bowl for quick and easy clean up.  I do not like doing it right in the pan as I find it tricky to really get the dough all mixed up properly.

Next, add the oil and the water.  You can put your food colouring into the water or simply mix it right into the dough.  Finally, add a few drops of glycerin and give it all a good mix.  Your dough should be “wet” and sticky.

Now you will transfer your dough to a pan on the stove that is set to medium/ low heat. I like to flatten all the dough out in the pan with my spatula.  Wait about 15 seconds then flip it all over.  You will start to see darker patches on the dough; that is the dough cooking.  Flatten it all out again and then flip.  Keep doing this until all the dough is cooked.  Then remove the dough from the pan and put it on the counter to cool.  I usually have very little patience for it to cool completely, so after about 5 minutes I start to knead the (hot- ouch) dough.  Do this for a few minutes; it should not be sticky at all.


When the play dough has cooled enough for your child to use, just pair it with some loose parts, acorns, fall-themed jewels, rolling pins, cookie cutters, or whatever you have around your house.  My kids have been LOVING this play dough.  I love it too as it provides so many opportunities for learning and development.


They have been practicing fine motor control as they use their little fingers to mold and manipulate the dough.  They use their imaginations as they use the open ended materials with the dough (cakes, a steamroller, a fortress, an owl).  It has been a nice quiet activity for them to do on their own, together, or with me.  We have even incorporated math into our play with games making little pumpkins and counting them together, adding more and taking some away.




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