• Nathalie

5 minutes playing dough recipe

January 2021.

All natural, safe, compostable playing dough.

Fun for the entire family.

Why play with dough?

Sensory development plays an important part in our child's cognitive development. Playing with different types of textures, tastes, and objects helps children build new ways of apprehending and talking about the world, using their 5 senses.

Fine motor skills: when making their own play dough, kids will pinch, pour, mix, knead, pull, full, twist, roll, cut... they develop their hand muscles and practice coordination (important for so many things from writing to shoe-tying).

It's calming: like squeezing a stress ball, it has a meditative effects that releases stress. They are active but focused on their creation, at least for a few minutes!

Pretend playing/imaginative playing: replaying a situation or imitating an adult helps in developing autonomy. They practice a skill and are the leader of the role play.

In our household we pretend we are baking, we follow the recipe, use our cooking tools and toys in the dough, they imitate what we do in the kitchen when we bake together or when they see us cooking meals.

It encourage creativity and it's fun! Look at my son's pretend Jiaozi (Chinese Dim Sum).

Tip: if your hand are stained by food colouring like my son on this picture (we also made a batch of blue that day) scrub them with a paste made of baking soda, soap and water.

Why make your own?

  • As I said before, it's part of the experience and of the bullet points mentioned above.

  • Packaging free: it avoids buying disposable, small portion plastic packaged items.

  • Safe and natural ingredients you already have in your basic pantry! Compared to the plastic cup version that does not reveal its composition.*

  • Time and money saver. The preparation time is part of the game.

  • The dough is compostable compared to the yellow plastic cup brand, and I know its composition, kept secret by the toy version manufacturer.

  • It's super easy and fast! 5 minutes to gathering the ingredients to playing with the dough.

Nb: If you have never made your own dough, know that the texture is quite different from commercial version. The soft and stretchy texture is hard to reproduce with 100% safe natural ingredients.

The recipe

My pantry for this recipe:

  • Water: 3/4 cups warm water

  • Dry mix: 1 cup of flour + 1/4 cup of table salt

  • Oil: 1 tbsp (optional) adds a little more stretch

  • Food colouring: (optional) natural powders, liquid food colouring or spices (turmeric stains surfaces, chocolate powder).

To add the colouring:

If it's a liquid colouring, add it to the water in step 1

If it's a powder colouring, add it to the dry mix

You can also add it to the dough after step 3

Step 1. Once the water is warm, cut the heat and add the dry mix in progressively in the pot. Stir with a wooden spoon, the water is quickly absorbed by the dry mix. Keep stirring until you've added all the dry mix.

Step 2. From here I like to take it in my hands if it's not too hot and knead it until it's smooth. Do not add more water.

Step 3. Pour some oil on your hands and knead the dough.

Tips to keep your playing dough up to one month

  • Store in an airtight container in the fridge

  • If it gets sticky add some flour.

  • If it gets dry add drops of water or lemon juice.

On these photos I used food colouring from a baking supplier:

  • The yellow is pumpkin powder

  • The pink is strawberry powder (smells amazing)

  • The purple is butterfly pea flower powder


Tag me @respectful_living if you share your beautiful doughs and creations on Instagram and I'll feature you on my stories!


*The yellow plastic cup brand, leader in the market, was developed when homes where heated with coal, as a cleaner to remove coal residues on wall papers. With the end of coal heating post ww2, new technologies and the evolution of the demand, the brand transitioned into a more lucrative sector.


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