Welcome to our comprehensive, expertly crafted guide on creating and using fine, homemade, non-toxic playdough. At Jobs in Childcare, we recognize the significance of engaging and stimulating activities for children. We invite you to read on for our top-tier, time-tested playdough recipe and some great tips to engage in the fun of playdough with your charges.
A quick note - if you’re looking for more fun and kid-friendly activity ideas, you can check out Little Happy Learners, whose owner Sophie (a mum of 2) contributed a lot to this blog. Sophie's page is filled with tons of activities and games for nannies to make using materials as simple as cardboard, glue and scissors. She is quite frankly, the worlds most prominent and well respected homemade playdough expert!
Playdough is very similar to clay. But while playdough is generally known for the amount of fun it brings, it also brings exceptional sensory and creative experience.
Naturally playdough fosters creativity. can be rolled, squished, moulded, and twisted. Kids can use it to let their creativity run amok - leaves, candles, little monsters, mazes, houses - you name it. Using playdough allows children to create or imagine a different shape or character that they want to make. The knock-on effect is improved mental growth in children and provides opportunities for them to try out new ideas and ways to solve a problem.
Playdough helps to develop essential motor skills - As the children squish, poke, and roll the dough, they develop the muscle strength on their fingers and hands, which are essential for cutting and holding a pencil.
It can develop social skills - Kids feel accomplished and proud of their work when they finish their creative idea using playdough. Being able to make something can also help them cope with strong feelings. In school, kids can also foster a bond with their classmates by sharing their ideas or working together on their playdough designs.
Measuring, experimenting, predicting, and even mixing to transform the dough into the shape they want already supports Mathematical skills and hand-eye coordination. You can also teach your charges to measure and follow the playdough recipe for a new learning experience.
As a nanny, governess, or parent, it's essential to recognize the value of engaging, hands-on activities like playdough in a child's development. It can therefore be a valuable addition to your childcare toolbox.
The easy-to-follow, no-cook recipe used by Little Happy Learners only requires six ingredients to be mixed in a bowl. The recipe includes:
2 Cups Flour
1/2 cup Salt
2 TBS Cream of tartar
2 TBS Oil
1.5 Cups of Boiling Water
In a large bowl, mix the flour, salt, and the cream of tartar.
In a separate bowl or jug, mix the vegetable oil and boiling water. Add food colouring if desired.
Gradually pour the coloured water into the dry ingredients,
stirring continuously for texture until a dough starts to form.
Once the dough is cool enough to handle, you’ll need to knead it to make it smooth and pliable. If you are concerned that the dough is too sticky, you can always add a little more flour. Here you can also add food colouring as required (use gloves or risk turning your hands green!).
Store the playdough in an airtight container (room temp.) when not in use.
This recipe is not only a breeze to make but also yields a delightfully soft and pliable dough. Making the play dough doubles as an excellent activity to involve children in, as they can assist in measuring, mixing, and kneading the dough to perfection.
It’s time to incorporate learning activities into the playdough experience to teach children about colours, shapes, numbers, and letters. Sensory elements like different textures, scents, or even glitter can also be added to the playdough to create a more engaging and immersive experience for the little ones.
You can even make the play experience even more engaging with these ideas:
Introduce tools and materials: Provide your charges with rolling pins, cookie cutters, plastic knives, and other safe utensils to manipulate the dough. This works on fine motor skills and stimulates their imaginations.
Create themed playdough stations: Set up themed stations or incorporate the dough into imaginary play spaces; a bakery, construction site or even a fairy garden.
Incorporate learning activities: Use playdough to teach your charges. You can introduce colours, unusual shapes, numbers, and alphabetical letters. You can even create easy maths activities using the dough.
Add sensory elements: Enhance the sensory experience by adding different textures, scents, or even glitter to the playdough. Be sure to keep your charge’s allergies and sensitivities in mind when choosing additives.
Combine playdough with other arts and crafts: Playdough can be combined with other arts and crafts activities such as painting, drawing, or collage. This can lead to endless creative possibilities and keep your charges engaged for hours.
Homemade playdough is an incredibly versatile, fun, and educational tool for children. Just don't forget to explore other creative activities and resources on our blog to keep children engaged, learning, and having fun!
Generally, playdough is made using flour or other starch-based binders, table salt, boric acid, soap, oils, fragrance, and colour. Some playdough contains allergens such as wheat, which may cause a mild to severe reactions to children sensitive to wheat gluten. Some playdough recipes also have a large amount of salt, which may put children at risk of severe symptoms when ingested.
Nannies should make it clear to their charges that playdough is not food and should not be eaten. Whilst nontoxic, playdough can be a choking hazard if ingested. If a large amount is consumed, it could upset the stomach and cause loose stool.