In our home, we make a lot of playdough In fact, we’ve never actually purchased playdough. Making playdough is super fun, super easy, super inexpensive, the girls love to help make it and there are endless possibilities of how you can incorporate learning into playdough play.
Without going into too much detail, essential oils & playdough can be used for some pretty amazing stuff! While I’m mostly sharing this for the recipe, here are a few benefits!
We use playdough for both directive and non-directive play, to encourage imagination and creativity, build hand strength, master fine motor skills, strengthen bilateral coordination, to learn skills like counting and measuring, encouraging conversation and even for therapeutic properties like relaxing, reducing stress, anxiety, calming, grounding and reducing anger with the use of essential oils.
When you add essential oils that are used to stimulate, calm or balance to playdough, you’re creating a whole new play experience that has the ability to strengthen the mind, calm tempers and even strengthen the immune system.
When you get a chance, research how neural pathways work! It’s amazing how sensory tools like playdough and essential oils can work together to wire and rewire areas in our brain! Just amazing.
So, the way we incorporate playdough into our learning and our learning into our playdough is by by making and using it on rainy Mondays like today making or making it fit our theme for the week. We try and learn and master a new letter each week. We do crafts, read books, play games and make foods that correspond with the letter we’re learning that week. Some of the ways we’ve done this in the past is Lavender scented, Lavender colored playdough for the week of L while listening to the song Lavender’s Blue on repeat for 2 hours:D
You can talk about how the playdough feels, how it smells, how it makes them feel, what they like and even what they don’t like about it. You can incorporate fun playdough tools, thrifted baking and kitchen items, pieces of nature collected outside and many household items to create lots of different ways to experience learning with playdough.
We’ve done this with lots of letters, colors, music and essential oil blends! We then practice making the letter we’re learning and mold the various items they can think of that start with that letter. I’m always amazed at some of the stuff they come up with… Each essential oil has different impacts on the mood. If we’re needing a little energy, citrus will help. If we need to calm down than lavender helps!
Get creative and have fun! When our letter was P, we made our own Peace essential oil blend, colored the playdough a bit pink, peach & purple (their idea) and the girls made pretend pregnant molds by pressing the dough into teaspoons (also their idea!):D. They’re kind of still obsessed with all things pregnancy and birth🙌 They almost always make outfits for their barbies, creative foods and animals and they’ve even crafted playdough into jewelry.
Plus, they’ll play for plenty long enough for you to snap some photos and edit them while enjoying a nice honey latte:D
We’ve experimented with a few recipes and here is our favorite!
2 cups flour
2 cups colored water
1 cup salt
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
5-15 drops of essential oils of choice
- You’re going to add all your ingredients, minus the essential oils, in a large saucepan and mix real good until combined.
- Once it’s mixed real good, place pan over medium heat. Use a spatula to stir until all your dough turns into a pretty ball. Sometimes we add a little more coloring in this stage until we get the color we want.
- As soon as you’re ball is formed, remove from heat and cool on parchment paper. NOTE: Don’t overcook as your playdough will get all dry and gross:( If it seems a little dry, rub your pretty playdough ball down with more olive oil. I usually add another tablespoon just so it’s good and moist. (Worst word ever, but I didn’t know what other word to use.)
- Once your playdough has cooled down, add your essential oils and knead until combined and as smelly good as you want. Depending on the oils I use, sometimes 5 drops is enough and sometime I need 20. Just play around with your oil blends until you get it how you want.
- Voila! Beautiful essential oil playdough! Store in an airtight container for lots of playdough fun! We store our playdough in thrifted air tight glass containers and keep our dough and utensils stored in pretty picnic baskets within their reach so they can take it out to play during free time, which is basically all day:D