Scented DIY Play Dough Recipe

Nicole Sanchez on

Looking for an easy DIY play dough recipe that kids will love? Then you’ll love this recipe! Not only is it cheap and easy to make, but it smells just as good as Mr. Sketch markers! As a hands-on teacher on a budget, I’ve learned a lot of great recipes over the years. Today I’m going to share my favorite multisensory play dough recipe. The reason I like it so much is because it awakens multiple senses when my students use it. The bright rainbow colors are visually appealing, the texture is great for little hands and the scents are fabulous. No matter how you use it, students will love playing with this multi-sensory play dough.

Using Play Dough in the Classroom
Before I explain the recipe, I want to take a minute to share a few tips for using play dough in the classroom. If used with guidance and caution, play dough can be a fun, hands-on learning experience for students. It can be used to make letters, numbers, words, shapes, the possibilities are endless.

1. Protect learning materials: One of the ingredients in play dough is oil. This helps the play dough stay moist and prevents it from drying out too quickly. If you plan to use the play dough with paper learning materials, it works best if they are laminated ahead of time. This protects the paper and avoids oil marks that can smear whatever is printed on the paper.

2. Use plastic containers: I've tried storing play dough in plastic bags, but the problem is that more often than not students don't zip the bag completely shut. This leads to play dough drying out prematurely. What I do instead is I store it small plastic containers. The trick is to find containers that aren't a whole lot bigger than the chunks of play dough you plan to store.

3. Model expectations: As with any messy classroom activity, it's important is to model the your expectations for students while using play dough. It's much easier to be proactive than reactive. This helps kids know how to properly handle the play dough, what techniques to use, and how to clean up when they are finished.

DIY Multisensory Play Dough Recipe
As I mentioned, this recipe is easy to make and students love it. It requires just a few ingredients and the process is relatively simple. 

1 c. flour
¼ c. salt
1 package KoolAid
2 Tbsp. cream of tarter
1 tsp. vegetable oil

1. Mix all the ingredients together.
2. Cook in a saucepan on low heat for 3-5 minutes, stirring until it forms a ball.
3. Set it aside to cool and then put it in a plastic bag or container.
4. Tip: You can add a few drops of food coloring to brighten the colors.

Common Mistakes to Avoid
When making this recipe there are two common mistakes you want to avoid. First of all you want the play dough to be the right consistency. If it's too wet it can stain hands and if it's too dry it can crumble into a mess. It should be wet enough to easily stick together, but dry enough to not leave a mark on your hands. The second mistake you want to avoid is adding too much food coloring. The best way I can explain it is that it's like glue in the classroom. "A dot is a lot." The same goes for food coloring. A few drops of food coloring go a long way, so add the coloring little by little until you get the shade you want.

Happy Teaching,
Nicole Sanchez