Homemade Play Dough: Spring Play Idea with Nature and Loose Parts

Homemade play dough is so much fun to play with and easy to whip up. I love making dough for a fun sensory play experience and it always keeps my girls engaged!

Play dough is a great tactile material to play with for fine motor skills, imaginary play, and, if coloring your dough, it becomes a color theory lesson!


We made this dough during our time off of school due to the Covid-19 health concern. We had a low key St. Patrick’s day at home while social distancing and it was a perfect activity to keep my girls busy. If you are looking for something to do while you are home, I am sure you have all the materials to make this simple dough.

I have played around with various play dough recipes and have tweaked them until I created one that worked for us. Some recipes call for a bit more water than needed and you end up with sticky dough. See the recipe below but you can customize it based on the season by making it a different color or adding in herbs and essential oils.

What you need:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup salt
  • 2-4 tsp. cream of tarter (I would have used more but I ran out and no more store runs due to Covid-19! I used 2 tsp. and it turned out fine)
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 Tbsp oil (I used coconut oil)
  • Food coloring (optional)
  • Essential oils (optional)

Easy How-to:

Mix your dry ingredients together and any essential oils/herbs if using (we used a few drops of rosemary oil). Add the oil and gradually add the water at a little at a time. Mix until well blended and you have reached the right consistency. More flour can be kneaded in if it is too sticky.

If you are adding color, separate your dough into sections. Create a little bowl with your dough and add a few drops of food coloring. Fold the dough over and knead the color in until blended.


We created different color combinations to create lighter and darker greens such as: one section with just a few drops of green, one with blue and green,  one with green and yellow, and one with a lot of green plus red to get a darker olive green.


Now, for playtime! Grab some found nature items or loose parts such as stones, straws, buttons, or beads.



Try this dough recipe for our Mixed Media Salt Dough Nests!

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