Click for Resource Room
rainbow kids
Rainbow Resource Room
Recipes and Activities:
Click for Activity Central Take a look at these recipes for teacher made tactile materials that are inexpensive and ready when you need them. 
resource line
Click the Rainbow for The Rainbow Resource Room
Click the Schoolhouse for Activity Central
resource line
Print this Page
Click to Pick or Scroll through the recipes.
Playdough Recipe Collection
Goop  Recipe Collection
Oobleck, Clay & More

Playdough Recipes and Activities

playdough recipeCorn Flour Playdough
Lisa C. shares her special recipe for this classic teacher made dough. 

 2 cups of corn flour
 1 cup of salt
 1 ½ cups of water
 food coloring
 1 teaspoon of cream of tartar
 1 ½ tablespoons of sunflower or vegetable oil
 Description: Teachers add the food coloring to the water in the saucepan.  Then add the corn flour, cream of tartar, salt and oil and cook over a low heat, stirring continuously.  As the "dough" begins to cook, jelly like lumps appear.  Carry on cooking until the  mixture becomes one large lump, resembling dough. 

Now place the dough in a dish to cool.  Once it is cool, it can be kneaded like normal dough.  It may feel a bit oily at first, but this will disappear with use.  Store in an airtight tub.

Comments: This is particularly useful with children with coealic disease or who have a gluten free diet.

No Cook Scented Playdough Recipe
The addition of the artificially flavored soft drink mix gives the playdough an inviting scent and lovely color.

2 cups warm  water
3 cups flour
½ cup salt
2 tbs.. cooking oil
One small package (0.15 oz.) of Artificially Flavored Soft  Drink Mix (without sugar).
Preparation:  In a large bowl, mix ingredients listed above.  After mixing, knead well. Store in an airtight container or heavy plastic bag for up to 2 weeks.  Preschoolers have lots of fun kneading the dough.

Dramatic Play: Playdough Finger Puppets
During this art and dramatic play activity preschool children gain experience manipulating dough, develop sensorimotor skills and move through sensorimotor play into symbolic and dramatic play.

You will need:  Purchased or teacher made play dough, small items such as, raisins, cereal, small marshmallow or stones, sticks, small pieces of fabric to use as eyes, nose mouth and hats.

Teacher Made Playdough Recipe  (traditional)
2 cups boiling water
3 cups flour
½ cup salt
2 tbs.. cooking oil
3 tsp. alum
food coloring
Preparation:  In a large bowl, mix ingredients listed above.  After mixing, knead well.  Add food coloring as desired.  Store in an airtight container or heavy plastic bag for up to six months. 

Teachers encourage children to put a blob of dough onto one finger and mold dough into a face shape covering the finger. Give faces personality by  adding eyes, nose, mouth and hat. Encourage children to make at least one other puppet. 

Engage puppets in conversation. Teachers may need to encourage symbolic play by asking (through a puppet of their own), questions which the children can answer.
"My, you are certainly nice looking, What is your name?  Mine is Stacey, I am a firefighter.  What do you do?"

Children can engage their own puppets in symbolic play or participate with another child.  If a child does not wish to engage in this type of play, do not force him/her to do so.

Cooked Playdough
Teachers cook the playdough and young children have the tactile fun.
Sally contributes this recipe saying, "This is a manipulative and open-ended type of activity that any age child can do. A Great way to develop those fine motor skills that the children will need for learning to cut or write".

Teacher Cooked Playdough
 3 cups flour
 1 ½ cups salt
 3 cups water
 4 Tbsp. oil
 3 tsp. cream of tartar
 Food coloring, you can add different extracts also
Put all ingredients in a heavy saucepan sitr constantly over med. heat until the
mixture forms a ball.  Remove from heat, knead well.  Store in an airtight container.

Toddlers and older children can enjoy open ended activities when you add cookie cutters, presses, rolling pins and plastic knives or forks, . Some of the boys like to add small animals to this activity and cover them up.  No  matter which way they play they can be as creative as they want.  Plus, this playdough is is non toxic, so there is very little worry about the toddlers eating it.

Comments: I like to change the cookie cutters and cookie presses for different holidays and seasons. The children love to see what they can create.

Playing with "Gritty Playdough"
Encourage youngsters to experience manipulating this teacher made tactile playdough
from Carol A.

Gritty Playdough
1 cup flour
½ cup salt
2 teaspoons cream of tarter
1 cup water
1 Teaspoon oil
¼ cup sand
Electric skillet
Food coloring (optional)
Sea shells (optional)
Description: Combine all ingrediants and cook until dough pulls away from the 
pan.  Be sure to stir continuously. Cool then divide and give some to each child. 
Giving each child a small ball.  Place shells in the middle of the table and guide the 
childen to make shell prints.

Recipe for "Fireworks Playdough"
Linda P. offers this teacher made preschool recipe saying, "Playdough will assist in the development of fine motor skills".

Materials: Playdough - see below for recipe or use your own.
Black edicol dye and multicoloured glitter.

Playdough Recipe
 2 cups flour
 1 cup salt
 2 tablespoons oil
 2 tablespoons cream of tartar
 2 cups water (add black dye to water)
Cook until mixture congeals and pulls off the side of the pan.  Cooking time will be 
greatly reduced if you use boiling water - although not suitable if children are 
involved in the cooking.  When cool enough, knead in colorful glitter.

Comments: Add essential oils for a fragrant play dough too.

No Cook "Soapy Dough"
This sensory Soapy Dough recipe from Angie provides preschool and kindergarten children with hours of fine motor tactile fun.

2 cups flour
½ cup salt
2 Tablespoons liquid tempera
1 Tablespoons liquid soap
Description: Mix all ingredients except water in a bowl.  Add water to make a workable dough.  Model as with any dough.

No Cook "Sawdust Dough"
Here's another sensory tactile dough recipe from Angie.

Dough Recipe
 1 cup sawdust
 ½ cup Wallpaper Paste
 paint (optional)
Description: Mix sawdust with paste in bowl.  Add enough water to make mixture like soft putty. Squeeze and pat modeling mixture into desired shape.  If desired paint when dry.

No Cook "Coffee Dough"
Preschool and kindergarten children use fine motor and creativity skills during this early childhood sensory activity by Marian V.  Make neat refrigerator magnets or  small Christmas ornaments.

Recipe for Coffee Dough
 2 cups flour
 1 cup salt
 ¼ cup instant coffee
 ¾ to 1 cup warm water
Description: Mix flour and salt together.  Make a well then add instant coffee 
to water.  Stir this into flour and salt.  More water or flour may be added to 
form a soft dough ball.  Wrap in plastic and refrigerate.  When ready, roll out 
and cut out with cookie cutters into desired shapes.  Bake @ 325° for 1 to 1½ hours. Have fun!

No Cook "Oatmeal Dough"
Add this easy playdough recipe by Michelle to your collection of teacher made materials.

Oatmeal  Dough  Recipe
2 cups oatmeal
1 cup flour
½ cup water
Description:  Combine ingredients. Knead well.  This has a very different texture, is easily manipulated, and looks different.  After drying finished projects can be painted.

To the Top

Goop Recipes and Activities
Goop is a pourable, semisolid material often made by combining water, tinted with a touch of food coloring, with cornstarch.

Debbie contributes this explanation of Goop saying that is a great way to explore 
touch and texture, solid and liquid.

Materials: Cornstarch and Water.

Description: Mix the cornstarch and water together. Use just enough water to 
make it like play dough. When you try to pick up a handfull, it feels hard like 
a solid. Once you have some in your hand, it drips off like a liquid. If you put 
your hand in fast it feels hard and when you put your hand in slow it feels soft. Explore.

Comments: Easy clean up. It dries and sweeps up.

Marker Press
During this early childhood activity by Debbie preschool children can transfer their
designs from Goop onto paper.

Cake pan
Description: Mix the cornstarch with water, this is called Goop. Not too much 
water. Pour the Goop mixture into a cake pan and level out. Let each child create their own design by using markers.  Color and draw on the Goop mixture.  When each child is done take a piece of white paper and press onto the design.  Remove paper and let dry. The design is now transfered onto the paper.

Comments: This is a neat thing to do when you're talking about color. All the colors from the markers run and mix together making new colors. A very fun thing to do!

Dinosaur Eggs
Two year old preschoolers discover what is inside of an egg after patiently awaiting it's time to hatch. Earlene B. even includes her secret recipe for Sand Goop.

Materials: Plastic eggs, small dinosaurs and teacher made Sand Goop. 

Sand Goop Recipe
1 cup sand
½ cup cornstarch
½ teaspoon alum
½ cup water.
Cook on medium heat stirring until thick.  Cook to touch.  Put dino into the plastic egg and cover with Sand Goop.  Place in "nest".

On Monday, talk about dinosaurs and how big their eggs were.  Show the children the "eggs" YOU found. Say, "Look how big they are.  What kind could they be?"  The eggs should still be wet.  Tell children that we have to watch them until they turn white and crack. When ready, let children finish cracking them open and find their dinosaur. 

Comments: At circle time, the children  can't wait to look at the eggs to see if they are ready

Sensory: "GOO"
Lisa T. suggests this sensory activity saying, "1. The children learn to measure,  2. It's great for hand and eye coordination and, 3. It's FUN!"

Materials: Corn starch and water.

Description:  Take 1 cup of cornstarch, to one cup of water, pour both onto a cookie sheet with high sides and mix well with hands (food color can also be added to make colors).  As the child picks up the cornstarch , the child will notice it is a stiff form, but by holding it in  his or her hand, it dissolves and goes back to liquid.

Cornstarch Goo
Bobbi-Jo D. suggests this recipe and sensory activity for Goop which is also known as Slime.

Food coloring
Description: Place cornstarch in a tray. Add a little water and food coloring to make a paste. Provide toys for the children to play with in the goo. The children like the melting of the cornstarch as it heats up and runs through their fingers. Make sure the children wear smocks, this is a messy activity.

Jayne S. uses this version of "goop" to help young children develop small motor and creativity skills.

Flour, salt, water, food coloring,  pouring containers, paper plates

Mix equal parts of flour and salt and water add food coloring and  put them in pouring bottles. The children paint on paper plates. When the plates dry the plate sparkles. This activity needs a sunny day.

Comments: I found this recipe in a old book 10 years ago, and have been using it ever since. 

To the Top

Oobleck, Clay & More
Here's Oobleck, which is always green, for both small and large groups of preschool and kindergarten children. You'll also find several wonderful recipes for clays.

Oobleck for Small Groups
This recipe by Marian V. can be used along with the story "Bartholomew and the Ooobleck" or to just explore and experiment with different textures.

Oobleck Recipe:
1 cup corn starch
2 cups baking soda
1¼ cups water
Green food coloring
Description: Mix all.  Do not cook. Add  Green food coloring. The texture of this mixture keeps changing with contact.  Good for exploring observation skills. Practice measuring, pouring, straining, empty / full, etc.

Comments: This is a fun activity and promotes shared attention between  parent/child or teacher/student.

Oobleck for  LARGE  Groups
This recipe will yield enough Oobleck for 30 youngsters.

Four 16 oz. boxes of Corn Starch
Six cups of water at room temperature (or mildly cool)
Fifteen drops of green food color
One big pot
Five pie trays
1.  Pour 4 cups of water into the big pot.  Add fifteen drops of green food color.
     Stir gently but thoroughly.
2.  Empty all four boxes of corn starch on top of the green water.
3.  Add two cups of UNCOLORED water on top of the corn starch.
4.  Begin mixing the water and corn starch with a strong spoon.  The mixture will be
     Very difficult to mix at first.
5.  When the mixture is no longer so tough. Begin mixing with your hands until the
   Oobleck is smooth as has a very even consistency.

If the Oobleck is too runny, add a little corn starch and mix again.
If the Oobleck is too cakey, add a little water and mix again.

Oobleck is best used within two to three hours of being made.  However, it may be stored almost indefinitely in an airtight container within a refrigerator.  It is important to use a refrigerator because the Oobleck is a wonderful growth medium for molds and bactera; but the cold will prevent fungal and bacterial growth.

After storage, you will probably have to add some water and you will certainly have to thoroughly mix the Oobleck to achieve an even consistency.

Funny Putty
Preschool children have fun exploring what this Funny Putty by Valerie V. can do.

Ingredients: Enough for one child.
1 Tablespoons liquid starch (found in the laundry isle)
Food Coloring
2 Tablespoons White Glue
Plastic Easter Egg or zip bag
1.  Mix white glue and food coloring together in a glass bowl.
2.  Pour liquid starch into a second glass bowl. Slowly pour the glue mixture on 
     top the liquid  starch.
3.  Allow the concoction to stand to 5 minutes or until the glue absorbs the 
     liquid starch.
4.  Remove putty from bowl and knead. At first the mixture may look as it it's a 
     mistake, but it isn't.  The more you knead the putty, the better the consistency
     will be.
5.  Store Funny Putty in a plastic Easter Egg or zip bag.

 Comments: Press Funny Putty down on newspaper or comics.  Slowly pull the Funny
 Putty off of the paper.  The picture will transfer magically onto the putty. 
 Roll your Funny Putty into a ball and bounce.

This recipe from Gayle D. seems a little like the above Funny Putty, only in larger quanities. 

Glurch  Recipe
One cup of white glue
Two or three cups of liquid starch
Food coloring or liquid paint
Large plastic bowl for mixing
Pour one cup of glue into a bowl then add food coloring. Next, pour starch into the glue and mix until a it forms into a large gummy like ball.  Each time the children play 
with it you will need to add a little more starch to keep it from sticking to everything.  It is pliable enough to form an object and then watch it melt back into a ball. The children love it.

Clay Bugs
Preschool and Kindergarten children use fine motor and creative skills as they work with this teacher made clay from Shari R.

Materials: Materials to make the clay, paint and anything else to add to the bugs
such as; pipe cleaners, googly eyes, etc.

Clay Recipe
1 cup cornstarch
2 cups baking soda
1 ¼ cups cold water
Measuring utensils
Wooden spoon
Method: Stir together the cornstarch, baking soda and water in a saucepan. Cook 
the mixture over medium heat, stirring CONSTANTLY untill it reaches a slight 
moist, mashed patato consistantly. Turn the clay onto a plate and cover with a 
damp cloth. When the dough is cool enough to handle, knead the clay like dough
until it takes on a plastic consistency. The clay is now ready to use!  It can be 
stored in the fridge in a tight container for up to one month.

Let the children mold the clay into what ever they want. A lot of my children made ants. Let dry, the drying process is slow it takes a couple of days. Then the creations can be painted.

Comments: This is a great recipe for claydough!  It is the best one I have ever used.

art and craft materialSand Castle Clay
Jessica L. offers this creative teacher made concoction saying, "You can create sand castles and sand sculptures that are permanent".

1 cup sand
½ cup cornstarch
¾ cup liquid starch
Teachers combine sand and cornstarch in an old pot.  Add liquid starch and mix.  Cook the mixture over medium heat while constantly stirring.  Eventually the mixture will thicken and turn into dough. 

Remove pot from the stove and knead it 20-30 seconds before using.  Let Sand Castle Clay Sculptures dry until hard.

Comments: You can color the clay by adding 1 Tbs. of powdered tempera paint to the mixture before cooking.

Sand Castles
Youngsters use fine motor, sensory and creative skills during this preschool activity by Tresa.

Ingredients For Sand Dough:
1 cup cornstarch
2 cups fine sand
1½ cups water
An old pan
Plastic bag or airtight container
Small shells, stones, beads and anything to decorate their castles with
Sand molds
Description: To make Sand Castles the children can take home with Sand Dough. Mix in an old pan. Stir 5 - 10 minutes over medium heat until thick. Cool, then store 
 in a plastic bag or container until ready to use. This yields enough for 4 -6 children.

Give each child a small amount of the sand dough and allow them to use various items to decorate the dough with.  You can also use sand molds to make permamnent molds of sea creatures or other themes, the ideas are endless. These will dry hard  when left to dry for a few days. 

Comments: This works very well and the creations dry rock hard. But you need to let them set for a few days or more without touching them.

sensory art project  Spicy Clay
Kym offers this tactile and olfactory sensory activity that is also an art project.

1 ½ cups of mixed spice
1 cup apple puree
1/3 cup white Elmer's glue
1 bowl
Waxed paper
Rolling pin
Cookie cutters
Cooking rack
Puff paints
Description: Mix ingredients together, knead together. Let sit for ½  hour. 
Roll out until about ¼ inch thick. You may need to dust the surface and the rolling pin 
 in spices. Cut out shapes with cookie cutters then make ribbon holes with a skewer. Let dry for a week. Paint and thread with ribbons.

Explore more sensory activities in Preschool Theme: The 5 Senses
Teacher Made art materials are in Art Recipes & Activities



E-mail GayleE-mail Gayle  to include your favorite pre-school activity
in this theme!
Click the Rainbow for The Rainbow Resource Room
Click for Resource RoomClick the Schoolhouse for Activity CentralClick for Activity Central
To the Top

preschool rainbow activity bar