Saturday, 16 June 2012

Herb Garden Play Dough

This week we've been joining the play dough pledge, hosted by three fantastic & creative preschool play blogs: NurturestoreThe Imagination Tree and Sun, Hats and Wellie Boots.  This is all about having creative, playful fun with your little ones with play dough.  If you're short on ideas, do check out some of these blogs and their amazing ideas.  Not sure about play dough?  Here's a great summary on the benefits of playing with play dough from The Imagination Tree.

As part of the play dough pledge this week, we pledged to try something new with play dough.  One of the things the girls love at the moment is picking herbs in the garden for their play kitchen so we decided to have a go at making some herb play dough using some of the herbs from our garden.  See here for a great post on natural play dough colours, textures and smells from Sun Hats and Wellie Boots.

First off we started collecting herbs from the garden.  

This little raised bed is our herb patch and the girls are able to pick the leaves as the want for the play cooking or other games (within reason!)  Thankfully most of our herbs still have plenty of leaves despite lots  of the little handfuls being picked.

They collected some sage, rosemary, oregano and some lavender leaves that Little Chick was very keen to add, although it's still too early in the year for lovely purple lavender heads to be out yet (I promised her that later in the summer we would make some special lavender play dough with the flowers.) 

I then gave Little Chick some simple instructions and together we made the play dough. We used the recipe from The Imagination Tree which we usually use, although this time I thought I'd try using bread flour to see if it made the dough super stretchy. I was thinking that the higher gluten content might make it better than all purpose flour, but to be honest there wasn't a marked difference from usual.  If you want to keep it properly natural you can substitute the cream of tartar with lemon juice, but it might not keep quite as long.

Little Chick got busy measuring out the ingredients.  I love using American Cups for measuring with her because they are so simple for her to use compared to grammes or lbs and ounces.

I added the boiling water bit by bit and Little Chick did the mixing.  We then took turns to knead it to a lovely, smooth, malleable dough.  I love this bit as it always reminds me of making bread and kneading the dough by hand, although play dough seems quite a lot easier work!

The we added the herbs and did more kneading and it started to smell lovely.

Kneading dough is great for developing hand strength and it's so much fun too.

I then gave the girls a selection of natural materials to play with the dough.  Some sticks, pebbles, jumbo pasta and pine cones.  I put out some plain pine cones and Little Chick promptly said she didn't want the plain ones, they were boring and she wanted the painted ones which we did last autumn, so these were added too.

We made pizzas.

 and flat breads. 
 Little Chick independently came up with idea of using the pine cones to make some lovely prints all over these.  Mummy got to eat a lot of these! 

Shoeshine loves copying her big sis and she got busy with the pine cones on her creations too.

The girls (particularly Little Chick) played for ages with this new play dough.

There were trays of various rolls and buns as well as a few train funnels and an aeroplane!

We loved our new herb garden play dough and I'm just wondering what to try next with play dough!


  1. Oh, that play dough must have smelled wonderful! Great way to play with nature. Thanks for linking up to the Outdoor Play Party!

    1. Yes it was lovely to play with, with the lovely herby smell. Thanks for stopping by. Ellie

  2. This looks so fun! I found you through a board on pinterest. Can't wait to check out more of your posts. You should link up to my Thinky Linky Thursday sometime!
    Lori @ Cachey Mama’s Classroom

    1. Ooh thanks for the invite, look forward to joining the linky, thanks for the invite. Ellie

  3. Really neat idea!! I pinned to my playdough and more boards on Pinterest. :)

  4. I just love this post - will have to get out into our garden and grab some herbs. (Although I notice you've sensibly got your mint in containers whilst mine is running rampage all over the place!)

    I would love for you to link up at the Mommy Archive. We're focused on playdough, gak, gloop (aka stretchy stuff) this week but you can also link up fab old play posts into other topics including science, reading, imaginative play etc Alice@ Mums Make Lists x


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