Homemade playdough recipe – cheap and easy to make

Playdough is such a great sensory activity for our children, but it can also be used for so many other learning related activities at home. Whilst in isolation you can use Playdough for counting, creative play, literacy and so much more.

Children with Autism spectrum Disorder such as Autism or Asperger’s syndrome will frequently have sensory problems.  Children with Autism also love structure and routine.  During school holidays the autistic child can often become frustrated and difficult to manage because they are not getting the sensory input or structure they so desperately seek.

Structured play during the day is an ideal way to help your child cope with being on holiday.   Giving them activities to do will keep them stimulated. 

The following recipe is simply, it is natural, perfect for sensory play, structured play and pretend play.


  • 1 cup of flour (normal cake flour)
  • ¼ cup of table salt
  • 1 Tbsp cream of tartar
  • ½ cut of warm water


  • Mix together to flour, salt and cream of tartar.
  • Mix together the ½ cup of warm water
  • Slowly pour the water into the flour mixture.
  • Stir continuously until combined. 
  • Knead with your hands until the flour is completely absorbed.  If the dough is too sticky, add more flour until it doesn’t stick at all.

NOTES:  You can add your favourite food colouring to the water should you want coloured dough.  By doing it before you combine it with dry ingredients allows you to bled them by stirring, without staining your hands.

Here is a math (numeracy) activity for you to do with your children tomorrow. All you will need is a piece of paper, pen and some Playdough. You can write the number and the child must roll the Playdough into a ball and place the item in the correct circle.

  • This activity can be taught at a variety of levels.
  • For our babies we will start only with “rolling the play-dough” into a ball. By using his/her hand and the table.
  • The next step would be to roll the ball with two hands.
  • Further learning can be the size of the balls you are rolling and for the older (more academically orientated) children you can even start bringing in concepts like: “big, bigger and biggest”.
  • Or have a competition where the child and parent can try roll the same SIZE balls.

My promise to you… “making a HUGE batch of playdough it’s worth it”.

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Ilse Kilian-Ross

Ilse Kilian-Ross is the owner of Amazing K, a registered ECD and Partial Care Facility in Johannesburg. Amazing K is a private adhd school, autism school and therapy centre for children from age 2 - 6 years where learners receive the best of both the schooling and therapy world. The autism school offers Individualized Education Programs, Speech- and Augmentive Alternative Communication (AAC) therapy as well as a full and adapted Academic Curriculum.