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All Natural DIY DIRT Play Dough

I am always looking for new ways to create sensory experiences for Asher. Not only that, but I am a firm believer in the power of open-ended play. So anytime we can combine the two over here, we are all about it.

One of the things that checks these boxes that has always been a hit for him is play dough. He loves to roll it, cut it, create different shapes and objects and manipulate it in a variety of ways. And while children can certainly do this with your average store bought brand, I love making ours at home because not only does it enable me to be in charge of what goes in it, but it opens up the possibilities for a variety of new scents and colors to be created every time we make a batch as well.

DIY Sensory Playdough & Garden Activity for Kids

While often times I will simply just set out a few tools or cookie cutters for Asher to use as he plays with his dough, this morning I decided to put together a few garden themed items on a tray for him to utilize to go along with the theme of springtime that we have been learning about in our home this week. I collected some items like rocks, twigs and branches from outside, and paired them with some other crafty items we had on hand.

Toddler Garden Activity

To make our dough this morning, I started with the following base:

1 cup baking soda

1/2 cup arrow root starch (you could supplement corn starch)

3/4 cup water

To create the dough, simply mix together both the starch and baking soda in a pan. Add the pan to the stovetop on medium heat, and mix in your water. Continue to mix for a few minutes until your dough begins to thicken and wrap around your spoon. Once you notice this occurring, promptly take it off of the heat and continue mixing until a ball begins to form. Then, remove the ball of dough, and allow it to cool on a plate or cutting board.

The next part is the fun part – adding the scent and/or color. Because I wanted the dough this morning to resemble “dirt” for our garden theme, I chose items that would give it that effect. After perusing our kitchen, I pulled out a scoop of my husband’s coffee grounds along with a container of cinnamon on our spice rack and set out to see what I could create. I sprinkled a little of each on top of the finished dough base and began to knead it in with my hands. I continued to do this until I arrived at the color you see below. Bonus: It also smelled like a ball of cinnamon cappuccino, which catered to both of our senses.

Homeschool Desk Space

Once cooled, I placed all items on the tray and let Asher go to town. Not only did he use the items I presented him with to create his own garden, but he expanded upon it by creating a family of worms, by covering the rocks in the dough, and more. Not to mention I heard him sniffing that delicious dough time and again.

Have you ever made your own play dough? How about a themed sensory experience to go alongside it? Trays like this one truly only take a few minutes to set up, and can provide hours of entertainment for growing little minds!


All Natural DIY Dirt Playdough recipe plus ideas to create a sensory garden experience for your child to entertain for hours!

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About Me

About Me

Hi, I'm Mrs. Happ! I love Jesus, Mr. Happ and being a mama to our little man. I live off of a steady stream of bone broth, kombucha, Spanglish & top knots. And when I'm not busy chasing a toddler, I love me a good creative endeavor. Welcome to our "HAPPy Healthy Casa". I'm so glad your here. Read More


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