Use these tried and tested recipes to create a selection of malleable materials to tempt children’s senses. Then try adding your own scents and textures!

1. Chocolate Dough

Mix together 1½ cups of flour, ½ cup of drinking chocolate, ½ cup of salt, ½ tablespoon of cream of tartar, 1½ tablespoons of cooking oil and 1 cup of hot water.  When mixed, draw children’s attention to the smell of the chocolate. Instead of chocolate powder, try adding scented chocolate powder, such as mint or orange. Challenge the children to identify the scents.

2. Fruit Dough

Mix together 1 packet of fruit flavoured jelly crystals (approximately 25g), 2 cups of flour, 1 cup of salt, 4 tablespoons of cream of tartar, 2 cups of boiling water and 2 tablespoons of cooking oil. Use this dough alongside some real fruit, reflective of the scent you used. Encourage children to smell the dough and then cut the real fruit to compare.


3. Play Dough

Mix 4 cups of flour and 2 cups of salt. Add 4 tablespoons of oil.  Gradually add 1 cup of water, stirring at first with a wooden spoon and then kneading with your hands. If the dough is too stiff, add more water. If the dough is too sticky, add more flour.

4. Textured Dough

Mix together 1 cup of flour, 1 cup of water, 2 cups of oatmeal, some herbs, sugar, sand and rice. Let children try to identify the ingredients before they are added. Encourage them to feel the textures before and after each ingredient is added.

5. Soap Dough

Mix together 2 cups of flour, ½ cup of salt, 2 tablespoons of poster paint, 1 tablespoon of liquid soap and ½ cup of water. Make three quantities of this soap dough, using different soap scents in each one. Let the children help as much as possible.


6. Scented Dough

Mix together 2 cups of flour, 1 cup of salt, 2 tablespoons of cooking oil, some scented ingredients (such as grated soap, peppermint or vanilla flavouring, cinnamon or tea leaves) and 1 cup of hot water. Create a range of scented doughs by using a wide selection of aromas. Let the children choose what aromas they would like to add.