Playdough Jungle

Here is our first guest blog from Sarah, who has been mad enough to help me plan this Summer of Fun. It sounds like they had a fab time making their Playdough Jungle.

Playdough Jungle

We have been enjoying the animals theme this week, and what better way to combine this with our love of playdough than to make a playdough jungle?!


You will need

Playdough ingredients

2 cups plain flour

½ cup salt

2 tablespoons cream of tartar

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

Glycerine (optional)

1½ cups boiling water

Green food colouring


Small plastic jungle animals


A selection of small natural materials (we used stones, slate, bark and a mix of different leaves and branches)

Playdough tools, such as rolling pins (optional)


I made the playdough by mixing together the flour, salt, cream of tartar and oil.  I added the food colouring to the water, then gradually added this into the mix.  You may not need all the water, so go steadily with it.  Stir with a spoon until it clumps together.  When it’s cool enough for you to be able to touch, add a few drops of glycerine and knead until it becomes smooth and soft.  If it’s too dry, add a touch more water; if it’s too wet, add a bit more flour.


Once the playdough was completely cool, I set up an invitation to play for Miss N to create her own jungle.


She chose tools she wanted from our playdough box, and used lots of problem solving skills to get the trees and branches to stay upright in her jungle.  Her preferred solution was to use the broccoli as a base for the thinner twigs and stems to be stuck into.  I’m always particularly impressed when she comes up with solutions that I would never have thought of!


For Mr Z, I made a small playdough jungle for him to explore initially.


I then added extra animals and loose materials to his tray to further his play and exploration.  He enjoyed making marks in the playdough with the lion’s feet and the bark, and squishing lumps of playdough with his fingers.  It was a good opportunity to explore cause and effect, as well as give those little finger muscles some extra exercise.


If you want to keep your playdough for another time, it keeps for several months in an airtight container.  Let us know how you get on!

Be my Valentine…Chocolate Playdough play

Playdough, you just got to love the stuff. It is in the top ten of play ideas in this house and I always seem to be making the stuff, either at home or at work. I am a Reception teacher ,not an office worker, just imagine… so it is not at all odd behaviour. It can be basic or themed to match children’s interests or a time of the year.

Chocolate play dough is a wonderful way to explore Valentines day with young children. It gives you time to talk about why the shops are suddenly full of red heart shaped balloons and chocolates.

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I made the Chocolate Play dough by using our basic play dough recipe. However this time instead of 1 cup of plain flour I used half flour and half cocoa powder. It smells amazing. I added the water very slowly to avoid the dough becoming too sticky. Next I gave Pook and Meemoo the new dough along with an empty cardboard box for those chocolates, some different shaping tools.

Now the fun begins. Pook and I spent a delightful time creating our chocolates, talking about the flavours we were creating. It was a another way to develop those all important fine motor skills, using a variety of tools to make, shape and decorate the chocolates.  It was too invaluable talk time, time to just stop and share the moment. If you had an older child you could get them to then write a menu card for the chocolate box or set up and sell them in Chocolate shop , an opportunity to practice real life maths skills.

Pook has enjoyed every minute of playing with the dough making chocolates for the box and asks each day to get it out. So get out the cocoa and embrace chocolate play dough.