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Aromatherapy Playdough Recipe

Aromatherapy Playdough Recipe

This aromatherapy playdough recipe is a lovely twist on traditional playdough. Children love playing with playdough, and it is an excellent activity for developing children’s motor skills. The use of essential oils is a great way to make it a multisensory activity. Essential oils can help children relax and focus. Some of the occupational therapists I have worked with have particularly recommended the use of essential oils to help children who are having anxiety or difficulty concentrating. However, aromatherapy playdough is something that all children can enjoy!

What you need for aromatherapy playdough recipe

  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ cup salt 
  • 3 teaspoons (1 tablespoon) cream of tartar 
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (coconut oil, olive oil, etc. also work)
  • Food colouring (I recommend Wilton’s for bright colours)
  • Essential Oils (several drops) – Lavender, chamomile, mandarin, cedarwood, sandalwood, neroli, or geranium are all considered safe for children when diluted.

*Please be careful to check the safety and potency which is safe for any essential oils used with children.

  • Bowl
  • Spatula and/or spoon
  • Pot
  • Stovetop 

Traditional Method

  1. Combine the flour, salt and cream of tartar in a bowl mix it up.
  2. In a pot, pour in the liquid ingredients (water, oil and food colouring – food colouring may be added later if you would like to do different colours).  
  3. Slowly pour in the dry ingredients and mix until it forms a smooth paste.  
  4. Put the pot on the stove and heat on low while stirring until it forms a ball. Be careful not to cook for too long as it will become dry quickly. 
  5. Allow it to cool for a few minutes and then take it out to knead it. If you are doing different colours, separate pieces now and add in the food colouring to knead it in.
  6. This is also time to add in several drops of essential oils.  I would recommend adding in 2 drops at a time, kneading it in, and then adding more 1 or 2 drops at a time, kneading again, and then checking its potency. Some essential oils will only need 2 drops while others will need a bit more.

No-Cook Method

  1. Combine the dry ingredients (flour, salt and cream of tartar) in a bowl.  
  2. If you are using a pot, pour the liquid ingredients in and bring them to a light boil. (Alternatively, you can use boiled water from a kettle and pour the oil an food colouring in with the dry ingredients and then slowly pour in boiling water while stirring).
  3. Take the pot off the stove and slowly pour in the dry ingredients and stir in. 
  4. Allow the playdough to cool down and then knead the ingredients together, ensuring that it is smooth. If you are doing multiple colours, you can add in food colouring and knead in now.
  5. This is also time to add in several drops of essential oils. I would recommend adding in 2 drops at a time, kneading it in, and then adding more 1 or 2 drops at a time, kneading again, and then checking its potency. Some essential oils will only need 2 drops while others will need a bit more.

Questions to ask

  • How does it feel?
  • What can you make?
  • How does it smell?
  • What do you notice?
  • What are you using to play with it? What does it do to the playdough?
  • Show me how you can pinch it, roll it, push it, squeeze it, cut it, pull it, knead it, squash it, etc.

What they get from it – aromatherapy playdough recipe

Making playdough with children is an excellent way for children to learn basic cooking & baking skills. Children can learn from measuring ingredients and also see a chemical reaction. 

Playdough is great for developing fine motor skills, dexterity, manipulative skills and can also build strength. These can be particularly helpful for children to help them prepare for writing. 

Aromatherapy playdough also has the potential to help children relax and focus. Some oils, such as lavenderorange, and ginger, are known to help relax and calm for children who may be anxious or having difficulty focusing. You may want to do research about which type of oil might work best for your children or choose something based on which smells you and your children enjoy. *Please be sure that children do not ingest essentials and make sure pure essential oils are not applied directly on children’s skin.

Take it further

Adding in loose parts can be a fun way for children to create a range of things with playdough. You can add in loose parts like sticks, beads, stones, bolts, googly eyes, containers, and more. It allows them to use their imagination to create whatever they want!

To help children strengthen their hands to get ready to write, they can also try, ‘Dough Disco’ on YouTube. My children also enjoy rolling and cutting playdough which is also great for building strength and dexterity.

You may also want to see my posts on enhanced playdough recipes such as Deliciously Smelly Playdough Recipe and Pumpkin Spice Playdough Recipe.  I also have some alternative playdough recipes such as Homemade Playdough without Salt and Edible Homemade Cloud Dough Recipe.

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