With winter weather soon coming to an end, we’ve been savouring the last of the winter days by doing activities that we don’t make as much time for in the summer, like visiting museums, baking, painting, and doing other indoor activities. Last weekend we decided to make play dough. We’ve made play dough a few times before and have tried our hands at naturally colouring the dough with spices and teas, with mixed results. (However, I can confirm that it is very easy to make brown dough!) This time we decided to play around with scents.
To make scented doughs we added essential oils to our usual playdough recipe. The result was lovely scented balls that Ro and Sen really enjoyed playing with, and miraculously resisted taste testing!
The recipe I use is very simple and involves no cooking, which makes it easier for young children to help. Best of all the dough will last many months if stored in an airtight container between uses. I’ve adapted my recipe from one I found on the Imagination Tree site. Note: If you divide the dough in half before adding the essential oils, you can make two different scented balls, as we did.
Here’s what you need:
*2 cups of all-purpose flour (other flours will work, but I wanted a white dough so I used all-purpose)
*2 tablespoons of vegetable oil (I used coconut oil, because it is clear and hardens at room temp, so it helps with the consistency of the dough)
*1/2 cup of salt (I used sea salt, because that’s what I had on hand, but table salt is typical for play dough)
*2 tablespoons of cream of tartar (if you haven’t used this before it is a powder found in the baking section)
*1+1/4 – 1+1/2 cups of boiling water (I used about 1 and 1/4 cups, but different flours may need more or less water)
*15 drops of Citrus Fresh essential oil (An oil blend offered by Young Living Oils)
*15 drops of Lemon essential oil (I used Young Living)
*optional: citrus zest (to add colour and texture, I used lemon, lime, blood orange, and minneola orange)
1) If using zest in your recipe, then begin by preparing the zest first, so that it has been exposed to the air for a while before adding it to the dough. It would be ideal to dry the zest out a little by dehydrating it or drying it out in the oven, but it is not necessary. I recommend using a fine zester if you have more than one size.
2) In a bowl, combine the dry ingredients and the coconut oil.
3) Start by adding 1 cup of boiled water. Mix thoroughly. Add the remaining 1/4 to 1/2 cup little by little until the dough is just mixed or very slightly dry. The dough will become wetter when you add the zest and work it with your hands. If the dough becomes too sticky add more flour one tablespoon at a time.
4) Separate the dough into two even sized balls and allow to cool down to almost room temperature.
5) Lemon dough: Form a bowl shape with one of the balls of dough and add the lemon zest and lemon essential oil drops, then fold dough over and knead the zest and oil into the ball.
6) Citrus Fresh dough: Using the second ball form a bowl shape with the dough and add the Citrus Fresh essential oil and zest from other citrus fruits into the dough bowl, then fold the dough over and knead thoroughly to incorporate the zest and the oil into the ball.
7) Time to play!
If you are interested in learning more about essential oils or in purchasing some, my friend Nicole has a small shop on Instagram called Dwelling Simple Essential. You can also visit her website, which is a great resource for learning about essential oils.