Playdough activities

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Playdough activity ideas for children and adults A tactile wholegrain playdough recipe using wholemeal brown flour and wheat. If you love bakeries andthe smell of raw dough, this delicious idea is definitely for you! It's notedible, rolls beautifully and is made from a variety of ingredients that, aside from the ears of wheat, can most likely be gathered from the kitchen food cupboard. A bunch of dried grain stalks can be easily sourced online or, maybe you have a local cereal crop owner happy to donate a handful of ears to the cause of early learning! For the young doughy sculpters there are a few printables activity sheets that help with counting, colouring and playdough shaping skills.

Wholegrain playdough recipe using wholemeal brown flour

To Make, place the brown wholemeal brown flour, salt, water,oil and cream of tartar in a saucepan and cook over a moderate heat, stir continuously until the mixture comes together to form a ball. Turn this out and allow the mound to cool a little before kneading it into a smooth, soft textured dough.The elastic consistency will continue to improve the more it's played with, one of the awesome things about handmade playdough! Store in an airtight container.

'Help develop toddler's fine motor skills by placing a range of malleable materials in a basin' Play and Learning in the Early Years p41 Jennie Lindon, Alice Sharp 

For children to enjoy the first hand experience of dough making, provide the resources for them to make their own. It won't keep as long as cooked versions but the learning this activity involves offers a great many opportunities to discover material properties, what wet and dry ingredients look like,how they smell, feel and move, and what happens when they're mixed together. If the entire process concludes, there's additional possibilities held in the doughy outcome!

Quantities recipe ingredients 

 150gm whole wheat brown flour 

 130gm salt

 2 tbs cream of tartar (optional)

 2tbs oil

 200ml water  

 'loose parts' to decorate the surface and body of the cooked dough

ears of wheat or corn (green in July, golden in october)  

bird seed  

rolled oats  

Tools: rolling pins, scissors and cutters  
Wholemeal playdough activities


Preschool numbers 1-10 playdough counting cards ideal for young children as they encounter numeral formations, sequences and begin to discover the concept of totals, addition and subtraction. Print the set of cards and cut out each one individually. Laminate to protect the paper from any oils in the playdough and if wanted hole punch to make them into a flip chart resource.  Explain to the children how they can roll grains of playdough to fill in the missing/greyed out areas of each wheat stalk, so making the number up to 10. If you've used the flipchart option have fun turning over each completed page and squishing the dough between cards! The laminate ensures the dough and any chalk pens will wipe off cleanly ready for using again.

 FRONT cover and counting mat
 Playdough wheat grain cards 1 and 2
 Playdough wheat grain cards 3 and 4

 Playdough wheat grain cards 5 and 6
 Playdough wheat grain cards 7 and 8
 Playdough wheat grain cards 9 and 10
playdough number cards
Harvest wheat grain number card - preschool playdough counting activity
Preschool number cards 3-4
Nursery maths activity for children's early maths. Number cards 5-6
Harvest wheat counting cards for preschool and nursery - numbers 7-8
Autumn themed harvest activity number card counting 9-10
 Preschool children counting mats 1-10
 Wheat grain counting playdough sheet

Ear of wheat outline template

Wheat stalk shaping

Wheat collage and tracing activity sheet
Roll balls of dough to fill in the ears of wheat
Wheat ear oultine template for playdough, collage and to celebrate Lammas harvest time
Playdough rope rolling shape mat
Wheat playdough mat - tracing and collage activity sheet

Empty laminated pouches  make great tracing sheets. Attach them ontop of the chosen picture using paperclips and write on the surface using chalk pens. Remove when ready and fill with pieces of playdough.
Harvest wheat playdough modelling and tracing activity
Wheat tracing picture and playdough grain modelling
Wheat grain counting and shapes practice adding with small ballsof playdough and numbers up to 10. On the shapes sheet, roll out ropes of dough and form them using the words as labels.
Wheat grain playdough counting activity sheet
PLaydough shapes activity sheet - harvest wheat
An alternative to buying or requesting wheat stems is to grow your own! Ours grew naturally, albeit somewhat wildly in a tub at the bottom of the outdoor garden surrounded by tall unfettered grass and yellow toadflax. Perfect seeds to include in your meadow area or verge side spring sowing!

Grow your own wheat
wheat, barley, oat or rye seeds

Being July the heads are currently green, perfect for picking so that come August when they've ripened into their familiar gold, there'll be a nice colour contrast to explore.

Once you have everything ready, use the ears to decorate and surface print.This can be made more interesting by using rolling pins. Arrange the ears as wished and then press down firmly to cause an indentation, flattening with a roller acheives deeper, detailed imprints. Lift the stalks gently to see the positive and negative space created by the new impressions.
Make impressions in the surface of the dough by rolling over ears of wheat and then lifting them out.

Collecta selection of seeds, we had bird feed and rolled oats to hand, but sunflower,corn and poppy seeds all make excellent 'loose parts' that children can scatter and sprinkle across the table and  dough's, adding a different dimension to'bread' making, sculpting and modelling activities.

Spices and herbs expand these sensory experiences, altering the earthy raw dough aroma with a dusting of your favourite scent, one or other of cinnamon,saffron, vanilla or rosemary, sage, thyme.

Educationally, this recipe provides opportunities for children to discover where flour comes from, how they're ground and the way grains differ in terms of our body health and well-being. Look at the benefits of wholemeal foods-
UK Grain Chain. 

When included in roleplay a bakery appears! supporting children's social skills and language development as they bake, display, describe and sell their wares.

Physically, playdough remains an outstanding medium for exercising finemotor skills, coordination and helping the dexterity of hands, fingers, wrists, and arms. Important factors for young children's pre-writing ability as the malleable compound is plaited, pummeled, rolled, shaped and cut to reflect the ideas of the artist.

Wholegrain brown playdough - pretend play bakeries and bread plaits

Research: Simon Nicholson and the theory of loose parts, article on

More activity ideas

 Grow your own wheat

 Harvest scarecrow

 weaving on google,


Buy ears of corn and wheat on
Buy wheat seed on
Buy rolled oats on
Buy pretend play bread slices on

Buy bird seed to sort and feed from
Buy large barrel shaped planters on
Buy compost bags on
Buy left and right handed children's safety scissors on
4 patterned wooden rolling pins
Buy wooden stampers on
More playdough recipes
Cranberry playdough recipe - festive Christmas and Yule ingredients
lemon pancake playdough recipe
Lavender playdough
Brussles Sprouts playdough squashing
Sand clay recipe
Hickory Dickry playdough
Daffodil playdough
Spiderweb playdough mats


 Edibleplaydough recipes
 Notfor eating  playdoughrecipes
 Analphabet of playdough

Aa- Bb- Cc- Dd- Ee- Ff- Gg- Hh- Ii- Jj- Kk

 Ll- Mm- Nn- Oo- Pp- Qq- Rr- Ss- Tt - Uu
 Vv- Ww- Xx- Yy- Zz  

 Seasonalplaydough activities  
 Colourthemed playdough activities
 Mixed- metallic rainbow and duos


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Copyright notice - designed, written and illustrated by Ruth Grimes