Spring Garden Play Dough Set

Mar 15, 2015

With spring just around the corner, my daughter and I have been clearing out our winter-themed play dough sets and making way for fun, new spring-themed ones. We love play dough and usually keep a few different sets on hand, which means that we always have a no-prep activity ready to pull out and play with. This one, our new spring garden play dough set, has already inspired several mornings of creativity and has been a total hit with my little one. 

First off, we made three separate batches of our favourite no-cook play dough in black, brown, and green to resemble grass, dirt, and potting soil. We’ve used this recipe for years and just love it as it’s soft, stretchy, and long-lasting. Obviously, you can use your own recipe or even store-bought play dough, but if you’d like to give ours a try, I’d highly recommend it.  Here it is:

  • 1 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of cream of tartar
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon of glycerine
  • 3/4 cup of boiling water
  • approximately 1/2 teaspoon of gel food colouring

To make it, whisk together everything but the boiling water and gel food colouring. Then, stir the gel food colouring into the boiling water and pour the coloured water into the main mixture. Give the dough a really good mix and then let it cool for a few minutes until it’s safe to knead. When ready, dump the dough onto a clean surface and knead well for about 2 or 3 minutes. While it may feel a little sticky at first, avoid the urge to add flour until the dough is fully cooled. By the time it is, it should be the perfect consistency!

Three balls of finished play dough: black, brown and green.

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With the lovely dough ready, you’ll want to collect a few other items for your spring garden play dough set. Ours includes some inexpensive faux flowers, some small planting pots, and several plastic ladybugs just for fun. Place your items onto a tray and invite your little one over to play!

A shallow wooden tray set out with play dough, faux flowers, plastic ladybugs and three small plastic pots.

Of course, here’s where the real fun begins...  It’s time to get planting!

When it comes to play dough, we have some well-established rules (the dough must stay on the table and be put back into a sealed container when done), but other than that, I usually leave play dough activities up to my little one’s interpretation and she’s free to use the materials as she likes.

A young girl placing a faux flower into a pot filled with black play dough.

Inevitably, she comes up with all kinds of interesting ways to create using the play dough and loose parts and it was no different with our spring garden set. 

Three pots filled with brown and black play dough, faux flowers and plastic lady bugs, sitting on a

By the time she was done playing, we’d had potted gardens, grassy knolls filled with flowers, traditional flower gardens, and even a lady bug cave! When we were done, we simply placed all of our materials into a big divided container for storage, and there’s no doubt that we’ll be bringing it out again soon!

Article Author Jen Kossowan
Jen Kossowan

See all of Jen's posts.

Jen is a teacher, blogger, and mama to a spirited little lady and a preemie baby boy. She's passionate about play, loves a good DIY project, adores travelling, and can often be found in the kitchen creating recipes that meet her crunchy mama criteria. You can follow Jen on her blog, Mama.Papa.Bubba, and on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

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