Build Fine Motor Skills with Play Dough

Today was a day for a new recipe! For the first time ever I made Kool-Aid play dough. My mom had mailed me some, so I thought it would be fun to add it to our play dough for a fun orange smell! Jaida is already begging for pink, so we will definitely make another batch soon. For now we worked to build fine motor skills with play dough and a bunch of fun small parts in a fall theme. Of course, I didn’t tell Jaida that’s what we were doing. She was just having fun using her imagination.

Fall Fine Motor Play Dough

I found a recipe for Kool-Aid play dough on the Kraft foods website. Of course, I wanted to tweak it a little bit. You can find the original stove-top recipe here.

I didn’t want to cook it on the stove because I have very weak wrists and the stirring required for that is too much for me. Instead I wanted to use a mixer to do the hard work.

Here’s the recipe I ended up with:

2 cups flour

1 cup salt

4 tsp. cream of tartar

2 Tbsp. oil

2 packages of Kool-Aid mix

1 1/2 cups of water

Corn starch until the correct ‘play dough’ consistency (I used 1/4 cup)

The original recipe called for 2 cups of water for that amount of flour, but because I used the mixer I needed to use a lot less water. That’s where the corn starch came in. When I added 1 1/2 cups of water I realized that it was going to be too sticky. So I added a little bit of corn starch until the play dough was the right consistency. Just before it appeared to be the right texture, I took it out of the mixer and kneaded the remaining corn starch in by hand.

I love making play dough with corn starch because it makes it feel so much smoother than just using flour. I almost didn’t want to give it to the kids.

I wanted to play with the play dough myself.

Jaida set right to work after I gave her the play dough. The orange color and knowing that it is fall must have inspired her. We don’t do Halloween, but she made a fun pumpkin face within a minute of me letting her loose.

play dough pumpkin face

I probably shouldn’t tell you that those adorable black & white sleeves are her pjs & it was noon…

play dough and loose parts

All the pinching and poking was great for building hand strength. Which she doesn’t realize means that she will be able to write easier!

loose parts and fall play dough

After that she created a bus for some farm animals.

At least that’s what she said it was.

When I asked her why one of the animals was almost buried, she told me that it had a seat belt on. Safety first!

Then, we decided to get out a magnifying glass and take a closer look the items on the ‘bus’. We had fun checking out the different textures and the way the light moved through the pumpkins.

play dough with magnifying glass

What will you do with your play dough?!?!? I’d love to see!

fall fine motor play dough activity featured image

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  1. I have so many of these items and I never thought of using them inside of the play dough that is such an awesome idea!!! just like you said they are developing muscles to use for writing without even knowing it which is the best way for kids to learn!