There’s a little nip in the air in the mornings, which means Autumn is just around the corner! Using this fantastic play dough recipe makes it easy to substitute ingredients (like this Apple Cinnamon dough) to transform it into something new. Children love the pumpkin pie scent of the Autumn Harvest play dough in this themed sensory center!
Autumn Harvest Play Dough Recipe
- 1 cup flour
- 1 TBS cream of tartar
- ½ cup salt
- 1 cup water
- 2 TBS oil
- 2 TBS Pumpkin Pie Spice
- Orange Food Coloring, as desired
In a medium saucepan: mix flour, cream of tartar, spice, and salt. Gradually add water, oil, and food coloring. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until dough pulls away from the pan sides. Remove from heat. Put on the kitchen counter and knead until smooth.
The Benefits of Play Dough Centers
The squishy resistance of play dough makes it a natural material for exploration and investigation. Students love to manipulate, squash, squeeze, roll, flatten, chop, cut, poke, tear, and build with it. Each action builds up hand strength that children will need for pencil and scissor control.
As other elements are added to the play dough center, the list of benefits and creative play possibilities continues to grow!
Set Up an Autumn Harvest Play Dough Center
The first thing children notice about this dough is the enticing aroma. However, adding other fall items can add to the educational value as well as make it even more irresistible. Try adding some of these items:
- Dried “Indian” corn
- Acorns and Acorn Tops
- Pine Cones
- Mini Pumpkins, squash and gourds
- Fall leaves
Fall leaves are especially lovely for extending the learning. If real leaves are not available, you can substitute silk leaves from the local dollar store floral section. Encourage the children to make prints with the leaves. Compare these dough prints to leaf rubbings. What is the same? What is different? Nature has a fantastic way of keeping our children’s attention and focus.
Encourage your children to roll the materials in the dough and make prints. They can explore all of the different ways that the acorns can make impressions. Try pressing the lid in to make circles. Turn it over and see what it looks like upside down.
Trick or Treat!
When you need a non-sugary “treat” to give out on Halloween, what could be better than their very own dough to take home and enjoy? Children love to receive this play dough as a gift. Start by making a double batch – one for your classroom and one for gifts. Then roll some into individual balls and place them inside a gift bag or plastic bag. Finally, attach one of these “Autumn Harvest Play Dough” gift tags and maybe some small add-ins such as acorns, toy spiders, even jack-o-lantern shapes cut from play foam. All treat, no trick!