What You Didn't Know About Play Dough from The Tiny Mess Club

By Valerie Geschwind and Jess Piccinich, The Tiny Mess Club April 10, 2024

We are Jess and Valerie, founders of The Tiny Mess Club.  We both believe deeply in the power of process-driven sensory play to cultivate creativity, learning, resilience, and community. We are most joyful when we are on the floor with kids, following their lead as they explore, make, question, and get messy. You can learn more about us at The Tiny Mess Club.  Come visit us in one of our classes; your little one can make a mess and we can do the clean-up! Sharing the magic with caregivers is important to us so you can easily create sensory play at home.  Through our collaboration with Macaroni KID, we’ll be bringing you a series of how-to articles of our favorite sensory experiences.

Playdough, that colorful, squishy delight, isn’t just for making miniature sculptures. It’s a versatile tool that can turn ordinary moments into imaginative adventures for you and your little one. Here are some simple yet exciting ways to use playdough, turning playtime into a world of creativity and connection.

  1. Storytelling Creations: Transform playdough into characters, creating a whimsical world for storytelling. Enjoy telling your favorite stories through shared imagination.
  1. Letter and Number Play: Flatten playdough to build letters and numbers. This playful approach introduces early literacy and numeracy skills in a way that feels like pure fun.
  1. Color Mixing Magic: Combine different-colored playdough to create a mini art lesson, where primary colors blend to form new hues, fostering a basic understanding of color theory.
  1. Nature-Inspired Impressions: Bring the outdoors in by pressing collected leaves, twigs, or flowers into the playdough. This simple activity connects playtime with the wonders of nature, fostering appreciation for the world around us.
  1. Family Playdough Challenge: Elevate playdough time into a family challenge. Invite each family member to create something unique and participate in a delightful "show and tell" session, turning it into a shared creative experience.

Playdough is more than just a modeling compound; it's a conduit for shared adventures and imaginative exploration. These activities transcend simple play, fostering bonding, creativity, and skill development. So, let playdough be the catalyst for laughter, exploration, and the creation of lasting memories with your little ones!


Here is our favorite playdough recipe so that you can make your own Tiny Mess inspired playdough at home. 

You will need: 

  • A pot 
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1 cup of salt
  • 2 tablespoons of oil
  • 4 tablespoons of cream of tartar
  • 2 cups of water
  • Optional: food coloring 

To make: 

  1. Mix everything in the pot.
  2. Turn the fire on a medium heat. 
  3. Mix until a ball starts to form and the dough is no longer sticky. 
  4. Once the playdough is cool, mush and squish it until it’s smooth. 
  5. Store your playdough in an airtight container. Enjoy it!

Did you enjoy this recipe? There’s plenty more sensory fun when you come and get messy with us!  Spring registration is now open here!

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