I made a calm down kit for my youngest daughter for her anxiety and I wanted to include some lavender scented playdough. The playdough makes a good sensory outlet for her and lavender is a soothing scent. I chose purple because purple is supposed to be the most calming colour and it also happens to be her favourite. It turned out really well. I have since made this recipe several times. I have made it on the stovetop or in the KitchenAid. The reason that I prefer that method is because it is easier on my arms. Either method works though.
Lavender Scented Playdough Recipe:
- 2 cups flour
- 1/2 cup salt
- 3 Tbsp. cream of tartar
- 1 Tbsp. lavender or 3 drops lavender essential oil
- 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
- 2 cups water (boiling if using the KitchenAid method)
- purple food colouring
- glitter (optional – I used purple)
- Mix the dry ingredients including the lavender together in a pot and stir in the oil, water and food colouring.
- Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, being sure to scrape the sides and bottom.
- Cook until dough forms a ball.
- Remove from heat.
- Place it on a piece of wax paper.
- If you are adding glitter, add it in at this point.
- Let cool. Store in an airtight container or in a resealable bag.
If you’re not a fan of getting a sore arm from stirring the playdough, you can instead make it in a KitchenAid mixer. To use this method (which I highly recommend!):
- Place the dry ingredients into the mixer.
- Add the oil and food colouring and begin mixing with the flat beater (the one for making dough).
- Add 2 cups of boiling water and continue to mix until a playdough texture is achieved.
- Next, take the dough out of the mixer and knead for one minute. If you’re adding glitter, add it at this stage and knead to combine it throughout the dough.
- Allow to cool. Store in an airtight plastic container or in a resealable bag.
Once the playdough is made, it can be played with just like regular playdough.
As kids knead and pull and shape the dough, the lavender scent and the proprioceptive sensory feedback will provide a calming effect.
You can include a container of lavender playdough in your child’s calm down kit.
Ideas for Sensory Play with Playdough:
- cut with plastic scissors (great for fine motor)
- use a rolling pin
- press cookie cutters in
- shape onto a playdough mat
- press buttons, beads, pipe cleaners, pompoms, dry pasta, shells, small toys, rocks, sticks, pine cones, googly eyes, leaves, keychains, or gems in
For kids who are sensory avoiding, you can put the playdough into a medium sized resealable bag and seal. The child can then squish and squeeze to their heart’s content without the texture of the dough actually touching their hands. They can also trace shapes or letters into the dough through the bag. This playdough engages the tactile, olfactory, visual, and proprioceptive senses.
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Some of our other popular playdough ideas: