Its all about the Dough!

Here at Mess Around we LOVE getting messy with play dough. We always provide a play dough activity at our Messy Play Sessions as there are so many great benefits for the children! Not only is play dough a calming activity but it helps to strengthen little hand muscles and stimulates hand-eye coordination, plus the possibilities for creativity and imaginative play are endless. 

If you’re a stressed-out parent this is the perfect activity for you too. Roll yourself a playdough stress ball and squish the stress away while your little one enjoys the messy play! 

Edible  fruit  play  dough 

This is the perfect play dough recipe for little ones who still like to put everything in their mouth. Not only is it super easy to make, but it’s also gluten-free and contains no salt, so it’s a completely taste-safe recipe for babies and toddlers experiencing the fun of play dough for the first time. 


What you’ll need 

You’ll most likely have these ingredients to hand in the kitchen already. All you need is: 

  • 1 cup of gluten-free cornflour 
  • 1 ½ cups of baby rice 
  • 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • ½ cup of fruit puree*
  • A few drops of water (may not be needed) 

That’s everything – oh, and you’ll need a large mixing bowl and an electric mixer to make it with. 

* If you don’t have any fruit puree you could blitz ¼ tin of soft fruit such as raspberries in a food processor to make some before you start 😊. 

Now you’re ready to make the playdough – it’s so simple!  

Just place the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl, add the vegetable oil and fruit puree and give it a really good mix with your electric mixer. If the dough mixture is too sticky, slowly add a little more baby rice; if it’s too dry, slowly add a few drops of water. Keep adjusting the mixture until it forms a smooth, pliable dough. 

Turn the playdough out onto a work surface and give it a little knead – voila! It’s play time! 

Here’s a short video on how to make  it

Time to play 

Encourage your little one to squish, squash, squeeze, poke, roll and pat the playdough to give their hands and fingers a really good work out. Strengthening their hands and fingers through messy play is such a fun way to help develop their fine motor skills which they will need for pencil and scissor control later in their development. 

Top tip: Once your littlun has finished playing you can store this edible playdough in an airtight container in the fridge for a few days. Just knead it with warm hands to soften it up ready to play again. 

Let’s get this party started!  

We love hosting Messy Birthday Parties for your little ones here at Mess Around, but if you’d prefer to host your own messy birthday party at home, this is the classic playdough recipe that we use for our messy birthday party play trays.  

What you’ll need 

This playdough recipe really couldn’t be easier to make – it will be ready in a matter of minutes, and all you need is these few ingredients: 

  • 2 cups of plain flour 
  • 1/2  cup of salt 
  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil 
  • 2 tablespoons of cream of tartar 
  • Up to 1 ½ cups of boiling water (keep this well out of reach of little ones)
  • A few drops of food colouring (optional) 

Just grab a mixing bowl and a spoon, and you’re ready to get started. 

Simply mix the flour, salt, vegetable oil and cream of tartar in a mixing bowl, then slowly add boiling water to the bowl while stirring continuously. (If you’re colouring your playdough, add food colouring to the boiling water before adding it to the dry mixture). Now to make your playdough super-shiny, stir in the glycerine (this is entirely optional). 

Once the playdough has cooled down, turn it out onto a work surface and knead it for a few minutes until it’s smooth and soft and is no longer sticky. If it still feels too sticky just add a touch more flour until it forms the perfect playdough consistency. 

Tada! You’re finished. Wasn’t that easy? 

Time to play 

Now your play dough is ready it’s time to create a messy birthday party play tray for your playdough loving youngsters! Just add the playdough to a tray with rollers, cutters and your littluns favourite toys and let the party begin! 

Our homemade play dough is so much smoother and softer than shop-bought play dough; what’s more, it doesn’t dry out even after hours of play so you can have lots of messy fun!  

Top tip: Once the party is over you can store this playdough in an airtight container for at least six months, so it’s ready for another messy play session. 

If you’d rather leave the mess to us, click here to find out all about our Messy Birthday Parties and complete the online form to check availability. 

Ice cream parlour 

Play dough offers endless possibilities for creative and imaginative play. One of the favourite activities at our Life’s A Beach Parties is our play dough ice cream parlour so we thought we’d show you how you can easily set up your own ice cream parlour for an imaginative play dough session at home. And what’s more this play dough is super-tasty too!  

What you’ll need 

This simple playdough recipe contains just two ingredients – a tub of ready-made icing (preferably whipped) and a cup of cornflour. That’s it! 

To make the dough, mix the icing with an electric mixer and slowly add in the cornflour one tablespoon at a time until the dough is lovely and soft and not too sticky. If it goes a little dry add a few drops of water to the mixture until it forms the consistency you’re after. 

If you want to make it smell super delicious, you could add a few drops of vanilla or strawberry extract too, but it’s entirely optional. 

Here’s a short video on how to make your Ice Cream Play Dough

Now you’re ready to set up your ice cream parlour! 

Time to play 

Set up your ice cream parlour with bowls, spoons, cones, sprinkles and any other toppings you want to use. Then let your little one take your order and make you an ice cream. They will have so much fun! You could switch roles so that they play the customer too. 

This fun activity not only provides hours of imaginative play but it helps your little one develop their social skills too. Encourage them to describe what they’re doing as they make you an ice cream and chat with them as they play. 

Top tip: A few little tastes of this playdough won’t do any harm but try to encourage your little one not to eat too muchIt’s full of sugar, and you don’t want a hyperactive tot on your hands. 

If you and your kiddies enjoyed the activities in this blog post, you’d love our Mess Box! A subscription-based activity box for hours of family fun delivered straight to your door. Click here to find out more. 

Or why not come along to one of our MessPlay Sessions? All you need to do is come along and mess around and leave the cleaning up to us! What’s not to love? Click here to search for a messy play session near you. 

We look forward to sharing more of our favourite messy play activities with you on the Mess Around blog next month. Subscribe here to be sure not to miss out on the messy fun!  😊 

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