Sensory Play Activity for Toddlers – play dough nature creations

sensory play activity

Each week while I teach yoga to their Mums, I try and have a little sensory play activity set up for the toddlers in the kid’s room. Basically I do this for one main reason.


Kids happy = Mums Happy.


While I do hire a carer for the Mums & Bubs class we are a free flowing space, which means the kids can come and go to their Mums in the yoga room as they please.  I try to set up a fun activity for them to do each week purely to try and keep them occupied and away from Mum for as long as possible.


After I posted some pics of what we did last week I had a few comments and questions so I thought maybe I’d start sharing what we do each week here.


My original plan for this activity was some good ol’ pasta necklace making, because I have a couple of 3 year olds who I thought would love this.  The play dough and nature pieces were added as a second part because I needed something to keep my 1 and 2 year olds busy while the others did some threading.


I really should have learnt by now not to doubt the popularity of play dough though.  They ALL ended up playing with the play dough and the pasta was mostly used as echidna spikes in the dough.


Because I have a mix of ages I always make sure that everything I use is edible because… we know what one year olds do with everything.  Everyone commented on how good this play dough smelled, because of the green probiotic powder I added to colour it.  (Which is good that this expensive supplement is being appreciated somewhere, because honestly is makes me gag when I have to take it.)


Playdough Recipe


2 cups plain flour

3 tbsp coconut oil

1 tbsp green probiotic powder

1/2 cup table salt

2 tbsp cream of tartar

1.5 cups boiling water


  1. Mix all of the dry ingredients together in a bowl.
  2. Mix through the coconut oil.
  3. Pour in half the water and mix. Pour in the remaining water slowly, adding more or less if needed. (If it becomes too dry add a touch more water. If it becomes too wet add some more flour on your hands).
  4. Once it’s starting to stick together knead the dough until it’s smooth.
  5. Store in a sealed container in the fridge.


How to make the coloured pasta

1 packet of pasta

food dye

white vinegar

  1. Split your pasta into generous sized bowls (split into the number of colours you will use).
  2. In a cup mix 1 tablespoon of vinegar and 4 to 8 drops of food dye.
  3. Pour the dye over the pasta and mix until covered.
  4. Spread the pasta on a baking tray and either pop it in the sun for a couple of hours or in a low oven.


What nature pieces to collect?

You could definitely just do this activity with the play dough and the pasta. We also collected a few pieces from our local park to give the kids more options for creating little animals out of the dough. These are obviously just some ideas – you can basically collect anything from your backyard or local park – just check for bugs first!

  • pinecones
  • dry leaves
  • seeds and seed pods
  • sticks
  • shells
  • rocks and pebbles
  • gumnuts


This sensory play activity probably should come with a warning.

This activity is MESSY. (Although I’m guessing you already knew that.)  It would definitely be more manageable if you were doing this at home with just one or two kids, and could control the mess somewhat, but in our space we just embraced the mess and just rolled with it.  One of my little girls wasn’t really into the play dough and just enjoyed unpacking the pasta onto the floor instead.


I even announced after the Mama’s woke up from Savasana – “as you open your eyes and return to the room do not give in to the temptation to pick up or clean anything. This isn’t your mess, it’s ok.”


Instead I enlisted child labour to help me clean it up after “our friends” (as Rory calls them) left. *


*Reality. He insisted on using the broom and sweeping everything into a bigger mess until I could finally convince him that he would get lunch faster if he let me do it.


So that’s the wrap up of our activity from last week. What’s your favourite activity to do with your kids? Send your ideas my way for the coming weeks – maybe I’ll give out prizes for the activity that keeps the kids occupied for the longest.

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