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The Fragrance of Fall: Two Ingredient, Apple-Scented Playdough

For most, autumn has been, well, stinky. It’s time to ditch the stench and the alter the aroma. Enter the respite of sensory play, and not just any sensory play…the molding and squeezing of a heap of seasonally-scented dough.

Rainy Day Mum introduced me to just the thing. Here’s what you need to know to make the magic happen.

Homemade Apple-Scented Playdough

You’ll need:

  • 1 cup of all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup of apple-scented dish soap or shampoo (We used body wash; worked just fine.)
  • Optional food coloring (We couldn’t resist red.)

Add the soap or shampoo to the flour; mix; knead until smooth; and add the food coloring. If it’s too sticky, incorporate a sprinkling of extra flour. If it’s too dry, give it a dish-soap dollop.

My children made the dough several days ago and have been sprinkling in extra flour every morning, as it gets a bit sticky overnight.

Edible alternative

I chose the above recipe because my daughters can make it independently and it doesn’t involve the stove. If, however, you know your child will attempt to eat the dough, I recommend Imagination Tree’s recipe. It’s a traditional playdough recipe with the apple scent steeped into the water via tea bags. Genius. But more work. You decide.

Why playdough?

Preparing and playing with apple playdough together is a fun way to relax, connect, enjoy a seasonal scent, and make memories. That’s truly reason enough to get started. Consider, too, additional advantages:

  • Whipping up seasonal playdough together is a gratifying, non-threatening, and safe opportunity to practice cooking techniques for those who are blind or visually impaired including use of accessible measuring cups.
  • The sensory input of playdough play can be calming. It can also help your child stay focused and alert. For example, my girls play with playdough while I read to them or while practicing multiplication facts.
  • Squeezing, pulling, twisting, and pinching the dough helps develop fine motor skills and hand strength.
  • Determining and talking about what you smell, hear, and feel as you work with and combine the individual ingredients improves your child’s sensory efficiency and language development.
  • Comparing the feel, weight, and scent of your apple-shaped dough to a real apple aids in concept development.

Have fun! And when you’re ready for your next project, why not try baking seasonal braille cookies together.