Some of my favorite recipes that I've used with kids during OT sessions or camps and that give a super sensory experience! An adult should always monitor the child when playing with these items.

Play Dough/Doh Variations:

SCENTED PLAY DOH: (smells awesome and the kids LOVE IT!)

2 packages of sugar free Kool Aid or .3oz of gelatin ; (use any flavor you want, as the dough will have that scent when done; SCENTED PLAY DOH: (smells awesome and the kids LOVE IT!)

2 cups flour
1 cup salt
4 tablespoons cream of tartar
2 cups boiling water
2 tablespoons cooking oil

Mix dry ingredients together in pot, and add the boiling water and cooking oil. Stir over medium heat until it forms a ball. Let it cool. Keep in air tight container in the refrigerator when not playing with it.

MICROWAVE PLAY DOH: (scented, if use Kool Aid)

6 tablespoons cream of tartar
3 cups plain flour
4 tablespoons cooking oil
1/2 cup salt
3 cups water
food coloring/powder paint/or Kool Aid packet

Combine all ingredients in microwave proof dish and beat until smooth. Cover with cling wrap and microwave on high for 7 minutes, stirring half way through cooking. If the mixture is still gooey, microwave for another minute. (Since all microwaves are different, be sure to watch the dough while cooking). Cool and store in airtight container in the refrigerator.


1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 cup water
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
lots of cinnamon, allspice, ginger, nutmeg!

Mix the flour, salt, and cream of tartar together. Play with the spices until you get the scent and color you want, and add to dry ingredients. Mix water and oil together FIRST, then add them to the dry ingredients and stir. In a pot, cook the mixture for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring frequently. The dough will start to pull away from the sides of the pot and clump together. Take the dough out of the pot and knead it until soft and smooth. Allow to cool and store in an airtight container.

Washable Window Paint:

Tempera paints (powdered or pre-mixed)
clear dishwashing liquid

Mix powdered paint with dish soap until it resembles “house paint”,OR, mix just a little dish soap into premixed paints. Line the window sash with masking tape and be sure to spread newspaper around to protect the area. To erase paint, or touch up mistakes, just wipe paint away with a dry paper towel.

Warning: Could be toxic if ingested


Balloon Blob:

Regular balloons
All-purpose flour

1. Blow up a balloon and keep it inflated for at least 1 minute. Do NOT tie a knot in the end. After 1 minute, let all the air out.
2. Fit a funnel into the open end of the balloon. Carefully spoon flour into the funnel, tapping and shaking the funnel to get the flour into the balloon. Put as much flour into the balloon as you can.
3. Remove the funnel. Tie a knot in the end of the balloon.
4. Wash and dry the balloon blob
5. Draw a face or design on the blob if you like. Push, pull, and stretch it into different shapes.


Paper Mache:

4 large newspaper sheets
2 quarts of water
2 tablespoons Elmer’s glue
2 tablespoons wall paper paste
clear vinyl sealer or sealer (optional, for waterproofing)
sodium phosphate (optional, for fireproofing)

Tear four large newspaper sheets into small pieces. Place pieces in container with 2 quarts of water and let soak overnight.

The next morning, place mixture in a cooking pan and boil for 20 minutes. Using a whisk, whip the paper mixture until it is soft and pulpy. Place the mixture in a strainer, tapping several times to shake out the water. Squeeze gently until the mixture is a soft, pulpy, moist lump. Place pulp into a bowl and stir in 2 tablespoons of liquid Elmer’s glue, then 2 tablespoons of wall paper paste. Stir until the mixture is smooth. This makes one quart of paiper-mache mash.

Notes: Sanded or not, papier-mache objects may be painted with any water-based paint. To waterproof surfaces of paiper-mache objects and make them more durable, spray the finished object with a clear vinyl sealer or give it at least 3 coats of laquer. To fireproof an object stir in one teaspoon of sodium phosphate to each cup of paste for strips, or to each cup of water when making the mash.

Warning: Could be toxic if ingested 

Bead Clay:

3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
1/2 cup cornstarch
warm water
sealant (optional)

Mix flour, salt and cornstarch in a bowl. Add warm water gradually until mixture forms a shape. Knead. Form into beads and pierce with toothpicks. Allow to dry. Paint and string the beads. Seal if desired.

Fingerpaint Variations:

1. Flavored pudding
2. Liquid starch and tempera paint. (if necessary, thicken with cornstarch)
Warning: Could be toxic if ingested

3. Ivory Snow flakes and enough water to make it “gloppy”.
Warning: Could be toxic if ingested

4. Corn starch and water until a “glue consistency”. Cook until clear gel consistency.
5. Mix 1 quart boiling water, food coloring, 1 cup cornstarch, and 1/2 cup Ivory Snow. Cook briefly.
Warning: Could be toxic if ingested


1 cup Ivory Snow flakes
enough water to give a “whipped cream consistency”
food coloring
Mix the water and soap flakes. Beat with a rotary beater until creamy. Add food coloring for different colors.
Warning: Could be toxic if ingested


1 cup flour
2 teaspoons salt
3 cups cold water
3 cups boiling water
food coloring

Mix the flour and salt in an electric skillet. Add the cold water and stir until smooth. Add the hot water and stir until boiling. Boil until clear. Then add desired food coloring. Mix until smooth.


1 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 cup water
food coloring
Mix flour and salt, add water. The mixture will be “grainy”.


3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup cornstarch
2 cups cold water
food coloring
soap flakes or liquid dishwashing detergent

Mix sugar and cornstarch in saucepan. Turn heat on low, add cold water and stir until mixture is thick. Remove from heat. Divide mixture into 4 or 5 portions, spooning into muffin tin sections or small cups. Add a few drops of food coloring and a pinch of soap flakes, or a drop of dishwashing liquid to each cup. Stir and cool before use. Store covered.

Warning: Could be toxic if ingested


1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup cold water
3 cups cold water
food coloring

In a large saucepan, mix the flour with 1 cup cold water. Stir until smooth. Then add the 3 cups cold water. Cook over medium heat, stirring until mixture thickens and bubbles. Reduce heat and simmer 1 minute more, stirring constantly. Divide into 3 heat-resistant bowls. Tint with food coloring. Cover and cool.

Gook/Flubber/Gak and Variations:


4 teaspoons Borax (find in cleaning supplies or laundry isle of grocery store)
1 cup warm water
lots of food coloring
2 cups white glue (craft stores sell it by the gallon)
1 1/2 cups VERY hot water

In a small bowl, mix the Borax with the warm water. Stir with fingers to dissolve. Add lots of food coloring as it seems to absorb it.

In a large bowl, pour the glue into the hot water (as hot as you can get it without burning yourself). Stir with your fingers as you add the glue.

Slowly add contents of the Borax bowl to the glue bowl, mixing with your fingers constantly. There will be a cool chemical reaction as the Flubber solidifies. Keep stirring and mixing until it no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl. Pour off excess liquid (there usually is).

Begin playing! Store Flubber in an airtight container. It will keep for about 2 weeks.

Note: it may stain fabrics and clothes when fresh, so keep it away from carpeted areas and wear smocks or old shirt.

Warning: Could be toxic if ingested


1 cup white glue (Elmer’s)
1 cup liquid starch
food coloring

Put glue and food coloring into plastic container. Add starch a little at a time, stirring constantly. Keep stirring until mixture holds together like putty. Test with your fingers, if too sticky, add more starch in small amounts until mass is smooth and rubbery. Now, have fun playing with it…stretching, pulling, bouncing, making transfers of the Sunday comics. Store in airtight container.

Warning: Could be toxic if ingested


liquid corn starch
white glue (Elmer’s)
food coloring if desired
Mix the two items together until it has a thick, slippery feeling.
To play: Moosh and squeeze, see how funny it feels!

Warning: Could be toxic if ingested


Mix cornstarch and water until it has a thick, watery feeling.

To play: It will feel dry when you pick it up but turns “goopy and watery” as you squeeze it and let it drip through your fingers. It is pretty wild! Store in covered container. If it dries out over time, you can revive it by adding a small amount of water.

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