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Sensory Play for Mealtime

DIY Food Scented Playdough!

You know I love a good sensory activity!

As I planned my "Let's Eat" small group for the week, I remembered how much I enjoy incorporating play dough into sensory play. Then it dawned on me. As a way to lead into snack time for a therapy session, I will create aromas for the play dough using essential oils and food flavoring oils.

The recipe I used can be found below, along with various ways we used the playdough prior to diving into our meal time.

The recipe for the playdough is from

2 Cups of Flour

2 Tbsp of Oil, I used fractionated coconut oil

1/2 Cup of Salt

2 Tbsp Cream of Tartar

1 1/2 Cup Boiling Water

Gel Food Coloring ( You can use regular food coloring but the color will not be as vibrant)

You will need citrus essential oils and/or the LorAnnfood oils of your choice.

I chose Young Livings Lemon and Orange oil, as well as LorAnn's apple and strawberry oil.

To create the playdough, first put 1/5 cups of water on the stove to boil. While you are waiting, add the flour, oil, salt, and Cream of Tartar to a bowl. Mix well. Once the water is boiling, power the water over your flour mixture and begin to stir. It will be hot so please be care. Continue to manipulate the mixture until it is the consistency of dough. Set aside and allow to cool.

Once cool, separate into four equal parts to create four balls of dough. Create a divot into each ball with your thumb. Add several drops of desired dye to each ball of dough. Manipulate the dough until the color is well mixed.

Next, create the balls of dough and create a divot in each once more. Add 10-15 drops of your essential oil/food oils to the dough and knead until well mixed. You should be able to hold the dough to your nose and be able to identify the aroma.

Try to match your color with a corresponding aroma. For instance, Lemon was yellow dough, Orange was orange dough, Strawberry was red, and Green was apple.

Store each ball of dough separately in a small jar or individual bags.

How do you incorporate this into a feeding focused sensory activity?

Simple! You touch, smell, look, and manipulate that dough. Talk about what it smells like. Describe what you think it smells and tastes like. Provide the child with vocabulary so they can associate certain words with smells. All them to roll, cut, smash, explore the different color dough. Ask them what it reminds them of.

You can even help them create food with the dough! This activity will get them excited and get their senses excited to explore their upcoming meal or snack time.

It will be a huge hit for everyone!


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