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A Mid-Winter Snow Dough recipe for DIY sensory play

A Mid-Winter Snow Dough recipe for DIY sensory play

 homemade snow dough | fawn&forest

A Mid-Winter Snow Dough recipe for DIY sensory play

Use this simple DIY recipe to make snow dough, a type of play dough perfect for fun sensory play for your child as they make snowballs, snowmen, and much more!

Sensory play is a helpful tool for building children’s cognitive and scientific thinking, literacy, motor skills, and creativity. Doing fun sensory play activities together can take a snow day from a boring time stuck inside to a day full of creative inspirations, exciting opportunities for cognitive growth, and special time together.

I like to keep a few winter-y project stations and sensory play activities around our home, both inside and out. Having different stations for my children to work on as they please can make real snow days much more exciting.

Today’s project: snow dough.

It's a gluten-free play dough with peppermint essential oil added in. The play dough recipe is simple, as with all homemade play dough, but this one uses rice flour which makes the dough extra white and snow-like —

5 Ingredient Snow Dough Recipe

1 cup white rice flour

Heaping 1/2 cup tapioca or arrowroot starch

Shy 1/2 cup fine sea salt

Small splash of vegetable oil or other oil

15+ drops of peppermint essential oil

Mix ingredients together in a large bowl with 1 cup near-boiling water.

Tips for Using Homemade Snow Dough

After years of experience making snow dough with my little ones, I’ve picked up a few tips:

Making Snow Dough

It might take some time to get the recipe just right for your kiddo’s little hands. In my experience, if it's sticky, I add a bit more starch. Likewise, if the dough is too crumbly or dry, add more water or oil.

Storing Your Homemade Playdough

While the process of making snow dough can be an exciting winter activity on its own, you can also store the snow dough so it’s ready to use. Next time you have a snow day or your kiddo needs another activity, you can avoid the extra prep time and just pop out the dough for independent play. To make sure your sensory dough lasts until then, store it in an airtight container.

I also like to keep any additional toys and instruments, like cookie cutters & a small rolling pin, nearby in a basket for easy access. Similarly, if you use little toy animals or sensory items like those listed below, store them near your dough.

Choosing Sensory Activities with Snow Dough

One of the great parts about sensory dough is that there are so many kids activities you can choose from, all open-ended and supportive to your child’s emotional, communicative, and social development (read more about that here).

Depending on your child’s age, interests, and the materials you have to work with, there are tons of activities to choose from. Here are some of my favorites:

Science Activities:

Making the play dough is a scientific activity all on its own! Depending on the sensory dough recipe, your child can experiment with ingredients like baking soda, flour, oil, and cornstarch. Working to find the perfect mix of ingredients and using measuring utensils and kitchenware lets your child build their scientific thinking and problem-solving skills.

You can also explore other science-based activities, like hiding mini animals in the dough for kiddos to find, or building structures with the dough and other materials.

Creativity Activities:

Support your child’s creative thinking by suggesting they build with their sensory dough. You’ll be surprised to see what they come up with in their small world of snow, whether it’s snowballs, snowmen, snowflakes, a tiger, or an alien!

Building a sensory bin is another great way to inspire creativity in younger children. The tactile play that a sensory bin offers supports that creative spark, letting young children explore different materials with all their senses. Along with the snow dough, you can add objects like mini plastic creatures, dry rice or beans, feathers, multi-color beads, or even some silver glitter if you can manage the mess!

Literacy & Math Activities:

Plastic animals aren’t the only objects you can add: incorporating mini letters and numbers into your DIY snow dough is the perfect way to practice early literacy skills. If you have a preschooler or even a 2-year-old with beginning literacy skills, adding some letters for them to explore is a fun way to engage those skills early on.

Exposing little ones to numbers and letters is so important for their future appreciation of and growth in literacy and mathematics. By adding a few plastic numbers and letters to your ingredient list, your child can see, touch, and explore the parts of the alphabet they’ll soon start to know by name.


One final tip: roll any extra dough into an oval and smush your child's handprint into it. I seem to do this every year, and as imperfect as they are, I'm so thankful to have these little moments captured all these years later!

We also love to keep snow dough around for little ones to use with pretend play items like play kitchens, art projects, and other creative activities. Tour our collection of hand-selected children’s toys, all chosen to support your child’s imagination and cognitive growth.

Play dough can indeed be messy at times but worth the joy. Supporting healthy development, making memories together, and allowing children to explore their creative side is why homemade snow dough is one of our favorite family activities.

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