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  • Writer's pictureLight the Way Therapy

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Play-Dough

Looking back, one of my favorite childhood memories was when my mom would make my sister and me homemade play-dough. She would often involve us with cooking it and then we would play for hours with our fresh play-dough. I remember having a huge bin filled with cookie butters, rolling pins of different sizes, plates, plastic knives, etc.

Every fall, when I begin planning my fall themed therapy, homemade play-dough always makes the cut! I often cook it at home and bring it in to therapy for my patients to enjoy. This year, due to COVID-19, I made double batches so each child can play with their own portion in therapy and also take it home to work on carryover activities with parents and caregivers.

I found cute Halloween cookie cutters at my local Walmart and allowed each child to choose one cookie cutter to play with and take home as well!

There are so many great language goals you can address with play-dough!

- Requesting: almost all of my patients requested for me to "help" them with rolling out the dough. Give your child only a portion of the play-dough and have them work on asking for "more".

- Commenting: this week we worked on various commenting words like "wow", "yuck", "uh-oh", "yum", etc.

- Pretend play: because my play-dough was pumpkin spice scented, some of my patients pretended they were making a pumpkin pie and wanted me to "eat". We worked on some fine-motor skills like cutting up our play-dough log and pretend to cook it- "Ouch hot!". We also made our cut out shapes come to life. For the bat I would make them fly and have my patients imitate flying their bats too.

- Sensory play: some kiddos do not like the texture of play-dough. If your child has a sensory aversion consult with your OT and SLP about ways to work on building up their tolerance. If your child does not have a sensory aversion, you can still talk about the way play-dough feels/smells (i.e. "soft", "gooey", "spicy" etc). This play-dough recipe is made with editable ingredients, although it is extremely salty. For a good sensory activity- you can have your child taste a little piece and talk about how it does not taste good- "yuck!".

- Following directions: if you are planning on making this at home with your child, a great skills to work on is following directions. Read through the recipe together. Let them help you mix and dump ingredients in.

- Sequencing: Just like following directions, sequencing is such a great skill to work on when making homemade play-dough at home! Read through the steps with your child and have them tell you what needs to be done first, second, third, etc.

Making play-dough is such a great activity to do with your child at home as it builds not only great language skills, but also life skills as well! Here is the recipe I used to make the Pumpkin Spice Play-Dough:

Pumpkin Spice Play-Dough

1 cup flour

1 cup water

1/4 cup salt

1 Tbsp vegetable oil

2 Tsp cream of tartar

1/2-1 Tsp pumpkin pie spice

4-6 drops of orange food coloring

Halloween themed cookie-cutters

Small rolling pin

Plastic knife

* Combine all ingredients (aside from cookie cutters, rolling pin, and knife) into a medium sized saucepan over medium heat.

* Stir constantly until ingredients start to bind together and form a ball.

* Remove from heat and knead on a floured surface until smooth and no longer sticky.

** Allow to cool completely before your child plays with it! It will be hot.

Feel free to use the image below if sending pumpkin play-dough home with families or incorporating it into "boo-bags!" for neighbors or loved ones.

Happy Cooking and Happy Playing!

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