Stimulate children’s senses with our Scented Playdough Activity that encourages children to look at, smell and feel the playdough throughout the stages of the activity.




Early Years Learning Framework Outcomes:

Outcome 1: Children have a strong sense of identity.

1.2 Children develop their emerging autonomy, inter-dependence, resilience and sense of agency.

Outcome 3: Children have a strong sense of wellbeing.

3.2 Children take increasing responsibility for their own health and physical wellbeing.

Outcome 4: Children are confident and involved learners.

4.2 Children develop a range of skills and processes such as problem solving, inquiry, experimentation, hypothesising, researching and investigating.

Outcome 5: Children are effective communicators.

5.3 Children express ideas and make meaning using a range of media.



1  Sift 2 cups of flour with 4 Tbsp cream of tartar into a large mixing bowl, then mix in 2 Tbsp of cooking oil.

2  Pour 500mL of boiling water into the jug and mix in 1 cup of salt until dissolved.

3  Slowly pour salt water into the dry mixture. Using the wooden spoon, mix continuously until all the water is added and the dough comes together.

4  Let the dough cool slightly until it’s cool enough to touch. Then tip dough out onto a bench and knead until smooth.

5  Lay the playdough, mortar and pestle, chosen herbs and spices on the bench so the children can access them.

6  Demonstrate to the children how to use the mortar and pestle by showing them how to crush the herbs/spices and point out the different smells and textures they can create.

7  Encourage the children to add the herbs/spices to their playdough, demonstrating how to incorporate them through kneading.


Open-ended questions that can be asked during this activity:

  • What can you hear when you are crushing the herbs/spices?
  • What can you smell?
  • What can you see is happening to the spices when you crush them?
  • Why do you think they are changing?
  • What does the playdough smell/feel/look like without the herbs/spices?
  • What do you think will happen to the playdough when you mix the herbs/spices in?
  • What does the playdough smell/feel/look like now that the herbs/spices are mixed in?