Quality Time – Salt Dough

Salt dough is such a versatile substance; just mix the three, super cheap, ingredients and create any shape you want.

So what do you need?

1 cup of salt

1 cup of plain flour

0.5 cup of water

  • Just pour them all together
  • mix, mix, mix
  • knead until you have a nice smooth dough
  • create your shapes (see below examples)
  • bake at 100 degrees centigrade for approx 3 hours
  • paint if desired

Kids love pouring and mixing so this is a perfect activity for them to help with. 
Here’s a very little Kealan in his element. You may notice he is wearing gloves so I just wanted to mention my take on sensory issues. These can include touch and texture, noise, light, smell and temperature. Kealan has had a few sensory issues in the past and didn’t like touching the dough with his bare hands. Many children don’t like getting messy or sticky but if your child is retiscent to get involved in these type of activities I would advise you to consistently encourage them. Try to put in place some aids to help them over come their concern for example gloves or ear muffs. Don’t avoid mess or noise or tell other people in front of the child that he or she has sensory issues. I would suggest acknowledging the child’s concerns by saying “I understand you’re not comfortable with the texture right now, let me help you by putting on these gloves and then you can get started”. If you avoid the issue, the issue grows. If you don’t acknowledge their concerns, the issue grows. If you aren’t supportive, the issue grows. Also, by saying that the child can get started as soon as you have put on the gloves makes it very clear you expect them to do it and that you are confident they can overcome any concerns. Kealan is still not a huge fan of dirty hands but it doesn’t stop him getting involved with anything and he no longer needs gloves. I just make sure I have wipes etc nearby if we are getting messy.

What can you make?

Pretty much anything you want. You can just shape with your hands, use cookie cutters, moulds or any object as long as you can slide it out once the dough is shaped. Here’s some examples of items we’ve made in the past:-

1) Buns – I made these buns for a Christmas coffee shop dramatic play area. I used silicon bun cases for the bottom half and rolled and curled long sausage shapes to make the icing. I then painted with acrylic paints.   2) Christmas cookies for the same party. I rolled out the salt dough and used cookie cutters. Once baked I painted with acrylic paints.   3) Hand and foot prints – roll out the dough so that it is about 2cm thick. Push the child’s hand or foot about half way into the dough. Bake at 100 degrees centigrade for at least 3 hours, it may take longer depending on the thickness of the item. Painting with metallic paints works very well and something even very little kids can do.    4) Cave – for a dinosaur play date I made this cave by rolling the salt dough fairly thin and laying it over a round Pyrex dish which I left on place until the baking was complete. I was then able to slide the Pyrex dish out and paint the cave.  5) Dino bones – sand moulds also work well but I would recommend dusting the inside of the mould with flour before pressing the dough in. You will also need to use a sharp knife to work one edge out of the mould but I was still happy with how my dino bones turned out.    

This is a great Quality Time activity because the kids can do so much of it and you will end up with a lovely keepsake or play item. 1 & 2 year olds will love the mixing and painting whilst 3+ can select and design their item as well as cut or mould the shapes.

Please feel free to share any of your creations on my Facebook page:-


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