Autumn Spice Play Dough with Whole Spices

Autumn Spice Play Dough with Whole Spices | Mama Papa Bubba

Welp, the first official day of fall is nearly here and I’m doing my best to embrace it despite the fact that the arrival of fall means we’re that much closer to another loonnnnng winter in our small town. A loonnnng winter in our small town that nearly did me in last year.  Now if it were to stay fall for a few months and we got to soak in that crisp fall air mixed with little bursts of sun, the beautiful autumn colours, and sweater weather for a while before transitioning into the snow, freezing cold, parkas, and permanently feeling like a block of ice, I’d totally be down for that.  Come on Mother Nature, work with me here! {Pleeeaaase.}

I usually switch up our play dough and play dough kits each season despite the fact that our go-to homemade play dough can last even longer than that {our black, sparkly play dough that was part of our tinker play dough activity is still going strong!}, so this week Sam and I whipped up the most delicious smelling autumn spice play dough.

Autumn Spice Play Dough with Whole Spices

It’s just our basic no-cook play dough recipe {made without food colouring or flavour packets} with a few of our favourite fall spices added to it, and let me tell you – it smells divine!  {We chose to use cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves, but if we would have had allspice on hand, I would have added that too!}

To make it, we measure out our dry ingredients plus our vegetable oil and glycerine into a large bowl.

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Then we whisk it up really well.

Autumn Spice Play Dough with Whole Spices

Next, I add the boiling water and immediately mix it {quite vigorously} to get the texture as uniform as possible.  As soon as it’s cool enough to handle, I get my hands in there, bring it all together in a ball…

Autumn Spice Play Dough with Whole Spices

And then dump it out onto a clean, dry countertop.

Autumn Spice Play Dough with Whole Spices

The one question I always get asked about our play dough is how we get such a smooth texture, and it’s all about the kneading!  I knead our play dough for probably a solid 2 or 3 minutes, or until it’s pretty much cool.  I know that there’s a proper way to knead doughs, but when it comes to our play dough recipe, I start with it all in a mass close to me…

Autumn Spice Play Dough with Whole Spices

Then I push it away from me while using a decent amount of pressure to flatten it right out.  Then I pull it back and repeat.  (Many, many times.)  I find that this method works well when the dough is still a little sticky {our recipe tends to feel a little wet until completely cool} and it really works to get rid of any little lumps an bumps that might be hiding in the dough.  By the time it’s completely cool, the dough should be smooth as can be and should no longer be sticky.

Autumn Spice Play Dough with Whole Spices

Can you tell how smooth it is?

Autumn Spice Play Dough with Whole Spices

I’m pretty sure we’ve made some version of this play dough every fall since Miss G was one or two years old, and I love pairing it with natural loose parts.  We often go out on a nature walk and collect conkers, acorns, pinecones, and pretty leaves to pair it with, but another favourite over the years has been whole spices and that’s what we decided to go with this time around.

Autumn Spice Play Dough with Whole Spices

Sam and I popped by our local bulk store and picked up some cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods, whole allspice, whole nutmeg, some anise stars, and some whole cloves – all of which smell amazing and have interesting shapes and textures.  Then I popped everything into one of my favourite divided trays {I got this one in Kuwait at City Star in Egaila} and set it out on the table with a couple of placemats for the kids to discover after school.

Autumn Spice Play Dough with Whole Spices

I love having some sort of invitation to play or create out on the table in the afternoons…  It’s always something that is open-ended and requires very little / no adult help, which means that they can just dive in and play or create independently, which I think is good for all of us, but especially Grae.

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After a long day at school, I really find that she just needs some time to unwind and decompress… Some time when there’s nothing expected of her and nothing she has to do on a timeline – and creating or reading seem to be two really good options for her.

Autumn Spice Play Dough with Whole Spices

I often pick a chilled out, calming playlist on Spotify and play that too, which really sets the mood for some low-key, focused play.

Autumn Spice Play Dough with Whole Spices

Autumn Spice Play Dough with Whole Spices

Of course with play dough and loose parts, there’s really no end goal.  Miss G usually works on some sort of careful creation…

Autumn Spice Play Dough with Whole Spices

While sam loves to burry and poke and dig and hide.

Autumn Spice Play Dough with Whole Spices

Both of which are equally valuable, important ways to play.

Autumn Spice Play Dough | Mama Papa Bubba

Here’s our autumn spice play dough recipe…

Autumn Spice Play Dough

  • 1 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup of  table salt
  • 1 tablespoon of cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cloves
  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon of glycerine
  • 3/4 cup of boiling water (measured in a dry measuring cup – this is important as wet and dry measures aren’t the same)

Place all of the ingredients, save the boiling water, in a bowl and whisk well.  Measure the water using your dry measuring set and add it to the bowl.  Give the mixture a quick mix with a wooden spoon, banging off it off every once and a while.  At this point, the mixture may seem too wet and sticky to make good play dough… Do not fret!  Once the dough has cooled just a little, use your hands to carefully bring it into and ball and then dump it out onto the countertop and knead really well.  You’ll know you’re done when the dough is fully cooled, soft and squishy, and no longer sticky


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3 thoughts on “Autumn Spice Play Dough with Whole Spices

  1. hi.. I followed your directions and it remained too moist. I had to keep dusting the countertop and kneading it till it wasn’t sticky any longer. I am glad I didn’t have to throw it away as some of the ingredients can be pricey. I make a lot of play-dough for my kids. Just simply enjoy trying new scents and recipes. Thank you. It smells wonderful. The kids will enjoy it tomorrow.

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