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Nature Play Dough

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All through July we’ve been enjoying nature activities along with our Nature Detectives theme. One day we played with nature play dough.  We’re always looking for new materials to use with our play dough. Nature play dough is just one more way we can connect children with nature.

Nature Play Dough

Nature play dough is just combining a basic play dough recipe, pine cones, sticks, rocks, pieces of wood, shells, seeds, plants, herbs, or anything else you find. Here are 10 Natural Play Dough Recipes on Imagination Tree. We used a homemade, nonscented, natural colored dough.

sticks pine cones rocks and play dough

Nature is all around us. Children naturally gravitate to items like sticks, dirt, sand, shells, and stones in outdoor play. For something different, we brought some nature items inside!

preschool play dough nature items

Offering children different materials with play dough allows for creativity and thinking differently about how to play with it. This is an open-ended, free-time exploration. We were talking about making a forest and what lives there.


The benefits of playing with play dough include:

  • development of fine motor skills
  • creative & imaginative
  • calming, therapeutic play
  • hand-eye coordination development
  • social skills (cooperation, sharing)
  • promotes open-ended play
  • involves senses in play

I’ve had these items in our “nature bin” for quite a while, but you could go on a nature scavenger hunt so the children can collect items to use in their nature play dough creations.

Did you try this activity?

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More fun ways to play with play dough:

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