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Play Dough Bird Nest

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with chocolate and cinnamon play dough

This was a super cute play dough make I did with Z when she was 2. We made the play dough together (hence it’s slightly rustic quality) and made birds nests with it. Read on below to find out the ingredients and method:

Chocolate Play Dough

2 cups of all-purpose flour.
1 cup of salt.
4tsp cream of tartar
1/2 cup of cocoa.
1 1/2 cups of boiling water.
2 tbsp of olive oil

Cinnamon Play Dough

2 cups of all-purpose flour.
1 cup of salt.
4tsp cream of tartar
2 tbsp of cinnamon.
1 1/2 cups of boiling water.
2 tbsp of olive oil


Z was 2.4 years at the time – we’ve got a lot tidier since then!

As with all of our play dough recipes, we make it simple enough so that my 3 year old daughter can help. That means that we do a ‘no cook’ version that is all hand mixed.

  • Begin by mixing all of the dry ingredients together.
  • Drizzle in the olive oil and mix together.
  • Gradually add the cooled, boiled water, kneading the dough each time until you are happy with the consistency – not too sticky, not too dry! If you do have a child helping, you really need to make sure that the water has cooled enough first.
  • Store in an airtight container when not in use – it should last approximately 3-4 weeks.

Read our play dough care tips post to find out how you can preserve the dough for longer.

Why you should try this activity:

Making play dough together has so many educational benefits. Here’s a few reasons why you should try it with your little ones:

  • Introduction to early math: From counting cups or spoonfuls to measuring out quantities there’s heaps your little one can learn from this practical activity.
  • Hand-eye coordination: it takes focus to pour ingredients from the packet into the bowl
  • Fine motor skills and hand strength: using pincer grip to hold the teaspoon and hand strength to mix the ingredients.
  • Sensory exploration: making play dough engages the senses – although I should probably add that tasting is not recommended due to the salt content!
  • Social emotional: this is a lovely way to spend time together. Z and I often make play dough together whilst her younger brother naps.
  • Making connections to the wider world: In this instance, making a nest but play dough can really be adapted for so many small world activities!
  • Listening skills: Via verbal instructions.

Age Recommendations:

As mentioned above, Z was just over 2 years old when I first made play dough WITH her. Before that, she just played with the batches I made up.

You need to make sure that your child is past the stage where they put everything in their mouths. This will depend on the child. With Z, I could do all of these activities with her from around the age of 12 months yet her younger brother (almost 18 months) is only just getting to the stage where he doesn’t put all of the things in his mouth.

To note, until your child gets used to these types of activities, you can absolutely guarantee a huge mess. This is partly due to the development of fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.Don’t worry though, the more they are exposed to sensory / messy play, the tidier they eventually become!

Regardless of age, this activity should be done under strict supervision.

Like it? Pin it!

If you want to save this activity for later, just pin it to one of your Pinterest boards! You can also follow me here.

Sian Thomas

Sian Thomas

Sian is the founder of Teach Investigate Play. She helps parents navigate the early years by providing meaningful and simple activities. She also owns 'Get Set Social Media' - a social media consultancy for small businesses. From the UK, now living in Vienna (via Australia). About page has more!

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