December dough

December brings some wonderful scents and smells. Have fun weighing and combining ingredients to make some modelling dough with the children with smells that remind them of the time of year and perhaps the special celebrations that come with it.

You will need:

  • Weighing scales
  • 250g plain flour 
  • 1 tbsp. cooking oil
  • 140ml water
  • A pan
  • A spoon
  • Food colouring 
  • Spices or flavourings
  • 50g salt


This is a lovely recipe to do with the children as there is lots of counting, measuring and mixing to do, but the recipe does need an adult to supervise as it requires the water to be warm, but not too hot. 

  1. Weigh the flour and salt and combine in a large mixing bowl. Can the children recognise the numbers on the scale?
  2. Add the warm water and oil. Be careful that the water is not too hot for little hands! You can now add a pinch or a few drops of your scents or colours to the mixture. What do the children think will happen next?
  3. Stir with a spoon until a ball of dough begins to form. 
  4. Now the fun bit! Use your hands to pull the dough together and on a work surface knead the dough well for a few minutes until smooth. (You might need to add a bit more flour or water until the consistency is smooth but not sticky.)
  5. Your dough is now ready to use. 
  6. Store in a plastic bag in the refrigerator and it will last for a few days. 

More ideas to try…

  • The children may choose to ‘bake’ with their dough, you can extend their imagination and help them learn about the communities and peoples around them by adding a tea set, old chocolate box inserts or perhaps a few ‘real life’ baking pans from the kitchen to encourage their role play. 
  • Add twigs, leaves or other natural objects to extend the modelling possibilities. Add textures such as rice, glitter or dried lavender to change the feel of the dough. Ask the children to describe the textures and colours they see. 
  • Use the dough to explore letters and numbers with the children too. Can you spell your name with dough? How many letters are in your name?
  • Tell a story using the dough characters and models you make. 
  • You might find seasonal cutters to explore shapes and sizes, making patterns and pictures.