Cactuses (Cacti?) seem to be all the rage right now!  Those and llamas.  I don’t really know why either is so trendy, but I think do cacti are pretty awesome, especially after seeing saguaro cacti in Arizona on our road trip to California.  Here’s a fun cactus activity – create a make-your-own cactus play dough kit!  I can honestly say I enjoyed this as much as the kids did.

Make-a-Cactus Play Dough Kit

Here’s what I used for our cactus making play dough activity:

  • Play Dough – recipe below
  • Plastic pots
  • Stones for filling the bottom of the pots
  • Pipe cleaner segments and toothpicks for spines

I made my favorite play dough recipe and doubled it. The recipe below is for a single batch.

1 cup flour

1/2 cup salt

1 Tablespoon cream of tartar

1 Tablespoon oil

1 cup water

Mix all the ingredients and then heat it on the stove, stirring constantly.  It will quickly begin to form a sold mass.  Keep stirring until it’s no longer wet and mushy, but a nice play dough texture.  Let it cool and then knead it well. I use a non-stick skillet and stir with my heat-resistant rubber spatula.  Towards the end, you’ll need to sort of flip the whole mass over in the pan rather than stir.

I split the double batch in half once it was cool and added green food coloring.  I mixed green and yellow food coloring to get the lighter shade of green.

I found the cute little plastic pots at Hobby Lobby.  Did I mention they are cute?  So adorable!  And they were only $1.99 each and then 40% off that.

Start by putting rocks in the bottom of your pot, otherwise it will take a LOT of play dough to fill up the pot.

Then make cacti of all shapes and sizes.  Give them fuzzy spines or pokey spines – whatever you like!

For some of them, we had fun using the toothpicks just to make holes.  It gives the cactus a neat texture.

Such a fun project!  We put all the toothpicks and pipe cleaners in a bag and saved them to play with another day. The play dough will keep for several weeks.  If you live in a humid climate, you may want to store it in the refrigerator.

Need more play dough ideas?

There are so many fun things to add to play dough to make really engaging activities.  Here are some of our favorites:


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