Celebrate summer with watermelon, lime, orange, and coconut scented homemade play dough!  Sensory play that suits the season is so much fun for young kids and creates such happy memories.

I made each scent using my favorite homemade play dough recipe.  The watermelon is scented with Kool-Aid, and the others are scented with extracts that I purchased in the baking aisle.  I’ll share details below on how to make each scent.

For each type of play dough, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 Tablespoon cream of tartar
  • 1 cup water

Mix all the dry ingredients and then stir in the oil and water.  Pour the mixture into a non-stick skillet and heat over medium heat, stirring constantly.  It will start out as a thick liquid, but will quickly thicken into a play dough consistency.  I stir it using a heat-proof rubber spatula.  As it thickens, I flip the whole mass over in the pan to get rid of any goopy spots.

Watermelon Scent:  For this version, I added one packet of watermelon Kool-Aid to the mixture BEFORE cooking the play dough.  The Kool-Aid colors the dough as well as scents it, so you won’t need any food coloring. Super easy.

I found lime, orange, and coconut (imitation) extracts in the baking aisle at Kroger.

Lime, Orange, and Coconut Scent:  Make the play dough following the recipe above.  I made a triple batch so that I would have a batch of each scent.  Let it cool.  Then knead in several drops of food coloring and 1/2 tsp of your choice of extract.  You may want to knead in additional extract if the scent is not strong enough.  I used at least 1 tsp total for the coconut, which was the lightest scent.  It didn’t take nearly as much lime to get some yummy smelling play dough.

I hollow out a little spot in the center of the play dough to hold the coloring and extract.  Then, fold it over and knead it well.  (This photo shows me working right on my kitchen counter, but it’s really better to put something under the play dough.  The food coloring can stain.  Once it’s all mixed through the dough, it won’t stain anymore.)

NOTE:  The orange extract smells great, but I think orange Kool-Aid would have been easier. I’ll probably do that next time.  I didn’t find any Kool-Aid packets in coconut or lime flavors, which is why I went with the extracts for those.

The finished play dough smells so lovely!

I did play dough imprints with the big kids when they were young, but I realized that Janie has never gotten to try this fun activity!  So we decided to do it.  You can find items from around the house that will make such neat prints in play dough.  The kitchen is a great source of inspiration. (Especially if you have a junk drawer – ha ha!)

Janie was so impressed with the prints we were able to make!

After exploring the items I found, she did her own experimenting with a toy car and a few other things.

Here are some of the patterns we made with objects from around the house!

The end of the whisk makes such a cool design.

Want more play dough ideas?


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  1. Jo Apr 7, 2019

    What would you put this under in EYFS


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