Playing with play dough

Pasha, Rushana and their son Aaryan learn about mixtures, solutions and chemical reactions while making home-made play dough.

Aims

Make your own play dough from simple ingredients.

ExpeRiment to see how the different ingredients combine with each other.

Learn about the science of mixtures, solutions and chemical reactions.

  • Media

    500ml of plain flour
    250ml of cooking salt
    250ml of warm water (from the hot water tap)
    1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
    Some liquid food colouring.
    Note: you don’t have to have exactly these amounts of the above ingredients, there’s plenty of wiggle room for when you or your children are measuring them out.
    Spoon for stirring
    Mixing bowl
    Wooden spoon or spatula for mixing
    Chopping board (optional)

About this activity

Pasha, Rushana and their son Aaryan explore how mixing different quantities of water with different types of flour produces some surprising results. They learn how to make this classic children’s toy, while learning the difference between a mixture and a solution.

They make playdough from flour, salt, water and vegetable oil, with a little food colouring added to make it more fun. Salt and flour combined together produce a ‘mixture’ – they are physically combined but no reaction has taken place. When the water and food colouring mix completely they form a solution. When all the ingredients are heaped in together and kneaded, a new substance is formed because chemical reactions have taken place.

For more on the science of this activity, download the infosheet.

This series of ExpeRimental is supported by the Royal Society of Chemistry.

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