This deliciously scented apple pie playdough is perfect for a kindergarten or preschool apple theme! Let the kids immerse their senses with this super fun sensory activity. They are going to love to play with (and smell!) this apple-scented play dough.
You just need a few kitchen staples to make the spicy playdough the way we did. The kids can even help mix up many of the play dough ingredients (as long as you handle the hot water part yourself).
If you don’t have all of the ingredients, or you want to try something a little different, that’s okay too. It’s very easy to tweak the apple play dough recipe if you need to. I share a few variations below.
I’ve been making some variation of this scented apply playdough for over a decade at this point. The pictures shared here are actually from one of my first attempts at it. I was so proud of how the apple pie dough turned out, and the kids absolutely loved it.
Apple Pie Playdough
I keep calling this apple pie play dough, but you can call it whatever works for you! My students said it smells like apple pie, and that stuck.
Materials for Apple Spice Play Dough
Start things off by gathering the ingredients for your apple pie sensory dough. I highly recommend checking your teacher stash, and the kitchen, first. Here’s what I used to make the very first batch (I may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post):
- All-purpose flour
- Olive oil (vegetable or coconut oils would work, too)
- Cream of tartar
- Boiling water
- Gel food coloring (optional)
- Vanilla spice sensory salt
While you’re gathering materials, you can grab anything that you’d like to use with the finished apple scented playdough. Here are some possibilities:
- Green pipe cleaners
- Apple-shaped containers
- Dough scissors
- More playdough tools
- Apple cookie cutters
- Mini pie tins
Now that you have all of your ingredients and such, it’s time to make the play dough!
How to Make Apple Pie Playdough
Start off by making a batch of red playdough. Here’s the recipe I used for the pictured apple dough:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup salt
- 2 tablespoons cream of tartar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup boiling water
- Red gel food coloring
- 2 heaping tablespoons vanilla spice salt
And here’s what to do:
- First mix the dry ingredients (flour, salt, cream of tartar).
- Then boil the water (use a microwave or an electric kettle).
- Measure the hot water and add red food coloring to the hot water.
- Pour the hot water into the dry ingredients, mixing well.
- Carefully keep mixing, add up to another 1/2 cup of boiling water as desired.
The kids can help mix up the dry ingredients, but handling the boiling water is definitely an adult-only job. And be sure to add the food coloring to the hot water for the best coloring results.
Once the red dough is made, add the spices as you see fit! Keep in mind, you can make the play dough yellow or green, too. Or maybe you want to make 3 batches – one of each color!
Oh my word, the spices seriously make the apple pie playdough magic! That’s what transformed the red dough into apple play dough that smelled divine – as if there was apple pie nearby! When I first made this play dough, I didn’t have the spices I wanted (yes, apparently I needed to go grocery shopping).
I turned, instead, to leftovers from my vanilla spice sensory writing tray. The combination of spices, and a “secret” ingredient, helped make this apple pie play dough. I added about 2 heaping tablespoons to each batch, making sure to remove the whole spices from the sensory salt. If you don’t use this, you can just use apple pie spice in its place. If so, I suggest adding about 1/4 cup extra salt to your dough.
Using the Spicy Apple Dough with Kids
Place the apple play dough in a sensory bin or on trays on a table. Whatever works best for you and the kids. If desired, place pieces of green pipe cleaners nearby. Add some playdough tools and mini pie tins, too.
Children will interact with the apple pie playdough in a variety of ways. Here are some things you might observe:
- Kids squishing the play dough in their fingers, just feeling the dough
- Students making “apple pies” in the little pie tins
- Children working together to set up a pretend play apple bakery
- Little ones make apples with balls of dough and pipe cleaner stems
One of the great things about play dough is its open-endedness. This means the kids get to decide how they want to use the dough. Within your set parameters, of course.
The preschoolers had a BLAST with the apple pie playdough! The kids made different-sized apples and added pipe cleaner “stems” – some even went so far as adding the long stems to the big apples and the small stems to the small apples. They also made stacks of apples and even apple “snowmen”.
A few created their own versions of apple pies, and still, others just had fun poking the pipe cleaners into the play dough. While the play dough was out, our classroom smelled like an apple pie bakery (but not overwhelmingly so). Yum!
Alternative Apple Play Dough Recipes
There are so many different ways to make play dough, as I’m sure you already know. I rather like this no-cook apple pie playdough. But you might have your own favorite, and that’s fine too!
You can also make a dough like my harvest play dough:
- 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup salt
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons alum powder
- 1 1/2 cups boiling water
Or maybe something like my super simple unicorn play dough:
- 1 cup cornstarch
- 1 cup conditioner
No matter which base playdough recipe you use, be sure to liberally add apple pie spice! And consider dyeing the dough red, yellow, and/or green.
Have you ever made a spicy apple pie playdough? Or any other kind of scented play dough? Be sure to save this post for future reference! And consider checking out my Play Dough Recipes and Activities Pinterest board.
More Apple Sensory Activities
If the apple pie playdough is a hit with your students, I bet they’ll enjoy these ideas as well:
- Apple Pie Sensory Bin
- Foamy Apple Bath Bin
- Apple Sensory Bin
- Magnetic Apples Sensory Bin
- Apple Sensory Table (with scented water)
Apple Lesson Plans and Resources
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Originally published September 2013.