Ocean Play Dough Invitation & Mermaid Play Dough Kit

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We love sensory activities for kids, especially when they involve homemade play dough.

We are in full-swing mermaid obsession in our house, so anything ocean-themed or mermaid-themed is going to be a hit. This homemade play dough invitation can be set up as a big invitation for a group or kids, or set up as a smaller busy box activity or party favour.

Ocean Themed Play Dough Invitation - two ways to present this sweet homemade play dough invitation - either an ocean play dough or a mermaid play dough. Encourage kids to explore early math and literacy concepts while engaging in a fun sensory activity for kids!

For the ocean play dough invitation, I made the same sand play dough that I used for our dinosaur excavation bin. I added some leftover coloured sand from our sand art bottles, but you really can’t tell in the final product so if you did want a glimmer of colour, I would opt for food colouring or glitter instead.

This video is from our Butterfly Play Dough Kit, but it shows how to make the play dough and all the fun ways there are to play with these kits:

 

Homemade Sand Play Dough Recipe:

  • Water
  • Vegetable Oil <– you can use melted coconut oil but if it’s cold where you are, it will make the play dough a bit tough at the start of playing (will soften with the heat of hands playing)
  • Flour
  • Salt
  • Cream of Tartar <– I buy the big container or from a bulk store as those little jars are so expensive! A bulk container will last us for months of play dough making – and can also be used for soft sugar cookies, snickerdoodle cookies, etc.
  • Craft Sand

Scroll down to the printable recipe card for full measurements.

Since we just used sand from our sandbox, I didn’t add any preserving elements like cream of tartar to our homemade sand play dough.

Simply mix the dry ingredients together, and when measuring out the boiling water, add the oil and any food colouring to the water before mixing into the dry ingredients.

Stir the dough until the wet and dry and incorporated, and then once it is cool enough to touch, knead the dough for at least two minutes for best results.

Ocean-themed Play Dough Invitation uses seashells, seaglass, and aquarium pebbles to encourage kids to explore early math and literacy concepts while engaging in a fun sensory activity for kids!

I placed the homemade sand play dough in the center of a starfish-shaped tray and filled each of the starfish’s arms with a different ocean treasure:

You could also add pirate treasure, bits of driftwood, or additional sand for the children to knead in.

Homemade sand play dough has a great texture that enhances sensory play, while an ocean play dough invitation encourage kids to explore early math and literacy concepts.

This homemade play dough invitation was great for exploring textures and natural patterns, as well as exploring early math concepts and descriptive language.

Patterns are a math concept and counting out the different objects while having that sensory feedback of the different textures helps children learn on a deeper level.

Encourage children to describe the different sensations that they are experiencing while playing with the sand play dough. Is it cool, warm, scratchy, soft, squishy, stiff, etc?
Providing "treasure" along with a mermaid play dough invitation encourages children to explore early math and literacy concepts while having fun with this easy sensory activity for kids

Providing play dough tools or accessories – like the sea glass or sea shells – is a great way to involve children who are sensitive to touch and would normally avoid sensory activities for kids, like homemade play dough.

Our most tactile sensitive child refuses to touch play dough, but she was more than happy to insert the various play dough accessories into a mound of play dough, which allows her to strengthen and develop her fine motor skills, which are essential for later writing – you can see below how the grip for the tools we used translates directly to having the strength and ability to firmly hold a pencil.

Providing tools and treasures alongside homemade play dough allows for sensory sensitive children to also engage in sensory activities for kids!

We also used this same sand play dough recipe to make sand play dough for Ella’s mermaid birthday party, and I also added a batch of blue coconut play dough.

Blue Coconut Play Dough Recipe:

  • All-purpose Flour
  • Salt
  • Boiling Water
  • Cream of Tartar
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Glycerin (optional – makes a shinier dough, can be found in specialty baking stores)
  • Blue food coloring <– this set of food coloring has lasted me forever and I love that it creates highly saturated colors with just a drop
  • Coconut extract

Scroll down to the printable recipe card for full measurements.

Stir the dry ingredients together, and when measuring out the boiling water into a measuring cup, add the “wet” ingredients (oil, food colour, and extract) and give it a quick stir before mixing into the dry ingredients.

Once everything is fully incorporated and cool enough to touch, knead the homemade play dough for up to two minutes. If adding glycerin for extra shine and stretchiness, add it while kneading.

Mermaid Play Dough Kit - a perfect busy bag or party favour for your mermaid fans. Coconut scented play dough and sand play dough along with sea goodies make this a fun sensory activity for kids.

For the homemade Mermaid Play Dough Kits, I put about a 1/2 cup of each homemade play dough into one side of a blue bento box, and then filled the other side with an assortment of those sea goodies. These Mermaid Play Dough Kits were a sweet party favour for Ella’s party and when the kids are done with the play dough, parents can wash out the bento boxes and use them for packing lunches!

 

Grab our printable recipe to make your own Mermaid Play Dough:

Yield: 6 cups play dough

Ocean Play Dough - Sand Play Dough and Coconut Play Dough

Ocean Play Dough - Sand Play Dough and Coconut Play Dough

Ocean Themed Play Dough Invitation - two ways to present this sweet homemade play dough invitation - either an ocean play dough or a mermaid play dough. Encourage kids to explore early math and literacy concepts while engaging in a fun sensory activity for kids!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Active Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Difficulty Easy
Estimated Cost $3

Materials

For the Sand Play Dough:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup salt
  • 1 cup sand
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 2 Tablespoons cooking oil

For the Blue Coconut Play Dough:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup salt
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 Tablespoon cream of tartar
  • 2 Tablespoon cooking oil
  • Few drops glycerin (optional - makes a shinier dough, can be found in specialty baking stores)
  • Few drops blue food colour
  • Few drops coconut extract

Tools

  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Mixing bowl
  • Spatula

Instructions

  1. Simply mix the dry ingredients together, and when measuring out the boiling water, add the oil and any food colouring to the water before mixing into the dry ingredients.
  2. Stir the dough until the wet and dry and incorporated, and then once it is cool enough to touch, knead the dough for at least two minutes for best results.

Pin this Project for Later

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

Mermaid Play Dough Kit - a perfect busy bag or party favour for your mermaid fans. Coconut scented play dough and sand play dough along with sea goodies make this a fun sensory activity for kids while encouraging them to practice early math and literacy concepts

More Mermaid Play Dough Ideas

Mama Papa Bubba has a sweet Mermaid Play Dough Kit that would make a more substantial gift or busy box. I love the inclusion of the plastic seaweed (and wish I had thought of it, too!)

Wings and Roots shares this fun idea to make mermaid tails out of the play dough, and I love that she included little beads and sequins, because we all know how much mermaids love their treasure!

You can download these Mermaid Play Dough mats for free from Twinkl.

 

What do you think? Would your kids prefer ocean play dough or mermaid play dough? Make sure to pin this for later!

And check out our other Mermaid Craft Ideas:

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9 Comments

  1. This definity looks very inviting! Thanks for linking up to the Family Frugal Linky. This post is being featured in my round up tomorrow.

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