Lavender Playdough – By Claire Lock

Lavender playdough is as calming as it is engaging. The natural colours and fragrance captivate the senses. It’s the perfect afternoon activity.

Creating lavender playdough for your family is the destination, but there’s equal enjoyment to be had in the journey. There’s something special about spending time together collecting lavender and loose parts, before working together on the recipes.

Playing with playdough involves fine motor skills, enhances sensory development, promotes creativity and the cooking process can also support numeracy and literacy. It’s invaluable to have a batch of homemade playdough on-hand for sustained indoor play, with an element of nature, further enhanced with the use of loose parts, such as seedpods, cones, flowers, pebbles, leaves, twigs and shells.


What you’ll need

  • 2 cups of plain flour
  • 4 tbsp cream of tartar
  • 1 cup of salt
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp lavender oil


Optional extras

  • ½ – 1 cup fresh or frozen berries for dyeing
  • Handful of fresh or dried lavender sprigs, pulled apart or chopped
  • Natural loose parts for play (try twigs, flowers, seed pods and cones)
  • Cookie cutters, rolling pin, cutting board or placemat



Basic lavender playdough

    1. Allow children to measure and mix the flour, salt and cream of tartar in a medium-sized saucepan
    2. Place saucepan on medium heat and carefully add boiling water and oil (while you’re doing this your nature players can ready the lavender sprigs). Stir for 3-5 minutes until the mixture congeals then remove from heat
    3. Once playdough has cooled, knead the lavender oil into the dough for your nature players to work their fresh or dried lavender into the mixture.



Wild berry variation

There’s a bounty of natural hues that can be achieved with berries and other plants, spices and natural materials. For this recipe, you can experiment with foraged summer berries (for example blackberries or mulberries), fresh or frozen store-bought berries. Play with different quantities and simmering times to see what unique shades of purple you can produce. 

Follow the steps in the basic playdough recipe, but substitute the boiling water for the natural dye mix and omit the dried lavender.

To prepare your natural dye, gently bring the water and berries to boil in a saucepan, then simmer for five minutes (longer if you wish). Remove the saucepan from the stove and strain the mixture through a colander, reserving the liquid.