The most disgusting playdough ever!

After 1 term in my special needs autism class, I had almost completely given up using ‘playdough’.

My students explore their environment and things around similar to young babies: using their mouth and tongue. 3 of my students have the disorder Pica, where they not only mouth objects, but eat ‘non-nutritive’ substances.

Therefore, play dough time resulted in a battle between myself and the students. I tried ‘small reprimands (No), offering students chewy toys and food, and praise for acceptable use of play dough. I asked colleagues and scoured the internet for strategies and ideas, but found none.

So, now I have found something that works, I want to share it! I now make ‘the most disgusting play dough ever’. I figured, kids like the taste of playdough. If it tastes seriously disgusting, it might help discourage the habit. I add an ingredient that is edible and safe but very bitter or horrible tasting. So far I have used kale, grapefruit, bitter melon, or brussel sprouts.

Kale Play Dough:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup Kale juice*
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1 cup salt

* To make the Kale juice, I simple boiled a bag of Kale until it was very soft and over cooked. Once most of the water had been absorbed, I blended both the cooked leaves and any excess water. This should now be fairly smooth and ‘juice’ like.

1. Mix together the flour and salt.

2. Add the oil and Kale juice.

3. Mix and knead until it is dough like consistency. Add extra flour or water if necessary.


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