Magic Play Dough for the First Day of School

Start the first day of school with magic play dough for your students. Your students will enjoy using the play dough as an arrival activity on the first day of school. They will be amazed by the magical secret!

Photo of play dough with blue and white mixed together. Text says: How to Make Magic Play Dough for the 1st day of school.

Star the first day of school by giving each child a ball of magic play dough. This play dough looks like regular (uncolored) play dough, but hidden in the center is a bit of food coloring. As your students start to play with the dough, it will start to change color like magic!

Making the Magic Play Dough

To make magic play dough, use a basic play dough recipe (found in this blog post – or in my store). Just don’t add food coloring yet. To make enough for 20-25 students, I usually make 2-3 batches of play dough. 

Once the play dough cools, make small balls of dough for each child (about 2 inches per ball). Poke a little hole with your finger (or a popsicle stick. Add 3-4 drops of food coloring into the hole.

Photo with a ball of uncolored play dough with a hole poked in the middle. In the hole is a drop of blue food coloring.

Push the dough back together to seal the hole shut, so you can’t see the color. Then store each ball in its own plastic bag.

As your students arrive on the first day, let them play with the play dough at their table spots. As they play, it will magically change color! 

A photo of uncolored play dough that has blue streaks as students begin to play with it.

(Note: If your students are wearing “fancy” first day of school clothes, you might have them wear art shirt. Because the coloring is in the dough, it’s not too likely to end up on clothes. However, staining new clothes doesn’t sit well with parents.)

The magic play dough has a blue and white marbled look after a child has played with it for a while.

Students can keep the play dough for the first week or two of school and play with it each morning, once their morning tasks are finished. This is a great introduction to having a soft start to the school day. It also keeps students engaged as you help those who need help with morning tasks or separating from parents.

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Pin Image showing magic play dough being made and play dough changing color. Text says: How to Make Magic Play Dough

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