Sensory Shamrock Playdough Recipe

It’s time to celebrate everything Irish and green on March 17th. That’s right, it’s St. Patrick’s Day! Homemade playdough is budget friendly, plus you can easily customize your playdough based on the seasons. For this activity we have a Shamrock Playdough activity that is fantastic for sensory and fine motor centres and playtime.

Lucky Leprechaun Playdough Centre

St. Patrick's Day Shamrock Playdough

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As St. Patrick’s Day draws close it is time to prepare some fun, interactive sensory centres to keep your kids exploring, playing and having fun.

In this activity we make a gorgeous green homemade playdough with our favourite playdough recipe. Trust me, you don’t need to be nervous! This way of making playdough works so well. It’s super easy and the playdough is fantastic. Soft but with enough strength to make it great for building, creating and developing fine motor skills.

Then we added some extra tools to our Shamrock Playdough Centre so kids can build their fine motor skills, while enjoying some sensory play.

Best of all, we always enjoy bringing in a little science and explain how playdough is formed from basic pantry ingredients. This is especially fun for your extra inquisitive kids or older kids who still love a good DIY project and sensory play.

Playdough Ingredients

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup salt
2 Tablespoons cream of tartar
1 cup water
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
2-3 drops green food coloring

How To Make Playdough

Add the flour, salt and cream of tartar to a medium mixing bowl. Whisk to combine. Set aside.

Add the water and oil to a medium saucepan. Heat on medium/high until boiling. Remove from heat.

Stir in the green food coloring.

Pro Tip! For an extra sensory experience you can add in a few drops of essential oil at this point as well.

Carefully add the flour mixture to ensure none of the boiling water splashes.

Stir continuously until a large lump of dough forms.

Remove the dough from the saucepan and place on a flat work surface. Knead the playdough for 5 minutes until it is soft and pliable.

Store in an airtight container for up to one month.

Need a Gluten Free version? Check out our Gluten Free Rainbow Playdough Recipe.

Shamrock Sensory Supplies

Mini rolling pin
Shamrock-shaped cookie cutters
Green buttons, beads, pom poms, and pipe cleaners
Gold coins
Leprechaun mini-fig
Any other St. Patrick’s Day items you can find!
Chip & Dip Tray

Sensory Shamrock Playdough Activity Ideas

Once your playdough is made, it’s time to set up your center! I find using chip and dip serving trays perfect for playdough centers. Place the playdough in the central dip compartment, then in the outside chip compartments add lot of different items for the kids to use for playing, exploring and building with the playdough.

Here are some ideas to help get kids started on exploring with the playdough.

  1. Use a mini rolling pin to roll out the playdough.
  2. Shamrock cookie cutters are a great way to cut out shamrock shapes from the playdough.
  3. Get some extra sensory and fine motor work by decorating the shamrocks with beads, pom poms and other St. Patrick’s Day items.
  4. Encourage kids to try making patterns with the playdough and items.
  5. Challenge the kids to see how many different designs they can make on their Shamrocks.
  6. Build a Leprechaun House out of playdough for a Leprechaun mini-fig.
  7. This is such a fun craft that will give them hours of sensory and fine-motor play!

Playdough Science

I can hear curious kids everywhere asking right now… But how? How exactly do we mix these ingredients from the kitchen and it magically transforms into our beloved, magical Shamrock playdough? Well playdough actually has a similar science to Bread Science.

The flour in playdough contains proteins that, when mixed with water, change their shape and become stretched. We learned about this in our bread science lesson. Think about kneading bread dough and playdough. What similarities can you find?

Let’s explore some scientific vocabulary. In this playdough recipe, the dry ingredients, salt, flour and cream of tartar are physically combined to produce a ‘mixture.’ This means they are combined without any chemical reaction occurring.

When the liquid ingredients water, and baby or vegetable oil are mixed with the dry ingredients, they form what’s called a ‘solution.’ Cooking these ingredients by applying heat creates a chemical change to the solution and a new ‘substance’, our playdough, is formed.

But what about the other ingredients? They all have a purpose!

Salt allows this structure to hold its shape and also acts as a preservative which helps prevent the playdough from going bad.

Oil provides moisture so our playdough is soft and pliable.

Cream of Tartar helps with elasticity and is another preservative.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Happy playing and exploring with our Shamrock St. Patrick’s Day Playdough.

Don’t miss out on this free St. Patrick’s Day Printable Activity pack!

More Fun Playdough Recipes

Edible Play Dough Fudge
Easy to make, fun to play wit,h and a sweet treat, Edible Marshmallow Play Dough is a hit! And it uses simple ingredients in your kitchen right now.

Shamrock Playdough Recipe

An easy and fun Shamrock Playdough Recipe to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. Perfect for a sensory science learning center in the classroom.

Time 10 minutes


  • 1 cup All Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 cup Salt
  • 2 Tbsp Cream of Tartar
  • 1 cup Water
  • 2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • 2-3 drops green food colouring


  1. Add the flour, salt and cream of tartar to a medium mixing bowl. Whisk to combine and set aside.

  2. Add the water and oil to a medium saucepan. Heat until boiling and then remove from heat.

  3. Add the flour mixture, stirring continuously until a large lump of dough forms.

  4. Remove dough from saucepan and place on a flat work surface. Knead the playdough for 5 minutes to make it soft and pliable.

  5. Store in an airtight container or ziploc bag for up to one month.