Play dough is always fun, but outer space play dough is EXTRA fun! Easy-to-make black play dough + loose parts = out of this world fun.
Black play dough makes for the best outer space play dough activity
There’s something about black playdough that makes it irresistible.
Many kids have played with blue playdough, red, or even yellow. You know, the standard colors.
But when they see black, it’s just something else! It looks mysterious and magical, and kids will swarm to it when it’s set down on the table.
Related: Have you seen our GIANT 10-foot outer space coloring banner? It’s the best thing in the universe!
I have a trick for making outer space play dough
This trick works for making any play dough, for that matter.
As a teacher, I have made millions of batches of playdough. I’ve tried all the methods: stove top cooking, microwaving, purchasing premade, mixing in a bad, adding Kool-Aid…but this trick makes it 100x easier.
Use a stand mixer. If you have one, it’s your secret to making perfect play dough every time. I learned this from my mom, and, of course, Miss Michelle is always spot on!
Do you need a stand mixer? Absolutely not! Play dough is easy to make by hand with a bowl + spoon. A mixer just makes it a little faster. 😉
Looking for more space activities? I’ve got some great ones for you to check out:
- Wet-on-Wet Watercolor Planets – Friends Art Lab
- Yarn Wrapped Planets – And Then Comes L
- Marshmallow Constellations – Play Teach Repeat
How to make black play dough
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I have play dough a billion times and have the best, easiest play dough recipe in the land.
- Cream of tartar: when I make play dough, I never use cream of tartar, but I have found myself in the 0.00001% as most people do. I use all of the same ingredients above, just not this one. I don’t think skipping cream of tartar makes a difference in my dough (at all), so if you’ve ever wanted to try omitting it, give it a try!
- Adding color: to make your play dough black, add black coloring to the water right before you pour it into the bowl. You can use liquid watercolors, food dye, or even gel icing!
I used liquid watercolors because I had them on hand, but food dye and gel icing will make your dough much darker.
Loose parts to add to this play dough activity
This is the best part: you can rummage around your home or classroom and use WHATEVER you want!
Rocks from the garden? Great!
Popsicle sticks? Wonderful!
Small blocks? Outstanding!
I just raid my craft supplies and grab what I think would be fun, and that’s precisely what I did here!
Because I have had many of these loose parts for years, I don’t have exact links for every item, but here are some fantastic choices that are identical/nearly identical to mine:
- Acrylic gems, aka “space rocks”
- Glow in the dark stars
- Space action figures
- Bouncy ball “planets”
- Star beads
What do children learn from playing with play dough?
Children explore different states of matter and observe the differences between solids and liquids.
Additionally, they practice measurement by measuring the ingredients that go into making play dough.
They also gain fine motor skills when stretching, kneading, poking, rolling, smoothing, and manipulating play dough.
When children use the same materials, they practice sharing skills and take turns.
Kids might also work together in creating various play scenes and ideas.
We love play dough activities for their ability to connect science, math, fine motor, and social skills all in one!
I have never tried making play dough with anything but all-purpose flour. If you try it, please let me know!
Any age that can safely play with the materials without trying to eat them.
That’s what I do and what we have done at our preschool for years!
10/10 for this outer space play dough activity
The whole process is fun and educational from beginning to end.
If stored in an airtight container or zippered bag, we usually get at least a week’s worth of play out of our dough.