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How to make bubbles, finger paint and play dough

Little girl blowing soap bubblesKids love bubbles, paint and play dough.

And, as far as kids’ activities go, these are pretty cheap ways to have a lot of fun. Especially if you know the recipes to make your own bubbles, paint and play dough!

Here’s how …

How to make bubbles, finger paint and play dough


This is a totally simple recipe for playdough.

You need:

  • 2 cups plain flour
  • ½ cup oil
  • food colouring / Edicol dye
  • water


  1. Add the oil to the flour and mix.
  2. Mix the food colouring or Edicol dye with water and add to the oil / flour mixture until it forms a soft dough.

The best part is, this recipe is safe if eaten by little mouths! Give your child things to stick in the dough (paddle-pop sticks, straws etc.), things to pound with (like a toy mallet), and things to make impressions with (jar lids, cookie cutters, or bottle caps).

READ: An occupational therapist writes about why children need messy play

Finger  Paints

This recipe for finger paints is easy as, so much cheaper, and it’s edible (one less thing to worry about). Adults need to do the first part on the stove – kids can help with colouring the paint.

You need:

  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup cornflour
  • food colouring (easy colours are red, blue and yellow, but blue and yellow mixed makes green, and red and blue mixed makes purple)


  1. In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil.
  2. Remove boiling water from heat and add cornflour mixture.
  3. Return to heat, stirring constantly.
  4. Boil until the mixture is clear and thick (about 1 minute). Remove from heat.
  5. As the mixture is cooling, divide into separate bowls and add food colouring. Let the children carefully mix in the colouring.
READ: Check out these creative ways to store all your child’s artwork!

Bubble Mix

A simple dishwashing soap solution and a wire loop can make bubbles a great fun way to enjoy the outdoors and revel in the beauty of nature!

If you don’t have any wire handy, use a coat hanger that you can bend into a circle, or heart-shape (to be a bit different).

If you want to try a bubble recipe, this is a ‘scientific’ one from Questacon

  • 3 parts dishwashing liquid
  • 7 parts hot water
  • 1 part glycerol (or sugar)

The glycerol helps the bubble to last longer, by preventing them from drying out. Glycerol is available from pharmacies and some supermarkets. If you cannot get any glycerol, use sugar instead.


Find more activity ideas in our Things to Do Hub and share your ideas with other parents in our forum.

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