Lemon Meringue Play Dough


One of my kids’ favorite play dough activities was our Oatmeal Cookies Play Dough years ago, so I thought I’d make another Bake Shop Play Dough Activity inspired by one of Ella’s favorite desserts! This Lemon Meringue Play Dough includes so many fun sensory experiences and learning opportunities in one simple set-up.

A fun bake shop inspired play dough activity, this Lemon Meringue Pie Play Dough uses a super simple lemon play dough and some simple kitchen materials to make a hands-on sensory play experience that teaches literacy, numeracy and fine motor skills while being a ton of fun!

Lemon Meringue Play Dough Recipe

Ella has long been my little chef.

She’s been helping out in the kitchen since she could stand and ever since our trip to Montreal, she’s informed me that she plans to move there and become a professional chef the minute she turns 16.

I still get her to myself for a few more years, so to indulge her culinary side this week I prepared this simple bake shop sensory play set-up.

While I’m a huge fan of baking with kids, letting them engage in baking pretend play allows them to experiment and make their own rules rather than follow instructions and be limited in their play. I’m always so impressed with the ideas that my daycare kids come up with in their pretend play.

While I love doing Montessori Practical Life trays for my daycare, I think play-based invitations are always a wonderful idea.

Bake shop pretend play provides so many learning experiences, including:

  • hand strength and fine motor skills
  • scientific concepts like observing, experimenting and noticing changes in matter
  • language building by using descriptive words to describe the different materials and their play 
  • social and emotional development in playing cooperatively with others and using observational skills to emulate the tasks and interactions that they’ve witnessed in bake shops (or even in their own kitchens)
  • math concepts like contrast and comparison, shape identification – and even further, they can experiment with numeracy concepts if they want to “charge” for their creations

Beyond these skills, kids can practice using everyday kitchen tools that will prepare them for the next time they get to help with baking. Learning how to use measuring spoons, rolling pins or other materials in a play-based set-up allows them to experiment without having to worry about wasted ingredients or a recipe failing.

Ella LOVED this play dough activity and was so excited to share it with our daycare kids the next day – and funny enough, instead of emulating a baker she seemed to emulate me! Watching her introduce the different materials and how to use the shaker can or rolling pin gave a cute insight into how she sees me when I show them new kitchen skills.

You can alternatively use our lemon play dough recipe to make a lemonade stand pretend play set-up for the kids.

Check out the bottom of this post for more bake shop play ideas or lemon sensory play ideas.

Ingredients for Lemon Play Dough

Scroll down to the printable recipe card for full measurements.

Materials We Used in This Bake Shop Set Up:

Tip: While the kids really enjoyed the addition of the shaving cream, it will make the play dough too messy for future uses so you can skip it if you’d like.

Other Materials You Could Add to this Pretend Baking Set Up:

You can add really any kitchen materials that are safe for the kids to play with and are easy to clean up after they’re done.

  • Wooden or Plastic fruit (something easily cleaned)
  • Citrus Juicer
  • Offset Spatula
  • Piping Bags
  • Cookie Cutters
  • Cake Server
  • Sifter

How to Make Lemon Meringue Play Dough

Place the water in a saucepan and stir in the oil, flour, salt and cream of tartar.

Turn heat to medium and stir constantly. The play dough will start forming a ball and sticking together after about 2-3 minutes.

Remove from heat and fold out the dough onto a floured surface.

Allow the dough to cool enough to touch, and then knead until smooth, about 2 minutes.

To Set Up Your Bake Shop Invitation:

Clean a playing surface and set out all of the kitchen tools.

Put the shaving cream in a bowl and fill the shaker can with a combination of flour and cinnamon. (I used flour to help the cinnamon “go further” as I knew the kids would love shaking out the “cinnamon” and I didn’t want to use an entire container of cinnamon in this activity.)

If you have any “rules” for this sensory play, let the kids know in advance. For us, the rules were just no tasting and keeping the materials on the table. (While the lemon play dough is taste-safe, the shaving cream and raw flour used in the cinnamon mixture are not.)

Then, let them play!

This was so much squishy, sensory fun and the kids were all so proud of their creations! They loved all of the different textures and getting to make up their own “recipes.”

There was some serious price gouging going on when a couple of them tried to sell me their pies – but luckily they haven’t tried to collect on my debt yet.

 

 

Pin this Lemon Meringue Play Dough Activity:

How to Make Lemon Meringue Pie Play Dough - a fun hands-on sensory experience for kids that teaches kitchen skills, literacy, numeracy, emotional intelligence AND builds fine motor skills

Grab your free printable for our lemon play dough recipe and how to set up this bake shop play dough invitation:

Yield: 3 1/2 cups play dough

Lemon Meringue Play Dough

Lemon Meringue Play Dough
Prep Time 5 minutes
Active Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Difficulty Easy
Estimated Cost $3

Materials

  • 2 cups Water
  • 4 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
  • 2 cups All-purpose Flour, plus extra as needed
  • 1 cup Salt
  • 4 teaspoons Cream of Tartar
  • 2 teaspoons Lemon Extract
  • Lemon Food Coloring, as needed

Tools

  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Saucepan
  • Spatula or wooden spoon
  • Cutting board

Instructions

  1. Place the water, food extract, food coloring and oil in a saucepan.
  2. Stir in the flour, salt and cream of tartar.
  3. Cook over medium heat until the dough starts to form a cohesive ball.
  4. Remove from heat and allow to cool until comfortable to touch.
  5. Knead on a floured surface until no longer sticky, about 2 minutes.
  6. Set the play dough out with the materials listed in the note below for a lemon meringue play dough invitation.

Notes

Set the play dough out with a variety of kitchen items for pretend pie making play, such as:

© Jennifer Tammy
Project Type: Play Dough / Category: Sensory Play

More Kitchen Pretend Play Ideas:

More Lemon Sensory Play Ideas:

A fun bake shop inspired play dough activity, this Lemon Meringue Pie Play Dough uses a super simple lemon play dough and some simple kitchen materials to make a hands-on sensory play experience that teaches literacy, numeracy and fine motor skills while being a ton of fun!  How to Make Lemon Meringue Pie Play Dough - a fun hands-on sensory experience for kids that teaches kitchen skills, literacy, numeracy, emotional intelligence AND builds fine motor skills

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