Making an Animal Habitat with Play-dough, Leaves and Twigs

1Creating an Animal Habitat 5 | MerMag

We have a collection of animal figurines (we have a tradition of acquiring one for each kid based wherever we go on vacation-read more about it here) and last week we decided to make a little habitat for some of them using play-dough, scavenged leaves, twigs, etc. This activity is great for toddlers and preschoolers but when my older boys came home, they loved digging in and playing around with it too.

Creating an Animal Habitat 1 | MerMag

It was easy making a little teepee by simply sticking a few twigs into the play-dough, tying off the top and wrapping some fabric around it all. There’s something really satisfying and sensory about little fingers squishing and sticking animals, twigs and more into the dough.

Our bears have a penchant for teepees 😉 but you could go authentic by molding bear caves from the play-dough which is lots of fun too.

Creating an Animal Habitat 7 | MerMag Creating an Animal Habitat 8 | MerMag Creating an Animal Habitat 3 | MerMag

We made apricot and cherry scented play-dough which was also very sensory and fun. (Miss M really notices scents – more than her brother did at this age.)

We decided to try a jello play-dough recipe and this is the one we liked best:


  • 1 cup of  flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 Tbs cream of tarter
  • 2 Tbs salt
  • 2 Tbs oil
  • 1 package of Jello (we used apricot and cherry jello flavors)

Making the Dough:

Mix together all ingredients on the stove over low. Stir constantly (I used a bamboo spatula that worked great) until dough forms a ball. Take it off the stove and let it cool for about 20 min.

Once cool, your dough should be ready to kneed and play with!

cherry + apricot playdoughCreating an Animal Habitat 4 | MerMag Creating an Animal Habitat 5 | MerMag Creating an Animal Habitat9 | MerMagCreating an Animal Habitat 6 | MerMag

We want to try a few playing around with a few natural play-dough recipes. I really like the idea of adding essential oils too as I think that would really therapeutic for some of my kids (and me!).

5 Responses to “Making an Animal Habitat with Play-dough, Leaves and Twigs”

  1. Marie

    Hi, I’m “Marie”
    I love these ideas, especially with nature as your art medium. All of the twigs and leaves flowers and berries etc. can be found freely and for free. After a little nature walk collecting = hours of creative play! Confession.. These ideas have magically transported my mind back to when I was a little girl, and I’m practically persuaded to run outside and make mud pies! No lie. Of course you’re play-dough option is a tempting substitute with less mess and less laundry. Keep these imaginative ideas coming, I enjoyed them so much thank you.


    These are incredibly adorable MerMag! Just so amazed! Your photographs are always such a stunning addition! What a perfect project for this fall!


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