Rolling in Dough: Philanthropy Lesson (K)

K, 1, 2

The purpose of this lesson is to demonstrate to students that being in a group requires cooperation, working together, getting along and resolving conflicts. The activity enables the children to accomplish this while having fun at the same time.

Lesson Rating 
PrintOne Thirty-Minute Class Period

The learner will:

  • develop the tools necessary for working and playing in a group.
  • describe and demonstrate behaviors that are necessary for people to work together in a group.
  • Large bowl and ingredients for play dough.
  • Recipe:3 cups flour, ¾ cup salt, ½ cup water
  • Powdered paint or food coloring (a few pinches to tint the dough). Increase recipe proportionally to make enough for the entire class.
Home Connection 

Interactive Parent / Student Homework:Teacher will duplicate the recipe for play dough and send copies home to the parents. Teacher can encourage parents to work with their children using other recipes.


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Explain that we are going to make play dough and “cooperation” is a necessary ingredient. Have the recipe written on the board for children to refer to, include the word cooperation in the list of ingredients.

  2. Arrange class into small groups.

  3. Explain the recipe to the class.

  4. Before beginning the project, discuss the expectations of each student concerning the proper way to work together.

  5. Give a portion of the ingredients to each of the children in the group.

  6. Encourage all of the children to become involved in the preparation.

  7. First, add the water to the bowl, next the dry ingredients, then the students should take turns kneading the play dough.

  8. When the play dough is finished, the group should divide it equally.

  9. Children then may have a period of playtime with the play dough.

  10. Discuss with the children the benefit of doing this project as a group:

    • Why was cooperation listed as one of the ingredients in the recipe?
    • Did your group work together? Did you share, care, cooperate?
    • Did you share time, talent or treasure?
    • What is a person called who shares those things? philanthropist
    • How were we able to make enough play dough for the entire classroom community?
    • What made this activity more fun? working with friends
  11. Play dough may be stored in an air tight container in the refrigerator.


Teacher observation. Note whether children were able to cooperate and create the play dough together.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark E.3 Describe a benefit of group cooperation.
    2. Standard PCS 05. Philanthropy and Government
      1. Benchmark E.8 Describe classroom behaviors that help the students learn.
    3. Standard PCS 07. Skills of Civic Engagement
      1. Benchmark E.3 Participate in acts of democratic citizenship in the classroom or school, such as voting, group problem solving, classroom governance or elections.