Rolling in Dough

K, 1, 2

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

PrintOne Thirty-Minute Session

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
  • food coloring (a few pinches to tint the dough). Increase recipe proportionally to make enough for the entire group


  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 children into small groups.

  3. Explain the recipe process and ingredients. Discuss the expectations of each child concerning the proper way to work together. Stress that each person in the group should participate, and it is the group's responsibility to make sure each person has a role.

  4. Directions: Put the water and food coloring in the bowl, add the dry ingredients, and stir. Put the play dough on the table and knead until smooth.

  5. The group may divide it equally and play with the dough or work together to make something.

  6. 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 for the good of the group?
    • What made this activity more fun? working with friends
  7. Play dough may be stored in an air tight container in the refrigerator.

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.