Stimulate the senses with a non-toxic salt dough spiced up with aromatic herbs, spices, and extracts.


To make the dough, you will need:

  • 1 cup white flour
  • 1/2 cup table salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • Kitchen knife or scissors
  • Saucepan
  • Foil
  • Plastic wrap
  • Wax paper

You will also need an assortment of aromatic herbs, spices, and extracts. (See scent suggestions below.)

Prior to the activity:

  1. Make the salt dough. Mix flour, salt, water, oil, and cream of tartar in a saucepan. Stir over medium low heat until a ball forms. Remove from heat and place dough on a piece of foil until cooled. Divide the dough into six balls measuring about 3" in diameter.
  2. Select your herbs and/or spices. If using herbs, chop them and place in separate containers. Set aside.

During the activity:

  1. Give each participant a ball of dough and ask them to select one of the chopped herbs, a spice, or an extract.
  2. Instruct participants to flatten the ball and top it with an herb or spice. If using an extract, just a drop should do.
  3. Then, roll the scent into the ball and knead the dough until the scent is distributed throughout. If the scent is too faint, simply add more.
  4. Discuss the scents. Do they evoke a memory? Does the participant have a story to go with their scent? Does kneading the dough remind them of baking homemade bread?

Scent suggestions:

  • Herbs: fresh or dried mint, dill, rosemary, oregano, sage, chives, lavender
  • Spices: ground cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, pumpkin pie spice, mustard powder
  • Extracts: vanilla, almond, lemon, orange, peppermint, anise

Ideas and tips:

  • Place the scented dough in an airtight container or bag and use again.
  • Roll out the dough and use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes. Allow to dry, and you have scented ornaments.
Group Size Time of Day Duration Acuity Level
1 on 1
Small (2 - 4)
30 minutes Long-term Care
Memory Care
Facilitator Gender
Programming Coed
Wellness Domains

Social, Emotional

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