Toddler Christmas Craft: Homemade Dough Ornaments

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How the hell is it the middle of December?!?! The holidays snuck up on me. We have most of our shopping done (something I’ve never said before) but I’ve barely crafted and baked. These homemade dough ornaments count as both. This is a great Christmas craft: easy, economical, not too messy, and developmentally appropriate for toddlers. I’ll tape the dough ornaments to small gift bags (with my M&M Holiday Sugar Cookie Bars inside) for Big’s A therapists, Birth To Five worker, librarians, etc.

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Big A’s quiet smile tells me all the things he doesn’t say aloud

This post contains affiliate links which means that if you click on them and make a purchase, I may earn a bit of adult beverage money at no cost to you, which is a great way to support me and the site. Thank you so much!!!

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We’re gonna need a montage
A dough mixing montage

Cheap, Salty-Ass Play Doh

This activity was such fun! We hunkered around the kids’ table stirring the flour mixture. Making the salt dough was a perfect opportunity to work on pouring, manual dexterity, and increasing tactile stimulation tolerance with Big A.

Big A grinned throughout kneading the dough and using the cookie cutters. These novel actions inspired imitation, which is an important part of helping him with his autism.

Decorating the dough ornaments was the best part of the project. They were easy to paint and dried quickly. Big A worked on his ornaments longer than I thought he would. He loved mixing the paints in the palettes and using his brush (on aaaallllll the surfaces). Josh and I talked about primary colors and how they are mixed to make other colors. I’m not sure if Big A understood any of this but he enjoyed making orange from red and yellow.

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The ingredients are likely sitting around your house, easily assembled. The little bottles of poster paint, brushes, and palettes are hella cheap. This is a quick exercise to throw together on difficult days that call for resets (or just for fun!)

Story Time Important Pinterest graphic

Homemade Dough Ornaments


2 cups flour

1/2 cup salt

3/4 cup hot water

  • Preheat oven to 300° F or 150° C
  • Mix water and flour
  • Slowly add hot water while stirring
  • Place mixture on lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes (set a timer)
  • Roll out dough very thin (they’ll plump up slightly in the oven and you don’t want them too thick)
  • Cut into shapes using cookie cutters
  • Press kid’s fingers into an ornament if you’d like
  • Punch holes in the dough ornaments
  • Bake for 40 minutes
  • Let cool overnight (the longer you wait the drier they’ll be)
  • Decorate with the poster paint, glitter, etc (use a thin sharpee to write the year/names on back)
  • Once the paint’s dry, spray both sides with clear polyurethane
  • Tie loops of yarn or ribbon through the holes to hang
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After the baking (and decorating)

What kind of Christmas crafts do you like to do? Let me know in the comments below, I need some ideas. Don’t forget to nab your printable so you’ll have easy access to the homemade dough recipe. Like the activity? Please share this article!

Check out another easy, inexpensive craft here!

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Pro tip: Use shaving cream to get any paint off surfaces, it’ll come right up


Megan writes everything on Ish Mom. She possesses a bachelor's degree in psychology, a flair for theatrics, and a whole lotta nerve. She lives in the Midwest (and loves it) with her wonderful husband and three young boys.
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2 Responses

  1. So cute! We did dough ornaments too with a recipe I found on Pinterest (because of course). You’re very brave for letting the kids paint them, I just used stamps. Because if I have to clean ONE MORE EFFING THING IN THIS HOUSE SO HELP ME GOD!

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