DIY Sensory Gak

Tessa BowersADHD, Autism, DIY, Essential Oils, Sensory Processing Disorder


Coming on the tail end of summer, Momma’s are weary and kiddos think they are bored.

Enter Sensory Play.  The use of sensory play can assist your child with touching, smelling and playing with the texture in an environment with little expectation.  It can also help to build nerve connections in the brain and encourages the development of motor skills.  The perfect tool for all neuro and non-neurotypical children.

We utilize several forms of sensory play since every child enjoys different things.  My daughter loves it all, as a seeker she is always looking to touch, mix, smell, play, jump, and anything else you can think off in anything water and all things earth.  Unfortunately sensory play is almost always messy, so if you are that mom (like me) that tires of the mess, be prepared with mats, cloths, close access to the sink with no distractions along the way.   What I love about this recipe is it is by far the easist thing to clean up, which is good as when I wasn’t looking it ended up in the craft area, but more on that later.

Aromatherapy Gak Dough is a little bit slimy, a little bit forming, and a whole lot of calm.  This is not for the child that loves to taste all the things though, but with the right ingredients its not the end of the world if there is a lick here or there.

I love this recipe because its simple, most people have all the ingredients in their home, its super easy to clean up, and it kept my girl distracted for almost an hour with several days of play.

Be mindful to use products that are as much plant based and organic if possible, especially if your littlle one is not neurotypical and/or may attempt to eat the gak.

ingredients long


  • 2.25 cups Cornstarch (we used a store brand but in the future I would use this)
  • 1/2 cup shampoo (thick gel-like shampoo works best.  We rotate between this one or this one) If you don’t know about all the nasty things in shampoo shoot me a message or check out
  • Food coloring or liquid watercolors is opitonal (my girl loves purple so we choose plant based to keep the artificial dyes far away.)
  • 6-9 tablespoons of water
  • 8-10 drops of your child’s favorite Young Living Essential Oil (my daughter rotates between Valor, Peace & Calming, and Stress Away all of which can be found in my favorite starter kit)

Friends if you are not using essential oils, now is the time.  So many great choices for emotions, focus, wellness, tummy upset and so much more.  We use a lot of Stress Away, Valor, and Peace & Calming in our home.  All fantastic for melt downs, calming, sleep (yes so good,) and emotional strength for moms, dads, and our kiddos.  When you order your Premium Starter Kit you not only get 12 oils, a free diffuser, but you get me to help you learn how to safely use your essential oils around your whole family, pets too!  Along with a wealth of oily education, product tips, and support.  Ok back to the directions!



  1. If your kiddo will be assisting you, I would suggest taping a trash bag down on the counter or table.  I use the blue painters tape for the bag and it works great!
  2. Add cornstarch to bowl or container of choice
  3. If you are coloring your Gak Dough, mix colorant into 1/2 cup of shampoo, along with your essential oils until combined

drops to shampoo mixed liquids

4. Add Shampoo mix to cornstarch and stir to combine well.  The mixture will appear crumbly.

liquids with powder powder

5. Add water to mixture 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing thoroughly to distribute the water each time.  You want to add enough water that the a rolled portion of dough forms a ball that “melts” when held in your hand….the difference in this melting stage can be about 1 tablespoon.


6. Once you have a nice shiny dough that holds together in a ball but slowly melts in the absence of pressure, you are ready to play! Keep in mind that as you all play with this mixture it may dry out, add a little water to your hands as needed. It should be just enough to rehydrate the dough.

just gak7. When you are done playing, add 1/4 tsp of water to the dough and store in a sealed container.  The water will help keep it from drying out before your kiddo is ready to play with it again.  I would strongly suggest a container over a ziploc bag.  Ours lasted for about 5-7 days at room temperature.

** If you add too much water, add a little more cornstarch and if its too crumbly add a little more water.  Remember to rehydrate **

Want to mix it up a little?  Add some figurines, loose parts or cut it up with a play dough knife.  If you are like my daughter, she wants glitter in everything, sure add a little.  Just know that the gak cleans off well but normally the glitter sticks around.  So if you are cool with purple glitter all over you home, more power to you.

An hours worth of play for 4 days was golden.  Our sweet pea is notorious for jumping from project to project and she loves messy.  While this was a little messy, it was super easy to clean up and thanks to the shampoo it cleaned as it went!  The added essential oils allowed her to focus more, relax, and actually enjoy the whole process.  We will put that in as a total Mom Win!

kid playing with gak
I hope you enjoy this recipe!

~ Tessa