Making your own playdough is a fun and easy activity that both kids and adults will enjoy.
Not only is it more affordable to make your own, but you can also customize the ingredients of your playdough recipe to create the perfect batch of homemade playdough for your needs.
While buying store bought playdough is always an easy option, it is expensive! That’s why we decided to make our own Playdough recipe.
Not only is it cheaper than store-bought Playdough, but it’s also really easy to make. In less than 5 minutes, you can have a batch of Playdough that will last you for months!
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Besides, it provides children a great opportunity to get creative and hands-on – mixing materials, measuring, and stirring.
Homemade Playdough Recipe
Playdough is a great sensory material for children. A favorite activity for kids of all ages, Playdough is soft and squishy, easy to mold into different shapes, and can be cut with ease. And a great way to keep kids entertained indoors as well as outdoors.
However, what many people don’t know is that it can be easily made at home. Playdough can be made at home with just a few simple ingredients from your pantry.
In this article, we will share the best playdough recipes with you that can be easily tweaked according to your creativity.
DIY Playdough Recipe Ingredients
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup salt
- 1 1/2 cups boiling water
- 4 tsp. cream of tartar
- 2 tbsp. of vegetable oil (coconut oil, baby oil works too)
- Food coloring – Optional
- Large mixing bowl
How To Make Playdough With Cream of Tartar
Step 1: In a large bowl, add 2 cups of flour, 1/2 a cup of salt and 4 tsp. cream of tartar.
Step 2: Mix the dry ingredients well and evenly.
Step 3: Add 2 tbsp. of vegetable oil to the flour mixture. You can use coconut oil, olive oil or any other cooking oil (no baby oil) if you want to make a DIY Edible Playdough.
If you have older kids who don’t put playthings in their mouths, you can even use baby oil.
Step 4: Add boiling water to the mixing bowl while continuously stirring the flour mixture with spatula. Make sure that there are no knots or lumps in the dough. Keep stirring till the dough is smooth.
A word of caution – Since we are using boiling water, it is advised not to touch the dough at this step.
You can replace boiling water with warm water as well. But in the latter case, you will have to cook the dough over medium heat as you add in warm water.
Step 5: Let the dough cool. The playdough might feel a little sticky at this stage but that is fine. As it cools, it will thicken and the stickiness will go away.
Step 6: Once your playdough is nice and cool, it is time to add in food coloring. If you do not want to colour it, leave it as it is. It is ready to be played with.
In case, you wish to make coloured play dough, follow through the next steps.
Step 7: Divide the dough into the balls according to the number of colours you want to have.
Step 8: Make nice flattened cakes of the playdough balls and add a few drops of liquid food coloring into each cake. We suggest using gel food coloring for brighter colours.
Quick Tip: We observed our coloured play dough darkened over time. So, don’t rush to add in more food colouring if you think the colours are too light.
Step 9: Knead the dough nicely till the entire food coloring has evenly spread in the dough.
Another word of caution here – To prevent your counter from getting stained by food coloring, we recommend you cover the counter with wax paper. And to keep your hands from getting stained, wear gloves.
After the food coloring is well mixed into your homemade playdough, it is time to play with it.
This is one of the best homemade playdough recipes you will come across! It makes soft, easily mouldable DIY playdough that is fun to play with and lasts for months when kept properly.
But still if it looks like a lot of trouble, we suggest you make Moon Sand. It is a mouldable sand that is super soft and offers a wonderful sensory experience to toddlers and kids.
In case you are looking for a gluten-free playdough recipe, simply replace the flour in the above recipe with gluten free flour. Some of the options are cornflour, almond flour and rice flour.
However, we must point out that the texture with almond flour and rice flour is not just as smooth as of the DIY playdough made with all-purpose flour.
This easy playdough recipe uses cream of tartar to stabilise the homemade playdough and give it the soft squishy texture.
In case you want to make a playdough without cream of tartar, here is a quick and easy recipe to try.
Best Playdough Recipe Without Cream of Tartar
This playdough recipe substitutes cream of tartar with lemon juice. Here is what you need to make playdough without cream of tartar:
- 2 cups All-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup Salt
- 1 1/2 cup of boiling hot water
- 6 tbsp. lemon juice
- 2 tbsp. cooking oil
- Gel Food coloring
- Large Mixing Bowl
- Latex Gloves
- Wax paper
How To Make Homemade Playdough Without Cream of Tartar
Step 1: Add 2 cups of all-purpose flour and 1/2 a cup of salt in a large mixing bowl.
Step 2: Mix the salt and flour until well combined.
Step 3: Add 2 tbsp. of vegetable oil to the flour mixture. Just like the playdough recipe using cream of tartar, you can use any oil. Be it coconut oil or baby oil, depending upon whether you wish to make a taste-safe version or not.
Step 4: In a jug, mix 6 tbsp. of lemon juice with 1 1/2 cup of boiling water.
Step 5: Gradually add the water and lemon juice solution to the flour mixture while stirring the mixture continuously.
Make sure there are no lumps and keep stirring the mixture till it reaches a dough-like consistency and has a perfectly smooth texture.
Caution: Make sure not to touch the dough with your hands as it will be quite hot because of the boiling water.
Step 6: Let the playdough cool before you can add colors or essential oils for a greater sensorial effect.
If you are making colour free playdough, you are all done and ready to play with your own playdough.
If you want to add in colours, just follow the next steps.
Step 7: Divide the dough into equal balls of playdough depending upon the number of food colours you have.
Step 8: Line your counter with wax paper to prevent it from staining.
Step 9: Take one dough ball at a time and flatten it with your hand. Make sure to add food coloring in the middle of the flattened ball and knead the playdough till the food colouring has evenly combined with the playdough.
Quick tip: To make homemade playdough with the least amount of stains, use lighter colours.
To keep your kiddo’s hands (and clothes and counters) stain free, choose light pastel colors and skip the bright ones. We learned with experience and multiple trials that brighter darker colours stain most even after one or two rounds of play.
Step 10: Lastly, add in your favorite fragrance by adding a few drops of essential oils to the homemade playdough to make it smell heavenly. Make sure to knead it well after adding the essential oils.
Our kids love lavender smelling playdough. But you can try whatever aromas appeal to your kids. Be it rose, lemon grass or something fun like bubble gum fragrance oil!
Related: If your kids enjoyed making playdough at home, we bet they will adore DIY Kinetic Sand! It is almost magical how easily it moulds and yet maintains its fluidity.
What we really appreciate about homemade playdough recipes is their flexibility. You can make as many colours as you want from this basic easy recipe.
Or add another sensorial dimension by adding in essential oils to make lovely smelling playdough.
Quick Tip: Try adding Kool-aid to your playdough just before mixing in water. It will give you wonderfully smelling, lightly coloured dough.
And if these variations weren’t enough, you can also make glitter play dough at home. No wonder, we feel this is the best playdough recipe and the only play dough recipe you will ever need!
DIY Glitter Play dough Recipe
Making glitter playdough at home is just as easy. You can use either of the above playdough recipes – with cream of tartar or without cream of tartar to make your very own sparkle playdough.
All you need is 2 tbs. of biodegradable or eco-friendly glitter along with the ingredients of the recipe you have chosen.
How To Make DIY Glitter Playdough
Step 1: Choose the playdough recipe you wish to make.
Step 2: Follow all through the standard steps before water is added.
Step 3: Once you have combined the dry ingredients and added the oil, it is time to add in the glitter to the flour mixture before adding in water. Combine the mixture well to evenly spread the glitter.
Step 4: Next, add boiling water and follow the remaining steps of the recipe you are following.
That’s all! With just a small tweak before adding in water and your glitter playdough is ready! Such an easy glitter playdough recipe, right?
Next, you can add in food coloring and essential oils to make your glitter dough colorful and smelling heavenly!
How To Fix Sticky Playdough
At times, the playdough can be a sticky mess. However, our advice is to be patient. It can be easily fixed.
If you think playdough is sticky after you have added water, it is better to wait until it has cooled. It thickens naturally upon cooling, so don’t worry if your homemade playdough feels sticky at this point.
But if your playdough feels sticky even after it has cooled down, you can fix it by kneading or simply adding a little more all-purpose flour (or gluten-free flour if you are making the gluten-free version).
Most of the time a good round of kneading the flour does the trick. In case your playdough continues to stick, add more flour – small quantities at time and knead it well. This should fix it.
How To Store Homemade Play dough
Playdough tends to dry when left exposed to air. To lengthen its shelf life, you must store it properly.
To prevent playdough from drying and becoming hard and crumbly, you can store it in an airtight container when not in use. This will help to keep it from drying out and prolong its shelf life.
If you live in a humid climate, you may want to store the Playdough in the fridge to prevent it from getting too sticky.
How To Soften DIY Playdough Again
It is not unusual for play dough to dry out if not stored properly in air-tight containers. However, you don’t need to throw the dried, crumbly playdough. It can be easily fixed.
Playdough that has dried out can often be revived with a little bit of water. Simply add a few drops of water to the dough and knead it until it is soft again.
If the Playdough is still too crumbly, add a bit more water to your crumbly playdough until it reaches the desired consistency.
Or simply take a damp towel and wrap your dried playdough in it and keep it overnight in an air-tight container or a zip pouch. This tip works wonders with overly dried playdough and seldom fails to revive it.
You can also add a few drops of water to hard Playdough toys to soften them up as well. This is a great way to extend the life of your child’s Playdough toys!
Playdough Activities to Try With Kids
Playing with Playdough is a great way to promote creativity and imagination in children. It can also help to improve fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.
What’s more, playdough easily integrates with art activities as well as learning activities. It is versatile, fun to use and easy on the pocket. Children can spend hours playing with playdough.
1. Literacy Activities
Let the humble play dough be your partner in teaching letters and words to your kids. Encourage the kids to make letters using play dough. Older kids can practise making sight words with play dough.
This will not only aid their learning but also strengthen their fine motor skills!
Related: Here are some wonderful Preschool Literacy Ideas to try with kids.
2. Numeracy Activities
Teach your kids numbers and mathematical operations using play dough as a tool. There are so many ways to teach addition and subtraction using play dough.
Make small balls out of play dough and let your child count them. Planning on teaching basic operations? Make play dough balls in two colors and let your children replace numbers with the play dough balls.
Making shapes with playdough is another fun math activity for preschool kids. Use cookie cutters to make different shapes in play dough.
Stamp on the playdough to make patterns and let your child figure out what will come next. There are so many fun ways to teach math using playdough. Let your creativity run loose.
Related: Also try these Fun Math Games for Kindergarten. They work like a charm at sneaking learning into play.
3. Practise Scissor Skills
Nothing can be as much fun as cutting playdough with child-safe scissors. Let your child cut the playdough into different shapes or simply cut along the lines or patterns marked on the playdough.
4. Make Art
Perhaps the most popular way to play with is making art. Let your kids roll snakes and snails, make funny playdough faces, carve drawings or simply let their creativity guide them to make their very own art using playdough.
5. Pretend Play
It’s no secret children love pretend play. Let your little baker make playdough cakes and cookies or simply make noodles using playdough.
Let your kids make jewellery for their dolls (or themselves!) with homemade play dough
There is so much they can do with playdough!
Related: If your little one is a fan of pretend play, nothing can excite him/her more than playing with Fake Snow in summers!
Over To You…
These no cook recipes are certainly the best homemade playdough recipes to try with kids! We simply love how easily they can be customised, allowing your kids to get creative in making play dough.
Making a long lasting playdough could not get any easier.
When stored properly in an airtight container or zip bag, homemade play dough can last for several months without getting dry.
To keep the playdough soft, wrap it in a cling film before storing it in an airtight container.
1. Make play dough figures
2. Practise scissor skills with play dough
3. Practise math and literacy with play dough
4. Indulge in pretend play
5. Make art with playdough
1. Boosts fine motor skills
2. Develops hand-eye coordination
3. Promotes dexterity and writing skills
4. Encourages creativity
5. Helps in calming down