Homemade Play Dough

Homemade Play Dough is super easy to make and better than anything you can buy. It's the perfect activity to do with your kids at home!

One of the greatest gifts I was given when I married my husband was an amazing mother-in-law. She's sweet, easy-going AND a pre-school teacher. Talk about a trifecta! She always shares her wise advice about all issues pertaining to young kids. One of the most fun activities she does with her classes is make play dough. She says the kids take such pride in making what they play with, and I found that very in line with my own philosophy about kids taking part in helping make their own meals.

We first prepared this recipe with Kenya when he was only 18 months old, and he had a blast. It only took us minutes to make 3 batches so we could have 3 different colors and the recipe makes tons! This Homemade Play Dough is just about as much fun to make as it is to play with! They love coming up with their own fun play dough creations. It's amazing to see their imaginations run wild! 

I've been making homemade play dough with all of my kids for years and the fun continues. It's a must for any kid looking to work on their fine motor skills and looking to expand their creativity for hours of play. I always have tons of cookie cutters on hand for making fun lunches and such, so those are great for this activity too! We try use dye free food coloring too.

Homemade Play Dough is loads of fun at home! Make sure you store it in a ziploc bag or other storage container so that it doesn't dry out. There's nothing worse than cracked, dried out Play Dough! We love using these glass containers, but any tupperware will do. Give this homemade play dough recipe a try, and let me know what amazing shapes and colors your little ones make!

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Homemade Play Dough

Prep Time: 0 mins Cook Time: 3 mins

Ingredients

  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 cup table salt (such as Mortons)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • dye free food coloring (you can use as much or as little as you want depending on how intense you want the color)

Preparation

1. Place the first 3 ingredients in a medium saucepan and stir to combine.

2. Add the remaining ingredients (including the food color) and stir over low heat for 2-3 minutes stirring constantly until mixture forms a ball and starts to dry out.

3. Remove from the pot and place on a counter. Knead mixture 1 minute until smooth, elastic and cool. 

4. You’re ready to play! (Make sure to keep it in a ziploc bag or tupperware to retain it’s moisture when you’re not using it).

Make N' Share!
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Hi, I’m Catherine. Mama of three. A Kentucky girl living in California. Here’s what I know: all kids can be great eaters and mealtime must be easy. I create simple, healthy recipes the whole family will love.

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32 comments

  • Shelly

    I love your blog! I remember making play dough when I was in school. I would love to make some today, but I don't have cream of tartar. Is there a substitute for it?

    leave a comment

  • Amanda

    Awesome recipe! I recently found a really nice Cinnamon Play Dough recipe that is really similar except you use whole wheat flour and five tablespoons of cinnamon. no food coloring is used. add water if it gets to dry.

    leave a comment

  • Joanna

    I love this! My daughter is 20 months old and this sounds like a fun rainy-day thing to keep the little rascal busy! Yay!

    leave a comment

  • Jennifer

    Great recipe! We use the same one except instead of food coloring use sugar-free Koolaid to color and make the play-doh smell good. It works fantastic and doesn't taste good if eaten!!

    leave a comment

  • Kelly

    Is the cream of tartar necessary or be substituted with something else?

    leave a comment

  • Sarah

    How long does the play-doh last? I am excited to try this!

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  • Erinn

    I'm definitely going to try this. I make my own finger paint so I'm excited to add play-dough to the fun. They're both so easy and great for a last minute activity.

    leave a comment

  • Emily Clarke-Haughn

    I found it was a little sticky when we were kneading it , we just had to add a little flour to make it not stick to our hands but thanks for the idea , perfect when your stuck inside on a rainy day like today.

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  • Holly

    mine is turning out soupy...any advice.

    @ erinn would love to know your recipe for finger paint!

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  • Holly

    ok...not soupy, but farina cereal-like...not like store bought playdough... any tips?

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

      Hmm, Ive made this recipe plenty of times, did you use anything different than what the recipe calls for?

      leave a comment

  • Sarah

    My son and I made this today - it was great! The only thing is that after 2-3 min of cooking mine was like Holly's above (like a cooked cereal consistency). I found that I had to cook it for more like 10-15 min before it formed a ball and wasn't sticky.

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  • Karen

    I think the reason she didn't use the Kool-aid is because it has food additives and dyes in it. Obviously though this is not a food, so making the Kool-aid one (for older kids who won't be tempted to eat it) wouldn't be a big deal.

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  • Lindsey

    My Grandma use to make this, my mom made it for me, and I make it for my kids. I was a preschool teacher and tried out all kids of different recipes. This one was the best. I have never had it dry out on me. It was even in our moving truck in 112* weather .We moved across the country . Still soft as can be. Just keep it in a baggy =)

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  • Rimazat

    It is raining. I want to make play dough. I do not have cream or tartar. Please tell me i Ii can leave it out or use a substitute? Two others have asked this question too, PLEASE help. Thanks in advance

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    • Catherine

      Yes, the cream of tartar is necessary to get the right consistency of the playdough!

      leave a comment

  • Drake's Mamma

    Hi - I live in Switzerland, and can't seem to find cream of tartar anywhere! I don't suppose you know of a European equivalent?

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    • Catherine

      You might find it under the name tartaric acid or potassium tartare!

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  • Emily

    i dont have cream of tartar so i would like to know if i can use baking powder instead and still turn out as play dough not that sticky soupy stuff...?

    leave a comment

    • Geoff

      Please try SpicesForLess.com for Cream of Tartar and salt (along with 450 other spices and seasonings as well!!)

      leave a comment

  • Brittany

    Dogs and cats
    Domino
    Heley

    leave a comment

    • Folkza

      hello! great to get a comment all d way fm Louisiana!this is d wornedful thing about blogging--i get to 'meet' ppl fm all around d world!do keep in touch n if i can help with ur cooking (i have a good scones recipe fm my friend), just ask me.

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  • Aryanna

    can i use baking powder instead of cream of tartae

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  • Aryanna

    i mean tartar

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  • GF New Mama

    Has anyone tried to make this GF? :)

    If so, Does it come out OK?

    leave a comment

  • Leah

    I made this today with my 18 month old and she LOVED it! She did eat a little bit but after she realized it wasn't very tasty she just played with it. She actually played with it for about an hour. It was amazing! Thank you for this recipe!

    leave a comment

  • Emma Voigt

    Would like to be added to your emailing list.. Many thanks..

    leave a comment

  • Garland.Jenny

    Has anyone made this gluten free? I'm going to try using Glutino flour and see how it goes!

    leave a comment

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