How to Make Your Own Play Dough

A no fail fun “toy” for children is play dough (a.k.a. Play-Doh). I don’t remember playing with it as much when I was younger as I do now with my children. It is kinda’ cool and fun until pieces of non-play dough get rolled and flattened into it or it dries out and becomes really hard. After a few months of Play-Doh fun, we were finally left with a stash of dried-up crunchy pieces that were pretty much useless for real fun. The small clump of salvageable Play-Doh was not enough to distribute among three children, so it was time to buy more.

It would have been so easy to run to Target and buy more Play-Doh, but we decided to stay at home and do something different. We made our own. All of the ingredients are staples for us and you may even have them at home yourself. The recipe is straight forward and very, very easy. I wanted to be sure we had enough for all to play, so we doubled the recipe.

I know what you’re probably thinking. Any mixture of flour and water is a mess waiting to happen, but there was no clumping, icky gooey, or sticking to the hands mess. Because we doubled the recipe, I was a little caught off guard watching a container of salt that usually lasts for months disappear before my eyes in a matter of seconds.


1 cup flour (substitute organic flour to make organic play dough)
2 Tbsp. cream of tartar
1/2 cup salt
1 Tbsp. canola oil
1 cup boiling water

Start the water to boil. Using a medium size bowl, combine and whisk the first three ingredients. Add the oil and boiling water to the dry mixture and stir with a spoon or let the children mix with their fingers. Once well combined, place on a cutting board or other flat surface and knead until it becomes dough like. If the color is too boring as were the comments from “the help,” then add a few drops of their favorite food color to liven things up.

It may not be cookie dough, but there is always a test taster. At least I didn’t have to worry about Canyon sampling along the way since all of the ingredients are edible. They all eventually tasted the play dough and said it was pretty good. I’ll have to believe them because I have no intention of eating play dough anytime soon.

The play dough kept them busy for a great part of the day. The fun was enhanced by using cookie cutters, child-safe knives (or Popsicle sticks work well for cutting), and a rolling pin.

homemade playdough

The next time you’re at the grocery store, stock up on a few extra containers of salt to keep on hand for making more play dough, as well as for other fun craft and cooking projects. You may want to double the recipe and store in a sealed container for future use. The shelf life on this play dough is incredible. Ours hasn’t dried up yet.

What children’s activity item did you use to buy and are now making at home?

Mommy Notes: The play dough makes a great party favor, gift to friends, and is a fun, not messy play date activity.

If you use food coloring, then wear non-absorbent gloves when mixing. I had green fingers for a few days after mixing the color in with my bare hands.

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