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How to Make Homemade Playdough

how to make homemade playdough

Close up of kids hands molding colorful child's play clay. Learning educational activities for children at home or in kindergarten.

What’s not to love about playdough? The kids love playing with it, and we moms love the hands-on exploration and engagement it provides. As a mom and former elementary teacher, pulling out the playdough has often been a surefire way to knock out boredom with my kids or students, calm down an emotional child, or keep little ones busy when I need to get a quick task done.

My son (Fitz, five years old) and I tried making our own playdough today, and we want to share the recipe and tips with you! I’m not one to be that great in the kitchen, so I promise you, if I can make a great batch of homemade playdough, you can too!

Why Make Your Own Playdough?

There are a few benefits that we found to making our own playdough! I didn’t think of some until we made it ourselves, and we are so glad we did.

No-Bake Homemade Playdough Recipe

We used this recipe that uses boiling water instead of baking. We liked it because it made small batches so we could quickly and easily make a few different colors.


The Steps

First, whisk the dry ingredients (flour, salt, and cream of tartar) together in a plastic bowl. Then, push them to the edge of the bowl to make a well in the center of the bowl.

Then add the wet ingredients (boiling water and vegetable oil) into the well.

This was also when we added the food coloring and scented extract. Today we used strawberry for our red and lemon for our yellow playdough. (We kept the blue without a scent so we could see what it naturally smelled like . . . and it was so good too!) After adding the wet ingredients, use a spatula to mix until the dough begins forming.

Then we used our hands to further knead the dough together. You will want to be sure all the color gets mixed in evenly too. Having disposable gloves on hand was helpful because the dough will be hot due to the boiling water. It also keeps your hands from getting colored by the dye as it mixes in. Fitz loved this part!

That’s it! You have your homemade playdough. You can always adjust any ingredients if necessary:

Playing with your homemade dough.

You don’t have to have fancy or expensive equipment to have fun with your homemade playdough! These are our favorite (and simple!) ways to play:

Finally, don’t forget to provide a designated playdough play area to keep things contained and easy to pick up. A cookie sheet works for a quick and small workspace. We also often use a foam board that we tuck away and can easily pull out to reuse. Or, spread out a splat mat on the ground for a larger space that you can easily wash after play!

Our final rating: 10/10! We loved making our own playdough, and Fitz already has ideas on what colors and scents he wants to try next. What do you think — would you make your own homemade playdough? We’d love to know if you try it!

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