Easy Homemade Playdough

I often struggle with coming up with activities to do with H. You know, fun activities that stimulate his mind… and aren’t too messy. A few weeks ago I watched my nephew C for the day. I made sure to have a bunch of activities planned: we went to story time in the morning, then to the park, lunch, nap, and then… what? I decided to make play-dough. I’ve done it before with the neighbor kids and it’s always a hit. I wasn’t sure if H would enjoy it yet, but it’s super simple to make so I decided it was worth a try.

It takes about 5-10 minutes to make it and then another 10 to cool down, but really it’s not too bad. I put it in the fridge, and it may have been even less than 10 minutes to cool. H (who is 19 months) wasn’t in love with the play-dough, but he did enjoy putting his fingers in it, smooshing it, and throwing it (of course). He also enjoyed looking at the fine art pieces deformed animals I created. C (who is 3) loved it. He loved smooshing it, cutting it out with cookie cutters, building animals and looking at my animals. He seriously could have played with it for hours, I think. I cut him off at one so we could go outside and play for awhile and because H was getting bored. I’m a mean auntie.

All in all, I definitely think it was worth it. I’ve brought it out once other time since then, and H still feels the same way: he plays with it for around 10 minutes, and is then bored. But, really, I think that’s just his age. I like the mess to play-time ratio though, especially since the play-dough should last for many more play sessions. Plus, it’s just really fun to have an excuse to play with play-dough!

You can dye the play-dough any color you want! I used just regular liquid food coloring – I used green at C’s request. I also added a few drops of mine essential oil . You can add any scent you want, extract or EO. Just add it a few drops at a time until you get the scent you want; you don’t want it to be too overpowering. You can also add glitter for some sparkle! (I didn’t)


  • ½ cup salt
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 Tbs cream of tarter
  • 2 Tbs oil
  • I cup water
  • Food color
  • Scent
  1. Mix everything together in a medium saucepan and place over medium heat.
  2.  Cook, stirring constantly, until dough forms a ball. At first it won’t look like it will, but trust me – it will happen, and you will know it.
  3. Knead until smooth and then allow to cool. Store in a sealed container so it doesn’t dry out.

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