DIY Play-dough

Who doesn’t love play-dough?

While it may be easier to click and order play-doh in bulk from amazon and have it delivered to your doorstep in 2 days, I promise this recipe is not only easy to make, uses ingredients you likely already own but also produces great results!

This play-dough is super squishy and made enough for my kids to each have 3 individual ‘balls’ (which I probably could have divided up one more time). This was great when we added food coloring because my kids each got to pick 3 of their favorite colors to create.

As of recently, my kids LOVE to help in the kitchen! Sometimes it is a bit messier when they help and things take a little bit longer than if I were to just ‘do it myself’ but I love when their interest is sparked. Plus…it’s an activity…am I right?

2 things to note:

  1. You will NEED cream of tartar
  2. You will be cooking the ingredients (for less than 10 minutes).

Here is what you’ll need:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup salt
  • 4 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 2 cups of lukewarm water
  • 2 Tablespoons of vegetable oil (or coconut oil)
  • Food coloring
  • sandwich bags/plastic gloves


  • In a medium-to-large saucepan or pot, mix: flour, sat and cream of tartar.
  • Add water and oil.
  • IF YOU ARE ONLY MAKING 1 COLOR ADD FOOD COLORING (if you are planning on making multiple colors, wait to add until the dough is cooked and cooled).
  • Over medium heat, cook all the ingredients while constantly stirring. You will continue to stir until the dough has thickened and forms into a giant ball.
  • Once dough forms into a ball, remove the pan from heat. Place the dough onto wax paper and let it cool slightly.
  • Knead the dough until smooth (once it cooled enough, my kids were loving the ‘kneading’ process).
  • Divide the play-dough into balls (like I said, I was able to make 9 nice sized individual balls for each of my kids).
  • When adding food coloring, I used my thumb to create a small ‘dip’ in the center of the play-dough and added 4-5 drops of desired food coloring. I wore plastic gloves, and gently folded in the color while kneading the small ball of dough until the color was mixed or I felt I needed to add more. You can also place the ball of dough into a sandwich bag to mix, but I found the gloves to be easier for this process.

Once the color is mixed you’re ready to play! I like to have my kids use placemats when they play with play-dough (personal preference) but they were so happy playing with their homemade dough and so proud that ‘we made it!’

Keep play-dough stored in zip-lock plastic bags so it doesn’t get hard.

Some fun activities you can prepare with your kids using this recipe for play-dough include:

  • Color of the week
  • Primary colors (which colors to mix to make new colors)
  • Shapes (using cookie cutters)
  • Counting (let your older kids use the play-dough to break apart and use as counters)
  • Measuring (My kids love to roll out ‘play-dough snakes’. See how long your kids can make theirs!)
  • Senses (what senses do you use when you play with play-dough)
  • Comparisons and sorting (based on the color play-dough your kids have decided to create, see what else they can find around the house that is also the same color. See ‘how many more’ items in the house they could find in one color versus another).
  • Hand/footprint fun
  • ‘Guess what I am Hiding’ (have your kids gather 3-5 (small) items to hide in their play-dough. They can give you clues to see if you can use your sense of touch to determine what they’ve hidden in their play-dough)
  • CREATION STATION: what will your kids create and come up with?!