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Best Homemade Playdough Recipe

We are excited to bring you the best homemade playdough recipe you will ever make!!  This playdough is soft, pliable, and will last for a long time in an airtight bag or container.  Playdough provides tons of learning fun for little and big kids alike.  Making homemade playdough is so easy, and much cheaper, than the store-bought alternative, so I hope you give our wonderful homemade playdough recipe a try! Desktop67

We have tried a few homemade playdough recipes, but the one below is the one my mother used to make for us.  I found it in an old kids’ activity book that she gave to me during my kindergarten teaching days.  I am just nostalgic about this being the same recipe she used. Oh I remember the smell (and let’s be honest, the taste!) of salt — do you remember homemade playdough from your childhood? Store-bought playdough can cost $4 or so for just a tiny set of 1oz jars.  Not only that, but it smells weird, in my humble opinion.  Why not make your own playdough — it is so much cheaper and safer (you know the ingredients are safe in case your child may want to mouth it)! 

Our Recipe:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1 tablespoon cream of tarter (or alum)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil


  1. Add ingredients into a big pot on medium heat.
  2. Stir constantly until the playdough becomes a big ball and does not stick to the sides of the pot.
  3. Place on a plate and flatten out to cool.

DSC07157 Adding color to playdough: You can add food coloring, liquid watercolor paint, or even a packet of Kool-Aid to your playdough for lovely color.  There are two methods that I’ve tried:

  1. Adding the color to the pot about half-way through cooking, while it is still liquid.  I prefer this method.  (However, then you only end up with one color, so the below method is best if you want to make multiple colors at a time.)
  2. After the playdough is cooling on your plate, divide the playdough into balls and poke a hole in the center, add the food coloring inside and knead it into the dough.  I find that I can’t knead it long enough (I don’t have the patience or stamina) to get the colors fully distributed — the pictures are from doing it this way and the color isn’t perfect, but it’s still awfully pretty.

Playdough variations: There are many ways to make the playdough “themed” or to aid in learning in homeschool.

Tools and learning ideas for playdough fun:

  • speak to your child about their five senses and the playdough activity in front of them
  • listen to your children describe their experiences
  • sit back and observe your children without leading their play time
  • write a letter or number with objects (such as blocks) in the play dough
  • write a letter with a finger in the dough
  • ask your child to count out a certain number of play dough balls or make shapes
  • stamp plastic letters into the dough
  • build words with hidden letters in the dough
  • get out some Melissa & Doug play dough tools
  • add letters to the play dough for sounding out and spelling words

Free playdough mats we love:  Playdough mats can assist with learning time.  You can choose to work on literacy (creating the letters with playdough) or math (count 10 little carrots for the bunny, etc.)  Here are some FREE mats we love:

My son loves mixing my oh so beautiful colors….  He is creating a masterpiece, so who am I to intervene?



And my daughter loves poking the playdough and ripping it into pieces. Playdough provides wonderful sensory play for children of all ages!




For more inspiration, check out:

Creativity: an unexpected result of homeschooling

12 Months of Sensory Dough


How do you use play dough in your home school?  Do you have a favorite recipe?



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