The Best Homemade Playdough Recipe

Playdough was one of my favourite things to do with my kids when they were smaller.  We still play with it every once in awhile, but a few years back, it was practically a daily ritual in our house.  I introduced playdough to my son when he was 18 months and it was one of his favourite things to do!

There are so many wonderful benefits for children by playing with playdough.

It sparks imagination.  Playdough can be anything and everything!  When children play with play dough they are in control of their play and their imaginations can run wild!  Instead of buying the playdough toys from the store, I would usually use found objects from around the house or small toys (trees, animals, jewels, etc.) to add.  This way there are so many more options as opposed to the single purpose toys that don’t leave much room for imaginative play.

It builds up the muscles in their hands and helps with fine motor skills, which will help them do buttons, zippers, hold pencils and crayons, and the list goes on!

It’s a great way for children to engage in oral language.  I was amazed at how much my son would just sit and talk while he played with playdough.  Even as he got older and was playing with playdough by himself, he would be talking up a storm and getting so excited about the jungle he was making or the pirate ship.  Some days I would sneak out the video camera to capture these cute moments 😉

Playdough has a calming effect and is a great tool for self-regulation.  If you’ve ever played with playdough yourself you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.  There’s just something about sitting and squeezing playdough that can almost put you into a trance!

As you can see, there’s so much more to playdough and this is why we still have playdough in Kindergarten classrooms- it’s one of the most popular centres in the room usually!

Making your own playdough is so easy and it last so much longer than store bought.  I have two recipes I use on a regular basis (depending on which ingredients I have on hand).  One is cooked on the stove and the other uses boiling water.  Both of them stay soft forever!  I usually end up throwing it out after a couple of months just because I feel like I need to make fresh.

Cooked playdough recipe:

1 c flour

1 c water

2 tsp cream of tartar

1/2 salt

1 Tbsp oil

Food colouring

Stir all ingredients together in a pot and cook over high heat for a few minutes.  Stir constantly.  It will start to come together into a ball and the stickiness will go away as it is heated.  Make sure to keep rolling it around in the pot so the sticky sides can  “cook”.

Let it cool for a few minutes and then have fun!  Store in an air tight container (it will last for months!)


Boiling water playdough recipe:

1/2 c salt

2 Tbsp oil

2 c boiling water

Food colouring (I use the gel food colouring like these to get more vibrant colours)

2 c flour

1 Tbsp alum (you can substitute cream of tartar for this)

Mix salt and oil in a large bowl.  Add boiling water and food colouring and stir (if you want multiple colours you can wait to add the food colouring until the dough is formed).  In a separate bowl mix the flour and alum.  Add flour mixture to the boiling water mixture and stir.  Keep stirring until it forms a ball.  It will become less sticky as you stir longer, but if it seems to stay sticky, add a bit more flour.  Store in an airtight container.

Once you have your playdough made, check out some of the awesome things you can do with playdough on Pinterest and get ideas for adding different materials to spark your child’s imagination!  Check out my invitation to create Easter eggs with playdough.

If you search playdough ideas on Pinterest you can find hundreds of great ideas!

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