Homemade Play Dough

Play Dough Ingredients

Kids enjoy play dough, there is no doubt about that! But have you ever wondered what is in store bought play dough?  Surfactant, hardener, and a retrogradation inhibitor are just a few ingredients are in store-bought that I personally have no idea what they are. Having a two year old, I know that everything we play with he thinks he can eat! If I can avoid those added ingredients I do! I never thought that I would be able to make my own play dough but doing a little research came to show me that it’s a quick process.

Did you know that play dough is a great way to teach children many different skills? ‘Alice Sanders is the Regional Supervisor at Tulare County Office of Education child care. She explains that toys such as, playdough and blocks, can be used to enhance learning. Young children learn best by essentially playing with these items. “Because children really need hands on experience. They need to be able to feel and touch. By doing that, they’re problem solving. It’s trial and error. No one item is just a mistake. They’re learning from those areas.” ‘


   1 cup water

   1 tablespoon coconut oil

   1/2 cup salt

   1 tablespoon cream of tartar

   Food coloring

   1 cup flour



  1.    Combine water, oil, salt, cream of tartar and food coloring in a saucepan and heat until warm.
  2.    Remove from heat and add flour.

    Heating Ingredients

  3.    Stir, then knead until smooth.
This is so easy and only takes about 15 mins or so to make. This is a great craft to make with your kids because of the simplicity of it. I choose to use red food coloring in honor of Valentine’s Day that is right around the corner. If you wanted to get really creative you could mix colors together to get a tie-dyed look!  Try mixing together red and blue food coloring to teach children how different colors are produced, they will be able see the instantaneous results!
As with every recipe the end results don’t always turn out as planned. Here are some tips from my play dough experience:
  • The dough turned out very runny so I had to add almost 2 additional cups of flour to thicken it up.
  • Cream of tartar may be a bit pricey for some but make sure to add it to your recipe, it makes the dough last 6 months or longer! Visit your local health food store where you may be able to by a couple of tablespoons of cream of tartar for pennies!
  • Try subbing out the food coloring for kool aid packets, its less of a mess! Try adding glitter to your dough as well, the kids will love it!
  • Homemade Play Dough

    Refrigerate the play dough for about 15 mins after making, this will harden the dough and make it easier to play with.


 Have you ever tried to make your own play dough? Let us know below how your results turned out!





Recipe adapted: http://fun.familyeducation.com/sculpting/recipes/37040.html

Sources: http://valleypbs.org/0to5/season_8/ready_to_learn/playdough.pdf


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