Simple, Quick, and Fun Homemade Playdough!

Simple, Quick, and Fun Homemade Playdough!

By Netia Simms / July 26, 2023

Hello families! Summer is here and it is HOT! There will be days when the weather is just not on your side when it comes down to playing outside. Here is an activity I do with my little one when we can’t get outdoors, or when we just want to do something fun, easy, and creative. I am going to teach you how to make your own soft and durable playdough with simple ingredients found in most pantries! 

The benefit of creating your own playdough is that you know what ingredients you put in it. It is non-toxic and safe for your kids; especially for ones still learning about things they can and cannot put in their mouth. This recipe can also help you save money on purchasing more play dough when your kid(s) forget to put the playdough away or the lid back on (this happens more than I want to admit in my household). Let’s get started!

First, you will need to grab all the ingredients and tools needed for the project. If you would like to make a smaller batch, you can reduce this recipe by halving the amount of ingredients you use. My daughter and I like to play around with colors so we typically do a bigger batch.


  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups of warm water (parent/guardian will need to warm on the stove)
  • 1 cup of salt
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil (or coconut oil)
  • 1 tbsp of cream of tartar
  • Food coloring (optional)
  • Fun decoration items like glitter (optional)

Materials Needed:

  • Mixing bowl(s) (1 large)
  • Small pot
  • Whisk/stirring spoon
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Gloves (optional)
  • Ziploc bags (optional)

Step-by-Step Instructions:

It is best to gather all of your ingredients and have them already measured out and ready to mix before starting the step-by-step process. Especially if you are making the playdough with your little one. This reduces the time it takes to create the playdough, and is attention span conscious for smaller kids who may not be able to sit for long periods of time.

Step 1

Add your salt, flour, vegetable oil, and cream of tartar to your large mixing bowl. Stir to make sure your ingredients are fully combined.

Step 2

(This step should be done by an adult)

Pour your water into your small pot and bring it to a boil. Once it starts to boil, turn off the heat and remove your pot to let it cool. (Be sure not to cool it too much, but just enough to where it is comfortable to touch). 

*If you are making one color for your playdough, I would go ahead and add your food coloring to your water.

Step 3

Once your water has cooled to a comfortable temperature to touch, pour your water into your mixing bowl with your flour mixture and thoroughly mix until your playdough thickens. Transfer your playdough to a cool plate, countertop, or mixing bowl (other than the one you mixed it in). Knead the dough until it is nice and doughy and does not stick to your hands.

Step 4

If you decide to make one color, your playdough is now done and you can enjoy it with your little ones (Scroll to the bottom for recommendations on storing). If you decide to make more colors, separate your playdough into individual bags/bowls so that you can have some for each color that you make. 

Once the play dough is separated, add your food coloring to each one. This step is a good learning opportunity; if you are working with primary colors you can discuss and explore which primary colors you can mix together to create secondary colors. There are a couple of ways to mix color into your playdough.

  1. Add the playdough to your Ziploc baggies, make a dent with your finger in the dough, drop a few drops of food coloring in (be sure to leave the top open for room to massage), and massage thoroughly until you’ve mixed in your food coloring so that it does not transfer.
  2. Place the playdough in individual bowls, create the dent as stated above and drop in food coloring, and either mix with a spatula or put on a pair of gloves and mix with your hands. The spatula may take a bit more time to mix, but it can be done to avoid color transfer.

Storing your Playdough

The best way to store your playdough is in an airtight Ziploc bag or container at room temperature. I personally store mine in Ziploc bags or recycled Play-doh containers. 

This recipe creates a nice soft playdough that you will love; and it has a great shelf life! If you are having any issues with the playdough drying, you can add more vegetable or coconut oil to your hands and mix it into the playdough until it is at a desired texture.

I hope that you enjoy making play dough as much as I do… I meant my little one! This is a perfect activity to learn about measurements, mixing colors, the importance of following directions, and safety when handling hot things. It is also a fun screen-free activity and a good way to work together as a family and team. I encourage you to play around with the density of your colors by adding more or less food coloring to your dough, get creative and maybe add some fun things like glitter just to spice it up a bit.

Let’s get playing!