The Dough Stops Here (Play dough Recipes)

Ahh play dough, one of the most basic of kid art supplies. It is good for fine motor skills, color recognition, color mixing, introduction to sculpting, just to name a few. The commercial kind is fine but sometimes it is nice to whip your own play dough when cash is running low. There are tons of recipes on the web but I hope I’ve assembles some of the best. There is edible play dough, great for the 1 and under crowd. There is the traditional inedible but in my experience this is a relative term. My youngest has a great taste for the Crayola play dough. I have found however that homemade doesn’t have the allure of the commercial.

Now in these recipes you can use food coloring if you want. Or you can use “natural” colorings such as beet juice, mustard (the spice), paprika, blue berry juice etc, if you want purely organic play dough. I like to leave the play dough white some of the time because the kids can paint or stamp their art creations. I am including a gluten free version of play dough for kids with a wheat allergy as well as uncooked play dough.

I will demonstrate 2 of the play dough recipes, if you need a visual reference.

Here are the ingredients for the Cooked Play Dough.

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • ½ cup salt
  • 1 tablespoon cream of tarter (this key because this helps the play dough last up to 6 months)
  • 1 cup of flour
  • *Food coloring (optional)
  • Sauce pan

Combine water, oil, salt, cream of tarter and *food coloring (or add organic colors here such as mustard, beet juice etc. just a teaspoon will do. You can always add more to increase the intensity the color.) in saucepan and heat until warm

Remove from heat and add flour

Stir until smooth

Let the mixture cool for 2 to 5 minutes

Knead until smooth 


Store the play dough in ziplock bags or plastic containers.

Here are some other versions of non edible play dough.

Gluten Free Play dough
  • ½ cup rice flour
  • ½ cup cornstarch
  • ½ cup salt
  • 2 tsp cream of tarter
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1 Tsp cooking oil
  • Food coloring


  1. Combine all ingredients expect food coloring into medium sauce pan
  2. Cook over medium heat while stirring constantly until mixture thickens and forms a ball
  3. Cool dough
  4. Then knead in food coloring
  5. Play and Store

Uncooked Play Dough

  • Bowl for mixing
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • Food coloring
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 tablespoon cornstarch


  1. Mix water, salt, oil and food coloring in a bowl
  2. Gradually add flour and cornstarch until mixture feels like bread dough
  3. Play and *store

* Play dough without tarter or alum will not last as long .

Salt play dough

  • 1 cup salt
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup flour and additional as needed
  • Saucepan


  1. Mix salt, water and flour in saucepan and cook over medium heat.
  2. Stir and remove pan when mixture is tick and rubbery.
  3. Let cool 2 to 5 minutes
  4. Knead in enough flour to make workable dough
  5. Play and store

Kool aid play dough

  • ½ cup salt
  • 2 cups water
  • Kool aid packet
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 cups shifted flour
  • 2 tablespoons alum (this will help the play dough keep for up to 2 months)


  1. Combine salt and water, boil until salt dissolves
  2. Remove from heat and add Kool aid
  3. Let cool for 1-2 minutes
  4. Add flour, oil and alum
  5. Knead until smooth
  6. Play and Store

Jello Play Dough

  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ cup salt
  • 2 tsp cream of tarter
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon cream of tarter
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 small package of unsweetened Jello


  1. Mix all ingredients together in medium saucepan and cook over medium heat
  2. Stir constantly until consistency of mashed potatoes
  3. Let cool and then knead with flour hands until dry
  4. Play and Store

Here is a visual demonstration of and edible play dough made with Peanut Butter. Now I haven’t tried this with other nut butter such as almond or sunflower. But I think that it would work with those if your child has a food allergy to peanuts.

Here are the Materials
  •  1 jar of peanut butter (18oz)
  • 6 tsp of honey
  • ½ cup Non fat dry milk or 1/3 cup milk plus ½ cup flour and some additional to make the consistency (I used the milk and flour)
  • 1/3 cup Cocoa (optional)
  • Optional ingredients for decoration such as raisins, cookies, sprinkles, candies 

                                                                  Mix all together.

Pretending there is a big rock in the road.
Pretending there is a big rock in the road.

Yes I know what it looks like but it smells and taste good.

This is great for making dirt and rocks.

Store in refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Here is the other edible play dough.

Oatmeal Play Dough

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups oatmeal
  • Bowl


Combine all in bowl, mix well and then knead until smooth.

Important this play dough does not last very long, maybe a couple of weeks. It also needs to be stored UNCOVERED in the Refrigerator.

Hope this will  give you some ideas to entertain your little ones. I've got some ideas for supervised art with play dough coming, as well as, some more recipes for making your own art supplies.One is a  truly edible finger paint.

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