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DIY Aromatherapy Play Dough

Updated on February 26, 2015

Fun Times in Our Home.

My son and I are ALWAYS playing with play dough. I have used this same recipe over and over countless times. It is quick, easy, and lasts for a long time in your refrigerator! The ingredients are common household items. This recipe was actually passed down to me from my Mom. I started making this myself when I was ten or eleven years old. I love playing play dough my son, he is 20 months old at the time of this writing, and this activity is wonderful for his tactile stimulation and it encourages him to be creative. The last couple of times that I made this play dough I added a little "twist" to it and added some of my essential oils.

I will discuss those in more detail further on in this article, but let me say that those oils turned our play dough into a definitive hit with my son!


  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1 cup salt
  • 2 TBSP vegetable oil
  • 1 TBSP cream of tartar (gives elasticity)

Combine all of these ingredients and place in a pot on stove top. The mixture should look like this prior to cooking.

Cook the mixture on low for about 5-7 minutes until it starts to clump together in the middle and does not stick to the sides. You will need to stir frequently. It should look like this once finished.

Take the play dough out of the pot and need it on your counter covered with a small amount of flour for a good 5 minutes. The end result should look like a large mound of pizza dough. Doing this will really make for a beautiful play dough. I can't even begin to describe just how much better it is than store bought play dough!

I think I enjoy playing with it almost as much as my son enjoys playing with it!

I use food coloring to make different colored playdough. I separate the large mound of playdough into three different sections which will then make three different colors. I went for a more marbled colored look this time but you can keep adding food coloring until you get a deeo enough color that you want.

I would recommend to wear gloves during this step if you don't want your hands to get stained!

This time I decided to go a step further and add in some "aromatherapy" to the play dough. I just LOVED the results. The more that you played with the play dough the more the essential oils would just "sink" in. I decided to use three different oils, and each color had it's own oil, therefore resulting in three differently scented play dough balls. I chose Lavender, Lemon, and Peppermint for the following reasons:

  • Lavender: this oil is often called the "calming oil." It helps too relieve anxiety and stress and promotes a peaceful environment. Perfect for children to help them relax and enjoy an activity where they can sit and increase their tactical development. Lavender is also listed to help "increase creativity," which is just perfect for this occasion!
  • Lemon: sometimes called the "liquid sunshine" oil. Lemon is known too "lift the mood." It just smells absolutely divine and refreshing in the play dough. It can be an effective way to improve circulation and is an effective anti-bacterial agent, what could be more perfect?
  • Peppermint: known as an "invigorating" oil, peppermint has been shown to increase concentration and mental clarity. Peppermint "cools" emotions which decreases nervousness and anger.

Although I did not use it this time, an honorable mention worth considering is the essential oil Rosemary. It's powerful properties are many and include the following

  • Analgesic
  • Antioxidant
  • Antiseptic
  • Antispasmodic
  • Astringent
  • Diuretic
  • Stimulant.

Indeed, one of the reasons why I love Rosemary so much is because it has traditionally been used for a wide array of applications from stimulating the mind, to enhancing mental clarity, to treating skin disorders, and relieving stiffness of joints. On top of "mental clarity", further, it is great also for memory retention, as well as, generally stimulating the brain. This is really the perfect oil to use for after, say, your child's nap time. Because of its positive impact on memory retention and brain stimulation, ANYTIME is really the best time to use rosemary, as this is a time in children's lives where their brains are rapidly developing.

It is true: the types of essential oils available out on the market today are just about as varied as the companies and brands that produce them to begin with. Some companies, in fact, have essential oil lines that include anywhere from 50 to 100 different oils. Though I chose to use lavender, lemon, and peppermint, specifically for their proven natural properties, there are many many more options that you can choose from (Go to my husband and my blog now...).

In my experience with various essential oil companies, I have found that price is generally all over the board, dependent on the specific oil you purchase. Rarely has it been my experience that a company will list everyone of their oils at the same exact price. Though they are essentially held within the same looking bottle, the prices are directly related to the rarity of the oil and the challenges related to extracting. For example, you will generally find that lavender, lemon, and peppermint--each very common oils--are priced a lot lower than, say, frankincense or myrrh.

Even more, some companies also mix a few oils into something known as a blend. Unlike single oils, blends draw from the power and potency of more than one oil.

If you are ever interested in purchasing any of these oils, from my personal favorite essential oil company (doTERRA), you can do so through the link above.

Through doTERRA, there are really two ways to purchase, through retail or through wholesale.

By signing up as a Wellness Advocate (My husband and my blog), you can enjoy very deep discounts on all your essential oil product purchases. Like a Costco or Sam's Club membership, basically you would pay a first year initial fee of $35, and, in return, you would earn wholesale pricing of 25% off of absolutely everything that you purchase in that first year. For every subsequent year after that, however, the renewal price drops $10, to $25!

While you would have to look at your own family situation and needs, this is what my family has chosen to do. The sheer benefits that we have experienced with these oils, to us, completely justifies the price.

This is actually very exciting because, with a 25% discount, it doesn't take very long for your oil purchase cost/savings itself to cover the small yearly fee for the wholesale club membership itself. For example, one of doTERRA's most expensive oils is frankincense, and is $93. With a 25% wholesale discount, that price becomes $69.75, with a total savings of $23.25. This savings, on one single bottle of oil, is just shy the entire fee price for wholesale pricing, in subsequent years after the first year!

If making DIY aromatherapy play dough is an activity that you are interested in doing with your children, assuming you made a new batch of 3 different colors of play dough (like I did), every 3 months, your $35 wholesale membership cost would be made up by your savings over 12 oils that you would need to purchase to do this activity in that quantity and interval (3 play doughs + 4 times a year or every 3 months) . If your intent is to do something like this, you can see how going with a wholesale account, as a Wellness Advocate, would simply be the smart thing to do.

End result, my son had a blast playing with this aromatherapy playdough. Since he is so young he has trouble sitting still for long periods of time, but, for this activity, he stayed seated and played with this play dough for 30 minutes, which I was very impressed about! With as hyperactive as my son can be sometimes, it is absolutely refreshing to have found an activity, such as this, where he will stay this calm and focused. The smell of the oils is still present after a week of playing with the playdough. I recommend to store the playdough in an airtight container in your refrigerator, as this will keep it fresh for a very long time to come.

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    • profile image

      Hiba Howard 2 years ago


    • frogyfish profile image

      frogyfish 2 years ago from Central United States of America

      Loved your idea of adding the essential oils to the play dough! I have made batches from a similar recipe to yours, but recently found a no-cooking one that turned out just as well. Seems there is always a new discovery around the corner...thanks for sharing yours here.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 2 years ago

      I have to say that I have made tons of play doh during my teaching years but never thought of using Rosemary. Great idea! Love your thoughts on this popular play form.

    • profile image

      Edwin 2 years ago

      Well given so many young people who have eiehtr attempted or were successful suicide isn't a new problem. I just want teens of today to realize teens of yesterday, or yester- decade+ endured the same thing. Fortunately my friend lived to regret her attempt find true love and have a beautiful daughter, but so many others as you know don't. Just doing my little part to get the word out. Thanks Katie, enjoy your Sunday.

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