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Updated on June 29, 2015

The Simplicity of Playdough

Besides a freshly baked loaf of bread, I can't think of a better use of a few cups of flour besides a batch of velvety soft playdough!

The simple toys are the best, and playdough has to rank up at the top of simple toys. A handful of playdough, a plastic knife, and a rolling pin can be the inspiration for hours of creative play!

The Basic Playdough Recipe - and how to make it

If you've never made homemade playdough before, you'll be surprised at how easy it really is!

The only ingredient you might not have on hand is the cream of tartar. If you omit it, the dough will not be as soft and creamy, but it will still work.

Mix these ingredients together in pot. Cook them over medium heat, stirring constantly until it comes away from the pan and forms a blob.

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp cooking oil
  • 2 Tbsp cream of tartar

Would You Like a Recipe Card?

Click on the image to download a free PDF of the playdough recipe.

Making the Playdough

As you continue to cook and stir, eventually the mixture will start to stick together and form a big blob in the pan. When that happens, it's done. Take the playdough out of the pan and let it cool on a counter until you can handle it.

After it has cooled for a few minutes, add food coloring to hunks of your playdough.For glitzy playdough, you can add glitter -- the coarser glitter seems to work better than the fine kind.

Knead and add more coloring until you get a color you are satisfied with. Creating the colors is a big part of the fun of making homemade playdough!

Store the playdough in plastic bags or airtight plastic containers to preserve its softness for weeks.

Playdough is Serious Play

Playdough offers more than just play. There is serious learning going on when a tub of playdough it opened!

Playdough fun offers these benefits:

  • creative play and imagination
  • textile stimulation
  • small motor coordination
  • 3D visualization
  • color blending

Futhermore, squeezing playdough can be soothing during a time of stress. Very active children sometimes benefit by holding a ball of playdough as they have their lessons. Having something to softly manipulate helps them to focus mentally on their schoolwork.

Print and laminate these free mats and then have fun using playdough to form facial features, numbers, letters, and more.

The History of Play Doh

If you ever wondered how Play-Doh brand playdough came to be a staple of childhood fun, read this fascinating series of articles!

Play Doh and Tools for Molding It

Although the experience of making playdough with a child is really fun, sometimes you want the convenience of store bought craft dough.

We all know the Play-Doh brand as a safe, colorful option. And best of all are the Play-Doh tools, accessories, and play sets.

I still remember my childhood Play-Doh Barber Shop with the people whose playdough hair "grew" out of the holes on their heads.

Playdough Video

Just for fun, give this a few seconds of your time. Very neat.

Edible Playdough Recipes

Instead of constantly telling your toddler to not put the playdough in his mouth, make some edible playdough and stop worrying. These playdoughs can be nibbled as you create!

Peanut Butter Playdough

Mix these ingredients in a large bowl. No need to cook.

3 1/2 cups peanut butter

4 cups powdered sugar

4 cups powdered milk

3 1/2 cups corn syrup

Kool-aid Playdough

Mix these ingredients in a large bowl. No need to cook.

1/2 cup salt

2-1/2 cups flour

2 packages Kool-Aid (same color)

3 tablespoons oil

2 cups boiling water

Rosetta Stone has four more edible playdough recipes --Peanut Butter & Graham Cracker Play Dough, Chocolate Clay, Kool-Aid® Play Dough, and Oatmeal Play Dough.

Salt Dough

Salt dough is, obviously, made with a lot of salt. It is meant to dry much more quickly than it's soft playdough cousin. Usually salt dough is baked to speed the drying process.

Salt dough can be made into the traditional Christmas ornaments, of course, but there are many more ideas for this versatile medium: magnets, napkin rings, and pencil holders! Explore these links for ideas.

Your thoughts are welcome. Please post a comment.

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    • WaynesWorld LM profile image

      WaynesWorld LM 5 years ago

      During Thanksgiving I saw someone had posted a recipe for Pumpkin Pie Spice Jello brand playdough, yum.

    • DelightfulDanie profile image

      DelightfulDanie 6 years ago

      Your lens is now featured here

      Great lens by the way!

    • Candlemakingsup profile image

      Candlemakingsup 6 years ago


    • ZenandChic profile image

      Patricia 6 years ago

      Playdough is too fun! Blessed on the school bus trip!

    • profile image

      RecipePublishing 6 years ago

      These were great for any child, I have four.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I've never made my own playdough and now to find out that there are even edible versions, how cool is that!

    • LouisaDembul profile image

      LouisaDembul 6 years ago

      We have never boiled our playdough, but this sounds like a great recipe! It is both fun and good for the children to work with dough. We always have a batch handy, it can keep the small one occupied for a lOOng time!

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 6 years ago from United States

      Really and truly Most Excellent!

    • Heather426 profile image

      Heather Burns 7 years ago from Wexford, Ireland

      What a wonderful lens about homemade playdough! I actually came here while checking out your directions to add recipe pdf's to my cooking lenses, so this was a bonus. LOVE it! and thanks for the directions on the pdf's too.

    • pkmcruk profile image

      pkmcr 7 years ago from Cheshire UK

      Very informative lens and beautifully crafted - blessed by a passing Squid Angel :-)

    • profile image

      Tarra99 7 years ago

      I used to make my own well as buy some store playdough...I love it! It's a timeless kid activity that will never go out of style...and I love the smell of the store bought stuff ;o)

    • VarietyWriter2 profile image

      VarietyWriter2 7 years ago

      Nicely done...great photos too! Leaving angel blessings :)

    • profile image

      bobtyndall 7 years ago

      This brings back memories. When we where kids we couldn't afford Play Doh so we always made our own. Nice lens

    • Ramkitten2000 profile image

      Deb Kingsbury 7 years ago from Flagstaff, Arizona

      Oh, how fun! I never realized you could make homemade playdough so easily. I used to just love playing with it when I was a child, and I still do! My husband has used it to come up with ideas for sculptures, and I like to play while he's creating.

    • Craftyville profile image

      Craftyville 8 years ago

      What a great idea, peanut butter playdough, yummy and fun.

    • hlkljgk profile image

      hlkljgk 8 years ago from Western Mass

      we love our koolaid playdough

    • nextchapterlear profile image

      nextchapterlear 8 years ago

      I love playdoh!!


    • profile image

      MarketPipeline 8 years ago

      Playdough is a nice way for kids to be creative. It cleans up pretty easily too as long as it does not get ground into the carpet.

    • verymary profile image

      Mary 8 years ago from Chicago area

      Great lens, 5***** When my kiddos were younger, we made playdough almost every week, put glitter in sometimes. They loved the playdough barbershop, and there's an insect-making toy for p-dough you might want to add, if it's still on the market. Nice work!

    • Teacher Adez7 profile image

      Teacher Adez7 8 years ago

      Playdough is a long time favorite of mine as well! This is a great lens and blessed as well. :)

    • evelynsaenz1 profile image

      Evelyn Saenz 8 years ago from Royalton

      We love to add flavorings to our playdough. We add cinnamon in the fall, peppermint in the winter, rose scented oil in the spring and lemon in the summer.

      I was thinking about doing a playdough lens but I see that you have made a wonderful one.

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 8 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      I love play dough and salt dough and have enjoyed them with my son and grandson. I remember when I was young that we had modeling clay to play with on rainy days. Great lens.

    • CASHMONEYSILK profile image

      CASHMONEYSILK 8 years ago

      EDIBLE PLAYDOUGH!? WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN ALL MY LIFE? This really brings me back, I miss playdough Imma go make some right now!! 10 stars (if i could)

    • StevenCousley profile image

      Steven Cousley 9 years ago from Young, NSW, Australia

      Thanks for this lens, my grandson is approaching the age of playdoh (when he'll play more and eat less of it) and my daughter has been talking about making some. Now I can give her directions to this lens. :)

    • piedromolinero profile image

      piedromolinero 9 years ago

      Great information. Especially I like the info about doing playdough yourself. Will do it right this weekend with my two year old one. She will enjoy it.


    • kathypi lm profile image

      kathypi lm 9 years ago

      i can't thank you enough, this is every grammas dream, i spend a lot of time, trying to keep my grandkids happy, this is one of there favorite pastimes, all in one place, thank you,i hope its ok i did another lens roll to my GRAMMA'S UNITE "HOW TO ENTERTAIN EM" lense thank

      you for all your hard work putting this together


    • profile image

      poutine 9 years ago

      I think I'm going to make a batch of playdough and play with it myself. I remember how much it is.

    • debnet profile image

      Debbie 9 years ago from England

      Great lens! I use playdough with some of the children I work with to make 'emotion faces' they all love it. 5 *****

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 9 years ago

      Awe ... an awesome lens that brings back those cool nostalgic memories of using playdough on the funny paper -- lots of fun! Enjoyed learning how to make it too. 5***** and blessings my dear.

    • ArtByLinda profile image

      Linda Hoxie 9 years ago from Idaho

      What a wonderful lens, I love playdough. Many fond memories of making a huge batch and sitting down at the table with my children and all their friends, creating all kinds of fun things! Works great for school projects too! Great lens! 5*


    • vanidiana24 profile image

      vanidiana24 9 years ago

      Such inspiring lens! Thanks a lot! I think I'd make play dough and play it with my 2,6 year old daughter too! :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      Great lens. I used this recipe when my son just started school 24 years ago. Still one of the best there is.

    • profile image

      Tarra99 9 years ago

      Great tutorial!...I had seen that peanut butter play dough on tv but never got the recipe! Thanks!

    • profile image

      bdkz 9 years ago

      PlayDoh is one of my favorite things! 5 Stars and a Squid Angel Blessing!

    • groovyoldlady profile image

      groovyoldlady 10 years ago

      The photos are fabulous and the information is timeless!

    • Barkely profile image

      Barkely 10 years ago

      My son used to love playdough, now he's outgrown it for the most part. Welcome to the Fun For Kids Group.

    • profile image

      gods_grace_notes 10 years ago

      LOL... it's been too long since my little one was a little one, so the pains of Playdough have dimmed in my memory! All that lingers is the memory of the fun and good times she had...making the mess for Mom to clean up!

      How nice to have a homemade recipe now. Thanks for sharing! Connie

    • LilliputStation profile image

      LilliputStation 10 years ago

      Nope. Not convinced. Give me slime, ooblich, or papier mache. Playdough is still offlimits in this house.:o)