Looking for the BEST playdough recipe that will make soft, long-lasting playdough? Then you have come to the right place! Make this playdough recipe in less than 5 minutes, have it lasts for months and keep your kids – big and small – engaged for hours!
Kids Love Playdough
One of my favourite sensory play activities to make for my kids is playdough. It is the best indoor activity on cold or rainy days and it makes a great way to decompress after a long day at school. Besides hours of countless fun for kids, playing with playdough also has a number of benefits:
- Helps promote fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.
- Encourages creativity
- Has a calming effect.
- Supports literacy and numeracy.
The Best Playdough Recipe
I have experimented with many playdough recipes over the years with my three kids, but I have always returned to this one.
- Feels amazing. Soft and squishy.
- Long lasting. This playdough will last up to 6 months when stored correctly (see more about storage below).
- It is very inexpensive to make. You can make a large batch of playdough for less than $3.
- You can customize the colours (see how to create pastel coloured playdough below)
- You can add scents for seasonal playdough (Apple Pie Playdough or Pumpkin Spice Playdough)
- Makes enough playdough for multiple kids to use.
Playdough Recipe Ingredients
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- 2 cups of white all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup of salt
- 2 tablespoons of cream of tartar
- 1.5 cups of boiling water
- 2 tablespoons of cooking oil
- 2-3 Drops of Gel Food colouring
- Stand mixer with dough hook or large mixing bowl and spoon
- Measuring cup and measuring spoons
How to Make Homemade Playdough
- In a large bowl combine the flour, salt and cream of tartar. Mix to combine.
- In a separate container, combine the 1 cup of boiling water, food colouring and oil.
- Add the boiling water mixture to the flour mixture and mix. Be careful the mixture will be very hot!
- Add the 0.5 cups of boiling water in small increments until you have reached the desired consistency. Note: You may not need to add all of the water. If you are using a stand mixer, add the water as the mixer is turning.
- Add additional food colouring, if desired.
- If kneading by hand, let the mixture cool before you pick it up, protect your counters and hands from staining by laying a sheet of wax paper down and wearing gloves. Knead, knead, knead. Knead it until all its smooth and soft! If using a stand mixer let it continue to mix on medium-high until it starts to form a dough ball.
- Optional: Add your favourite extracts or essential oils.
How to Store Your Homemade Playdough
Store your playdough in an airtight container such as a ziplock bag or any airtight storage container with a lid. Storing it in this way allows it to last for up to 6 months!
How to Mix your Play Dough?
Until recently I have been kneading my playdough by hand with amazing results. But if you have a stand mixer, you can use it to make playdough as well. The stand mixer just speeds up the kneading process but its not necessary to make great feeling playdough.
How do you fix sticky playdough?
If you find your playdough is too sticky, add a very small amount of flour to your hands as you knead it. Continue adding very small amounts at a time while kneading until you reach the desired consistency. You don’t want to add too much flour otherwise it may get too dry.
How to rehydrate your playdough?
If your playdough is too dry or has dried out slightly after play, add a small amount of oil to your hands and knead it into the playdough. Continue adding oil at increments while kneading until you have achieved the desired consistency.
I also like to add a little extra oil or water to my playdough. Just a few drops more than the 2 tablespoons. I find this makes the playdough softer and increases its longevity. You can also add a few drops of vegetable glycerin to get similar results.
How to Make Vibrant Playdough?
The secret to making vibrantly coloured playdough, is gel food colouring. If you’re using gel food colouring you will only need 3-4 drops to deepen the colour. If you don’t have gel food colouring add more drops in each batch. i.e. 6-8 drops of food colouring. However, the more food colouring you add the more risk you run of it transferring to hands as your child plays.
How to make Pastel Coloured Playdough?
To make pastel colours use less food colouring about 2-3 drops.
What type of oil to use?
I usually use vegetable oil to make playdough but you can use any type of cooking including coconut oil.
How do you make playdough more fun?
Creating an invitation (an enticing play set up with tools that is irresistible to little hands) is super easy. Here are the basics that I use to create fun and engaging playdough set ups for my kids:
- Tools. They will need tools in order to manipulate the playdough. Tools such as toy knives to cut, rollers to flatten it or cookie cutters to create.
- A Theme. This isn’t necessary but I find it helps you decide what items and/or colours to include in the set up. Check out this post for a 40+ of amazing playdough themes and set up ideas.
3. Manipulatives. This is the real fun part. These are the items you can include for your child to use with the playdough to decorate, embellish and create. Here are some ideas:
- Small Toys
- Twigs or small sticks or craft sticks
- Pipe cleaners
- LEGO or duplo
- Wooden blocks
- Pony beads
- Rocks or glass stones
- Dried pasta
- Toy trees
- DIY cardboard stamps
- Letter stamps
- Beans or seeds
What items would you include?
Tips for Making the Best Homemade Playdough Recipe
Here are a few tips for making sure your playdough is the best it can be:
- Make sure your salt is fine salt. I usually buy dollar store salt to use in playdough and sometimes the consistancy isn’t as good as other brands. If you find larger chunks in your salt try tossing it into a grinder to make it as fine as possible. Another way to prevent the salt chunks from making it into your playdough is by dissolving it to the boiling water before adding it to the flour. Now this is not absolutely necessary. I have made amazing playdough with chunky salt but I usually end up picking out the larger bits of salt from the playdough.
- White flour makes the best playdough.
- Make sure your water is hot – straight out of the kettle.
Books, TV Show & Playdough Kits!
Book: Exciting Sensory Bins for Curious Kids
Designed for toddlers 18 months and up.
Book: Super STEAM Activity Book for Kids
Designed for preschoolers 3 years old and up.
Book: Big Book of Riddles for Kids
Designed for kids ages 6 years old and up.
TV Show: Curious Crafting
This show designed for toddlers and preschoolers 2.5 years old and up.