Playdough is a family-friendly play item for small kids (until they let it dry out and it’s everywhere all the time for the rest of your life) but you probably don’t have it on hand. Trust me – I know you don’t have it on hand. It does not matter how many times you buy playdough, your kids use it, abuse it, and let it dry out so it’s no longer good to use. Because it’s such a fun activity for children, however, they’re going to ask to play with the dough they ruined at the most inopportune times. That’s where a few simple playdough recipes come in handy.
Each of the following playdough recipes is made using ingredients you have around the home. Some require simple mixing of ingredients, some require a little cooking time, and others include some unexpected ingredients that your kids might find ‘totally awesome’ which means mom points for you. Either way, each one can be saved in an airtight container and refrigerated until it’s ready to use again. A few drops of water will bring almost all of these recipes back to life after they’ve been stored.
1. White Goop
Mix 1 part corn starch and 2 parts water until the two are smooth. Now all you have to do is play with it until you’re tired of it. This is more of a goop type of playdough than anything else, so when it’s not in a ball form, it’s melty and gooey. Kids will love this playdough alternative.
2. Gluten Free Playdough
Mix a half cup rice flour with a half cup of salt, a half cup of corn starch, 2 teaspoons of cream of tartar, 1 cup of water, 1 teaspoon of cooking oil, and a few drops of your favorite food coloring. Cook the mixture on low heat in a sauce pan for approximately three minutes. The mixture should turn itself into a ball in the sauce pan, and that is how you know it is done. Once it’s completely done cooking, let the ball cool entirely. This gluten-free recipe is great for kids.
3. Salt Playdough
Mix one cup of salt with a cup of water and a half cup of flour. Cook the mixture on medium heat. Once the playdough has a thick and rubbery consistency, it’s completely cooked. Let it cool off of the heat until it’s completely cool – then go ahead and play.
4. Non-Cooked Cold Water Playdough
This is a great recipe for kids to make on their own since there is no cooking required. This mixture requires 4 cups of flour mixed with a cup of salt, two tablespoons of cooking oil, and 1.5 cups of water. The water must be cold. Add food coloring to the mixture if you’d like. Start by mixing the flour, salt, and oil. If you are using food coloring, add it to the water first. Then add the water to the dry flour mix a little at a time while kneading the dough.
5. Gingerbread Playdough
Before we provide the recipe for this one, let us assure you that this mixture is amazing if you love a wonderful scent. It smells delightful, which is an added bonus to the fun it provides your children. You’ll mix all the ingredients together at once and knead the dough until it’s free of all clumps. Mix two cups of flour with a cup of salt, a tablespoon each of ground ginger and ground cinnamon, two tablespoons of vegetable oil, and one cup of water. Again, the scent of this one is to die for.
6. Gingerbread Cinnamon Playdough
May we suggest using this recipe around the holidays? Otherwise, the scent is going to make you nostalgic for that time of year. This is a simple recipe, too. Add a cup of ground cinnamon to cup of applesauce and a teaspoon of ginger. If you’d like to make the playdough thicker, you can also add a quarter cup of white glue. The glue is not required, but it’s an added bonus if you want a thicker consistency for the kids to play with.
7. Sparking Snow Playdough
Winter fun all in one – here’s your dough. This is a cute one because it’s so pretty, and who doesn’t want to play with faux snow? Simply mix two cups each of water and flour, a cup of salt, four teaspoons each of cream of tartar and oil, and then add some iridescent glitter. You can add as much or as little glitter to this recipe as you want. It’s a very personal choice. Next, put the ingredients all in a large saucepan and turn the stove heat to medium. Be sure you are stirring this mixture constantly. You want to continue to do this until the mixture is thick and pulling away from the pan sides. Let it cool on a piece of wax paper, and let the kids play all they want when the mixture is cool.
8. Jewelry Clay Playdough
This is a great recipe if you have little girls who love to make their own jewelry designs. This recipe callsf or mixing together ¾ cup of flour, a half cup each of salt and cornstarch. Then add warm water gradually until the mixture is moldable. There is no set amount of water to add, so be sure you are adding it slowly and that the water is warm. Too hot will not work, and too cool will not work for this recipe. This can quickly become too watered down to play with, so this step is one to be extra careful with.
9. Cornmeal Playdough
Mix two cups of cornmeal, a cup of salt, and water. The water portion of this recipe is intended to go in slowly and carefully until the dough is the right consistency. Just add the water a little at a time until the playdough consistency and texture is what you’re looking for. It’s a very simple process.
10. Toothpaste Playdough
This is a very cute and very temporary recipe. You have one day to play with it before it becomes too hard to play with. Additionally, this recipe calls for cream toothpaste as gel will not work. Simply mix a half teaspoon of toothpaste with a teaspoon of Elmer’s glue, two teaspoons of cornstarch, and a half teaspoon of water. The key to a great consistency here is to roll and pull the dough until it’s the right consistency. It will begin to get hard within the hour, so you’ll want to add a drop of water to soften it up if you want to take a break from playing.
11. Cotton Ball Playdough
This is a simple recipe that’s easy to dispose of. All you need is a cup of flour and a cup of water. Mix together to create a type of paste, and then add a bag of cotton balls to the pasty mix. You’ll roll the balls into the paste and then remove them when they are saturated. The kids get to make their dough fun by shaping it however they want, and then you simply put the dough on a baking sheet and put it in the oven for one hour to bake at 325 degrees.
12. Frosting Playdough
A sweet treat and a lot of fun. This is a great recipe for kids who like to put more of their toys in their mouth than anywhere else, and it’s safe to eat. Mix 1.5 cups of powdered sugar with a cup of creamy peanut butter. Mix this very well until the mixture is solid and malleable. This is an easily stored item, too, because you can put it in an airtight container in the fridge for frequent use.
13. Coffee Playdough
If you are hoping to wake everyone up a bit, this is the recipe for you. This one includes 2 cups of used coffee grounds, 1.5 cups of cornmeal, a half cup of salt, and flour and water as needed. Mix the coffee, cornmeal, and salt together. Then add a little flour and a little water – only a small amount of each at a time – until your dough is the desired consistency.
14. Peanut Butter Playdough
Who doesn’t love peanut butter? This recipe is so simple. Mix eight ounces of peanut butter (it does need to be creamy peanut butter rather than chunky) with six tablespoons of honey. Using nonfat dry milk, mix everything together until it’s pliable. This means adding milk only as needed rather than too much at one time. This is an edible recipe.
15. Mud Playdough
Don’t panic…this only looks like mud. It’s not mud. In a large saucepan, boil three cups of water with three tablespoons of vegetable oil. Wait for it to boil. While waiting, add three cups of flour, two tablespoons of cream of tartar, and 1.5 salt to a large bowl and mix. Once the wet ingredients are finished boiling, add the dry ingredients, and then add a brown tempera paint to the mixture. Once it’s done, it looks just like mud, but it’s malleable and fun for the kids without all the added stress of them actually playing with mud.
16. Moon Sand Playdough
This is a super cool recipe for the kids to enjoy. You’ll start with 1.5 cups of water, three cups of cornstarch, six cups of sand (play sand, please, and not the kind you get right out of the yard). If you want to color this kind of dough, however, you will want to add a packet of Kool Aid mix. Do not add wet ingredients such as food coloring. Add your ingredients together, mix well, and continue to knead until it’s smooth. You might need to add a few more drops of water to the mix as you go, but be sure you’re only adding a little at a time lest you ruin your recipe. This is a great playdough recipe to keep long-term. You might need to add a drop or two of water to the mix each time you use it, however.
17. Birdseed Playdough
This is another very cute recipe that might have your kids feeling a little more excited about their playdough moments. It’s not your typical playdough recipe, which is precisely what makes it a lot more fun. This recipe includes mixing birdseed with two cups of flour and a cup of salt. Add water as needed until the dough becomes the texture of playdough.
The only caveat is that this playdough should NOT be used outdoors. It is not safe for birds to eat, so please allow your children to play with this mixture indoors and responsibly.
18. Jell-O Playdough
Everyone loves jell-o, even if they don’t like to eat it. It’s fun to play with. Honestly, it might be the food that launched the phrase, please don’t play with your food. This recipe involves adding one cup of flour, a half cup of salt, a cup of water, a tablespoon of oil, two teaspoons of cream of tartar, and a package of unsweetented jell-o to a large saucepan. Turn the stove to medium heat. This is a recipe that must be stirred constantly until the dough appears similar to a pot of masted potatoes. Once it looks like mashed potatoes, remove it from the heat and let it cool completely. Once it’s cooled, you will knead the dough until it’s smooth and easy to work with.
19. Baby Oil Playdough
What a sweet recipe for little ones. This recipe wants you to add two cups of flour to a cup of salt, four teaspoons of cream of tartar, two cups of water with food coloring of your choice already mixed into the water, a two tablespoons of baby oil in a large saucepan. This needs to be turned to low heat and stirred regularly until the dough is lumpy and resembles mashed potatoes. Turn off the heat, remove the dough from the stove, and let it cool completely. Next, knead it until it’s ready.
20. Simple Playdough
Mix a cup of cold water with a cup of salt, two teaspoons of vegetable oil, and food coloring. Next, add three cups of flour and two tablespoons of cornstarch to the mixture a little at a time. You want to add a little at a time to the water mixture until the dough is the consistency you want.