Easy Homemade Playdough For The Kids

Little kid holding a playdough house with their hands.

Playdough is one of the most universally beloved kids’ toys because it’s fun, minimal in mess, and allows kids to express artistic sides and think creatively. However, buying cans of playdough from the store over and over when it eventually gets left out to dry can get costly, which is why many parents want to make DIY playdough. Use this homemade playdough recipe to keep your kids entertained for hours!

Tools

You won’t need very many tools to make playdough at home:

  • Large mixing bowl
  • Medium-large saucepot
  • Rubber spatula
  • Plastic wrap

Ingredients

Homemade playdough comes together with just a few pantry staples:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 cup water
  • Liquid food coloring
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil

Method

There are several methods to mixing and making homemade playdough, but this stovetop method produces reliable results every time. First, you’ll measure and mix all of your dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Set the dry ingredients aside and combine 15-20 drops of liquid food coloring with one cup of water in your medium-large saucepot. After the food coloring has dispersed into the water, add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. Next, add the dry ingredients to the pot and mix well until there are no lumps. Turn the heat on to low-medium heat and cook until a dough forms and begins to shape into a slightly dry ball. Take the dough off of the heat and allow it to cool before kneading it for 5 minutes to make it nice and soft. If your dough is too soft, knead it for another 5 minutes. If you cooked the dough a bit too long, knead in a few drops of oil until it is soft. Store the playdough in plastic wrap in an air-tight container.

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Variations

If you’re looking for a quick no-cook playdough recipe, try this “cloud dough” variation. Combine 1/2 cup of unscented or baby lotion and 1-2 drops of gel food coloring. Mix the lotion and coloring with a spoon until no streaks remain. Next, add in 1 cup of cornstarch and mix until combined. Take the dough out of the bowl and place it on a sheet of wax paper to knead it until it becomes a dough-like consistency (pro tip: wear gloves to avoid staining!) for a few minutes. If it’s too sticky, add cornstarch one tablespoon at a time until you achieve the right texture.