Easy Play Dough Recipe

Encouraging imaginative play and the joy of play dough

This lovely post is by Danielle, who has written for Be A Fun Mum before.  You’ll find the recipe to her gorgeous Giggle and Hoot Cake here.  Her blog, Keeping Up with the Holsbys, is choc full of amazing recipe recipes and more!

play dough recipe

Sometimes, I go too fast. I have a million things on the go. Washing that needs to be hung or folded (usually, all of the above as it seems endless these days), something in the oven, tidying to do, emails, phone calls, the list goes on and on.
I find that, with so many things in my head, I really struggle to be wholly present for any single task.

I find that, with so many things in my head, I really struggle to be wholly present for any single task.

I try to give my son, D Man, tasks or things to play with that will buy me a little time while I juggle my life and his baby sister, Kiki.

I recently popped him onto the kitchen floor with a batch of home-made play dough. I was busy preparing dinner to a chorus of ‘Mummy, Mummy, Mummy’. I had almost blocked the sound out with my own head-noise, until a little hand tugged at my jeans.

I looked down at my little man who was holding up a play dough disc.

“Cookie,” his little voice said.

Something about that one little action made me realise that, although I have many things to do, I also need to ensure I take the time to encourage my son’s curiosity and sense of play.

“Is that a cookie?” I replied. “I think we should bake a load of cookies for when Daddy gets home.”

I pulled out an oven tray, and the cookie cutters and I sat with him for 5 minutes talking about the process of making cookies, how to put them in the oven and gave him an oven mitt.

The oven was not on, just for the record.

Dinner was five minutes late, but a little spark was lit in my child. Who will remember the dinner?  Even if he forgets the incident, I will always remember it.

Children are naturally curious creatures and by nurturing this, we are igniting their brain development and learning ability.

I’ve read the chemical dopamine (the hormone of addiction) is triggered in children’s brains whenever they are given the opportunity to work things out for themselves and they are successful.  Some of the best lessons in survival our children will learn are through exploring their world and making judgment calls for themselves…and yes, occasionally messing it up and getting the odd scrape and bruise.

Some of the best lessons in survival our children will learn are through exploring their world and making judgment calls for themselves.

The earliest signs of this curiosity is imaginative play, but when nurtured it can turn into a full blown addiction to learning.

There is another brilliant reason that you should sit on the floor and engage in some play dough action with your kids…it’s fun.

That squishy, cool, colourful dough has endless possibilities and I’ve noticed, out of all of the toys and activities, play dough really engages kids for a long time. Perhaps little hits of hormones are firing in their brains or maybe the fact that the same piece of doughy goodness can be a biscuit or a car or a hat.

Play dough really engages kids for a long time.

I decided to make my own play dough. The packaged stuff can get expensive, because all you need is to leave the lid off once and it dries up and gets crusty. No one likes crusty play dough.

It’s simple, fast and incredibly economical. I had all of these ingredients in my pantry, so it was just about free.  Also, it was totally priceless when I handed over the colourful balls of dough.  I could tell D Man thought I was really cool. Make the most of that while it lasts, no?

I made half portions of this recipe to get two colours out of one batch. It’s still a good handful of each.

Play Dough Recipe

Yeild : 2 portions

You will need

1/2 cup of salt

1 cup of plain flour

2 tablespoons of cream of tartar

1 cup of water

1 tablespoon oil

food colouring


1. Split the ingredients over two bowls and stir, combining well.

2. Place one of the bowls into a saucepan over a medium heat and add your colouring, stirring well. A chemical reaction happens all of a sudden and your gloopy mess will become quite sticky, then clumpy.

3. Then ball up into your Play Dough.

4. Repeat with remaining mixture and add different colour.

Printer Friendly PDF: Play Dough Recipe

play dough recipe

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    Cindi Freeman
    January 16, 2016 at 1:45 am

    Thank you so much for sharing this recipe! I used to have it a long time ago, but misplaced it somewhere & never did find it again! It’s in my recipe file on my ph now as well as on a 3″ x 5″ card. Have a great day! 🙂

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    June 14, 2016 at 7:35 am

    This is great! Creative and strategic ultimately rewarding.
    Can play dough be placed on try then in the oven if so for how long?
    Thank you for sharing.

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    June 21, 2016 at 4:25 pm

    Can this recipe work without the need for oil as when my children went to playschool about 30 years ago they shared a recipe like this but without oil so it never went off and smelled rancid?

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