Easy Homemade Playdough Recipes

Have you ever made homemade playdough for your classroom? Try these easy playdough recipes to add variety to the play dough you use. Homemade playdough has a smoother texture than store-bought playdough and it is so easy to make! Most importantly, you can adapt the basic playdough recipe to match themes in your classroom throughout the year.

Text: 5 Easy Play Dough Recipes. Photo: five colorful balls of homemade playdough

Homemade playdough can fit into your preschool and kindergarten classroom in so many ways. For example, students can use it:

  • at the sensory table
  • as part of the dramatic play center
  • in its own center where kids can roll and cut the dough
  • as a soft start activity for students

Since homemade playdough can be used throughout the year, you might want to try different recipes at various times of the year. Below are a few easy recipes for you to try.

Best (Basic) Homemade Playdough Recipe:

Because of its simplicity, this will likely be your go-to play dough recipe – the one you whip up any time you need playdough. It has a delightful texture and is very easy to make. Additionally, this playdough recipe uses mostly normal kitchen ingredients, except for the magical cream of tartar, which helps the dough last longer. (You can usually find cream of tartar in the spice aisle of your local grocery store, but Amazon sells it, too.) Another reason to love this recipe… it lasts forever without being refrigerated!

4 colorful balls of homemade playdough in a row

You will need:

  • food coloring
  • 1 c. water
  • 1 c. flour
  • 1/2 c. salt
  • 2 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 2 Tbsp. cooking oil

In a 2 quart saucepan, stir food coloring into water. Add all remaining ingredients. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until mixture thickens and draws away from the sides of the pan.

Photo of red play dough in a pan, pulling away from the sides of the pan.

Form into a ball and cool. Once it is cool, store the playdough in a plastic zip bag or airtight container.

This basic playdough recipe is easy to modify. For instance, I love to add spices to match the smells of the seasons to make pumpkin spice and gingerbread playdough.

I love using this recipe for the first day of school. I make it without food coloring, then make a ball of “magic play dough” for each child. It’s a great sponge activity as kids arrive and settle in on the first day of school.

Pumpkin Spice Playdough Recipe:

This is the perfect (yummy-smelling) recipe for fall. After you add some pie tins and cotton balls (for whipped cream) to your home living center, your kids will be ready for a feast!

Photo of orange play dough cut into the shape of a slice of pie.

You will need:

  • orange food coloring
  • 1 c. water
  • 1 c. flour
  • 1/2 c. salt
  • 2 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 Tbsp. cooking oil

In a heavy saucepan, stir food coloring into water. Next add oil, then the remaining ingredients. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until mixture thickens and draws away from the sides of the pan. Form into a ball and knead for even coloring. Cool.

Store playdough a plastic zip bag or airtight container.

Gingerbread Playdough Recipe:

After you smell this recipe, it will be your favorite. It is a great December addition to your regular playdough center or you can add to a gingerbread bakery in your dramatic play center.

Photo of a child cutting gingerbread shapes from light brown play dough.

You will need:

  • 1 c. flour
  • 1/2 c. salt
  • 2 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1 c. water
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves

Combine ingredients in a saucepan and mix well. Then cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture thickens and pulls away from the edge of the pan (roughly 3-5 minutes). Next, form into a ball and cool. Store in a zip bag or an air-proof container.

Kool-Aid Playdough Recipe:

The Kool-Aid playdough recipe can be adapted to your favorite scents by changing to different Kool-Aid flavors. The Kool-Aid creates a nice pastel color; add food coloring if you want brighter playdough.

Photo of four pastel-colored balls of homemade play dough.

You will need:

  • 2 1/2 c. flour
  • 1/2 c. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. powdered alum
  • 2 c. water
  • 2 Tbsp. salad oil
  • 1 package of Kool-Aid
  • food coloring (optional)

In a large bowl, mix flour, salt and alum together; set aside. Then, in a medium saucepan, bring water and oil to a boil. Remove from heat and pour over flour mixture. Stir until well mixed. Next, put the dough on a flat surface and knead it. If needed, brighten the dough by adding a few drops of food coloring. After the dough cools, store it in a covered container.

Gluten-Free Playdough Recipe

Here is an easy homemade, gluten-free playdough recipe. You will need:

  • 1 c. baking soda
  • 1/2 c. corn starch
  • 3/4 c. water
  • food coloring

Mix baking soda and corn starch in 2 quart pan. Add water and a few drops of food coloring. Cook on medium heat. Stir until the playdough becomes a bit stiffer and pulls away from the sides of the pan. (It may still look lumpy – it’s not finished yet.)

Place the dough on a flat surface and let it cool for a minute. Knead the dough until it is smooth. Store in a sealed plastic container or bag in the refrigerator (to prevent mold.)

Want Printable Recipes?

You can get a printable version of all the recipes at my store. Use the play dough for a first day of school treat. It also works well in the dramatic play center for a gingerbread bakery for the holidays.

Not making playdough now? Pin the ideas for later!


Please follow and like us:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Facebook
Pinterest