It’s a super quick and easy activity when you know how to make homemade playdough for the kids with a super simple homemade playdough recipe!
As I’ve mentioned a few times already, Henry is on a huge playdough kick lately.
One day last week, Henry and I were with his Grandma’s. He wanted to play with playdough. Of course, Grandma’s playdough had gotten kind of hard and crumbly.
So we set off to make our own homemade playdough. (Our homemade playdough recipe is at the bottom of this page.)
I’ve seen many of you guys doing this. I, honestly, thought it would be way too much work and didn’t want to bother with it. (I’ve made playdough before, but I was a child…)
We dug out an old recipe out of an old church cookbook. My mom submitted the recipe long ago. (The recipe we used is at the end of this post.)
It honestly took only a few minutes to make homemade playdough! Who knew!?
With the exception of alum, everything is something I would have on hand. (Luckily, my mom did have it on hand, probably leftover from long ago when we last made play dough.)
And now I always make sure I have either alum or cream of tartar always around. Just for the sake of making playdough.
How to Make Homemade Playdough
For this playdough recipe, you’ll need flour, salt, water, alum (or cream of tartar), a vegetable oil, food coloring of your choice and flavoring of your choice (we just use vanilla).
Start by dumping flour, salt, water, alum (cream of tartar) and oil into a medium-size pan for the stove.
Turn it to medium heat.
You’ll want to stir constantly, but it literally takes only five minutes. The kids get a kick out of doing this and watching it transform.
You’ll know when it’s done when it starts to come together and form a sort of layer on the outside.
The above photo isn’t quite there yet. If you stop cooking it too soon, your play dough will be sticky, so be a little patient!
Here the playdough has formed together to the consistency you’ll want for your homemade playdough.
After it has cooked completely, remove it from the heat and knead it with your hands.
Throw some flour on the surface before starting. Sometimes I lay out a piece of wax paper or a sheet pan to work on if I don’t want to get the counter dirty or afraid of it staining.
Create a divet in the playdough to add your flavoring to. We add about a teaspoon of vanilla.
Then add in your color of your choice. We are very generous with our drops of food coloring.
Have the kids knead the playdough together to see the color spread throughout.
If you are weary of the food coloring staining hands, you can put on some of those plastic gloves (we do this at the bakery anytime we are working with food coloring for decorating cakes and cookies).
When we first mix the coloring into the playdough, it doesn’t seem to saturate completely. It takes quite a while to fully get through and bring out the colors.
Play with our homemade playdough!
This homemade playdough is so soft and pliable, Henry was able to do so much more with it compared to the storebought stuff.
Take a look at these playdough tracks!
Let’s see what else that made some neat impressions in our homemade playdough:
First, he tried: His tractors and machinery. (what else would it be?)
The tracks made by the chisel were very distinguished. With the store bought play dough, this would have been nearly impossible!
Then my Mom started handing him some kitchen utensils.
A ‘slotted’ spoon.
The slots made a flower when Henry pressed it into the play dough.
A whisk made lots of lines when Henry rolled it.
A flipper (spatula) made fun for turning the play dough over and over.
Other tools Henry tried?
A regular spatula, a fingernail brush, and some Mardi Gras beads! They all left their own individual marks.
It has been hard to get Henry past pressing out playdough fields and driving his tractors through them.
But, we’re slowly working on expanding our experiences.
How to Make Homemade PlayDough: The Recipe
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup flour
- 1 Tbsp oil
- 1 Tbsp alum (or cream of tartar) — or leave out if you don’t have it on hand.
- 1/2 cup salt
- Food coloring
Mix all dry ingredients together in sauce pan.
Add oil and water.
Cook over medium heat, stir constantly, until it reaches the consistency of thick mashed potatoes (you can usually see it changing in its consistency).
Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and food coloring.
Store in an air tight container.
Here are some other variations & recipes of how to make homemade playdough:
- A Playdough Recipe using Cream of Tartar by A Bit of This and A Bit of That (TIP: I switch out between alum and cream of tartar all the time!)
- Chocolate PlayDoh used by Chasing Cheerios
- Gluten-Free PlayDoh found at No Time For Flash Cards