How to make homemade playdough

You will fall in love head over heels with this easy homemadeplaydough recipe as it is so smooth, soft and has the best smell ever. Say goodbye to store bought playdough, once you make your first batch of homemade playdough you will never look back.

This is one of the best playdough recipes ever as you’ll end up with a batch of nice looking and delicious smelling playdough.

Easy Homemade Playdough Recipe - Super soft and delicious smelling this is the only recipe you will ever need

What I love: They all smell great. Fruity, Delicious.Cherry, Orange, Lemonade, Lemon Lime, Blue Raspberry Lemonade, Grape

Homemade Playdough Recipe

Ingredients for EACH color:

  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 tablespoon cream of tartar
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil (optional)
  • 1 packet, unsweetened drink mix (0.14 oz, 3.9g)
  • Yellow Food Coloring (optional)
  • Blue Food Coloring (optional)

Play dough ingredients

The blue and yellow colors were not very strong with just the drink mix, so I added some additional food coloring to make them more vibrant.

Directions:In a bowl, mix flour, cream of tartar and salt.

Step-1In a mixing cup, add warm water and drink mix. Stir until completely dissolved.

step-2Add water to flour mixture and stir well. Set aside for about five minutes.


step-4Knead on a floured surface until no longer sticky.

step-5Store in an airtight container for about 2 weeks.

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Black Playdough Play Ideas

We whipped up this batch of playdough for our block party so we pulled together a dollar store tray full of random Halloween themed items. Like plastic bugs, eyeball poppers, googly eyes, plus some craft supplies like beads and pipe cleaners.

halloween playdough tray

The eye poppers were the biggest hit for many because they were so dramatic and playdough with monster eyes and hands playing in it

Black Playdough Recipe

  1. In a large pot, add flour, salt, and cream of tartar. Stir with a whisk until thoroughly mixed.

  2. Measure 2 cups of hot water and add the black food coloring. Mix until color is fully dissolved.

  3. Add black water, vegetable oil, and glycerin to flour mixture in pot. Mix thoroughly with a spatula.

  4. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until almost playdough texture. Do not overcook as playdough continues to cook a bit and will get dry if overcooked. Remove from heat.

  5. Remove playdough from pot and place on a plate. Once playdough is cool enough for an adult to handle, knead well.

  6. Cover with a wet paper towel until cool enough to play with or store. Store in a zipper bag or other air tight container. Store in a cool, dry place.

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How to make playdough without cooking

You might ask how to make playdough without cooking. Yes, it is possible! Try:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3/4 cup salt
  • 1 Tablespoon oil
  • food coloring

Mix the wet ingredients together and mix the dry ingredients together. Slowing add the wet ingredients to the dry until you have the correct consistency.  This is a super quick and easy playdough recipe! Notice this recipe has no cream of tartar. Yes, you can make playdough without cream of tartar. Cream of tartar is an acid and is used in cooking as a stabilizing agent for items like meringues and whipped cream. While it does help with the consistency…. I bet you won’t miss it. 

Alum versus Cream of Tartar in Playdough

While they aren’t the same thing they can be interchanged in your playdough recipe since they both help with texture and consistency.

Now that you know how to make playdough give these other squishy recipes a try? Try these fun ideas

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#1 Castle Logix

The entire line of single player puzzle games from SmartGames gets such stellar reviews that it was hard not to recommend all of them!

The bold colors of these two 3-D wooden castle puzzles especially caught my eye. I bought it for my daughter a couple of years ago and it was an absolute winner, now her little brother is a preschooler and he loves it equally as much.

Assemble the wooden blocks and towers to match the challenges included in the booklet. With simple challenges for inexperienced builders to complex puzzles that will challenge skilled architects, these puzzles serve to develop logical thinking skills and spatial reasoning abilities.

#2 Don’t Step In It

Along with Chow Crown and Flick’ Chicken, Don’t Step In It is one of my top picks this year for games guaranteed to supply family fun for all ages.

No matter how distasteful we may find it as adults, poop-themed toys and games are huge right now. The good news in this game is you can spend your turn wearing a blindfold and not looking at the fake poo!

Basically, players take turns blindly traversing the game mat barefoot and trying not to step on the soft and squishy poop. 

Like I said, hilarious fun for kids of all ages… and don’t forget to check out the Unicorn poop version too!

#3 Air Fort The Original Build A Fort in 30 Seconds, Inflatable for Kids

This is AMAZING for rainy day play.

Such an easy way for kids to set up a fort- set up (and clean up!) is so simple… like 30 seconds easy. Check out this video to see it in action.

My friend got one of these for her kids last year and she reports that they spend hours inside playing together and on their own. This one is going under our tree this year for sure!

#5 Educational Insights Design & Drill Activity Center 

I particularly like how this particular toy combines fine motor skills with pattern recognition AND adds a great dramatic play element. We got it for our son when he was 4 and he played with it quite a bit until his little old sister took it over.

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Our 1 1/2-year-old is started to getting in on the fun sorting and manipulating the pieces with his hands and was off and drilling around the time he turned 2. Now this is one of the first toys he goes to, again and again, when given a choice.

The popularity of this toy has also led to some cool variations, including the Design & Drill Flower Power Station and, my favorite, the Design & Drill BrightWorks– which is like if the Design & Drill had a baby with the classic Lite Brite from my childhood (in other words, the pieces light up and it’s totally awesome).

Basically, players take turns blindly traversing the game mat barefoot and trying not to step on the soft and squishy poop. 

Like I said, hilarious fun for kids of all ages… and don’t forget to check out the Unicorn poop version too!

#6 Magna-Tiles

I discovered Magna-tiles when my oldest son was 3-years-old via his preschool and they were the big present under the tree for the kids that Christmas. They’re definitely more of an investment but have been COMPLETELY WORTH IT.

Teachers absolutely rave about these blocks and the play possibilities are endless. Because they join together using magnets, kids can create elaborate structures (often taller than they are) without becoming frustrated by crashes.

They’re also great for use with other toys. They can be used along with blocks and LEGOs to make elaborate structures, with marbles and cars to make tunnels, bridges, and marble runs, or even with dolls to create dollhouses.

All of my kids, ages 2 to 8, still play with them multiple days a week. Currently, my 6-year-old loves making elaborate pet stores with ramps and rooms for each of her Disney Princess Palace Pets while my 2-year-old always asks for these first to take to build in his room during “Quiet Time”

We splurged for the 100 piece set and got hours of rainy day fun with these- the higher price was completely worth it.

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Note: For an extra $10, these magnetic train bases take the play possibilities to a whole new level and make a great stocking stuffer.

#7 Wonder Crew Dolls for Boys

I’ve been talking about the social and emotional learning benefits of dolls for boys for years in our Best Dolls for Girls and Boys Gift Guide, so I was super pumped about the release of this line of dolls designed specifically to meet those needs while staying in-tuned with boy culture.

Created by a therapist and mom, after her son came home from preschool one day and announced that ‘boys aren’t supposed to cry’. Frustrated by many of the messages boys were (and weren’t) receiving and inspired by the way play influences child development, Wider created Wonder Crew to promote social and emotional learning, build confidence and imagination, and empower boys to see themselves as caring, creative and strong people. 

I’m totally on board and will definitely be getting both the superhero doll and the extra construction outfit for my son! I also love how each set comes with props for the child to wear too, so fun!

#8 Educational Insights Magic Moves Talking Electronic Wand

Normally I’m not big on electronic toys with lots of sounds and lights, but when said toy can help my kids get rid of all their pent-up energy inside on a stormy day, it becomes my new best friend.

This inexpensive magical wand uses 90 silly commands (sway, creep, stomp like a dinosaur, leap) and 26 songs, along with a light show to get kids moving.

This is one of those rare toys that’s great for siblings of different ages to play with together (my kids have loved it at various ages ranging from 18-months-old to 7-years old).

It will keep the bigger kids interested (who doesn’t like having the mic and being the star of the show?) while developing listening skills in the younger set along with enriching their vocabulary and ability to follow directions.

Note: If animals aren’t your kids’ thing, there’s now also this gym version.

Playdough Ingredients

  • 2 cups white flour
  • 1/4 cup cream of tartar
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 cups water
  • food coloring (or other coloring agent – see below)

You can use a variety of items to color your dough:

  • food coloring – look for neon or other fun colors at seasonal times
  • gel food coloring for deeper colors – check the craft section of discount store or craft stores
  • Kool-Aid (grape is my favorite)
  • liquid watercolor
  • flavored gelatin

You could also add scented extracts (peppermint, lavender) to give the dough a scent.

homemade playdough recipe prek

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