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Basic Play Dough Recipe

My 7-year-old daughter, Taybree, stayed home sick from school a few days ago. It was one of those times where she was sick enough to not be able to attend, but yet still feeling good enough that after a few hours she got incredibly bored just laying around the house.

She watched some movies, napped, and colored. And then she had a brilliant idea.

She asked if we could make play dough.

I was all for it. We hadn’t made play dough in what seemed like ages.

There are so many things I love about homemade play dough. One is that it’s just so inexpensive! The ingredients it calls for are pretty cheap.

Another thing I love is you can tailor the recipe to make just a little bit or mounds and mounds of it for the whole neighborhood to play with. I also think it’s great that it’s nice and soft to play with but still holds its shape great.

Last but not least is that my kids have almost as much fun making it as they do playing with it after it’s finished.

Of course, I looked to see what awesome recipes MomDot already had for play dough and found a couple of really fun ones.

I pulled up how to make glitter play dough, but I actually didn’t have any glitter!

Then I found a great one for scented play dough, but I was a little worried the perfumes might be too much for my daughter’s sensitive, sick stomach at the moment.

And Kool-Aid play dough sounded great, but I didn’t have any Kool-Aid on hand.

So I did two things. One, I made a mental note to gather some of these supplies so the next time we wanted to make play dough we could try out one of these other recipes. And two, I pulled out my handy-dandy, trusty basic play dough recipe, that doesn’t really have any frills, but turns out perfect every time!

So I thought I’d post my recipe here, for anyone who isn’t looking for something fancy, just a basic play dough recipe that you and your kids will love making over and over again.

Basic Play Dough

Here are the ingredients you’ll need:

  • flour
  • salt
  • cream of tartar
  • water
  • vegetable oil
  • food coloring (if you want)
  • zip lock bags
  • stockpot

First, add flour, salt, and cream of tartar into your pot.

Second, pour in your water (make sure it’s lukewarm).

Third, add in the oil.

Fourth, put your stock pot on the stove and begin cooking over medium heat.

Helpful hint: Stir constantly! It’s going to seem like nothing is happening at first, but it will quickly start changing to a solid dough. You don’t want it to burn or cook unevenly. Don’t stop stirring!

Remove from heat and let cool.

Then, divide your dough equally. We wanted to use five colors so we made five groups of dough.

Next, make a small impression in each ball of dough. Add about five drops of food coloring (you can always add in more later if you want).

Then, starting kneading the play dough to incorporate the dye.

Helpful hint: If you don’t want your hands or your children’s hands stained with the food coloring you can put each ball of dough in a zip lock bag and then knead the dough. Your hands stay perfectly clean!

And that’s all there is to it!

Basic Play Dough

  • 2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup salt
  • 4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • food coloring
  • zip lock bags
  • stockpot
  1. Add flour, salt, and cream of tartar into pot.

  2. Pour in water.

  3. Add in oil.

  4. Cook over medium heat.

  5. Stir constantly.

  6. Remove from heat and let cool.
  7. Divide dough equally

  8. Make a small impression in each ball of dough. Add about five drops of food coloring

  9. Put each ball of dough in a separate zip lock bag.

  10. Knead play dough to incorporate the dye.

All that’s left to do is have fun rolling it out, stacking it up, making shapes, and squishing it together to start all over again.

You can’t go wrong with something that costs around a dollar, takes less than 10 minutes to make, and gives your kids hours of fun!

This was such an enjoyable activity to do with my daughter (and with all my other kids, who gravitated towards the fun as soon as they got home from school) on a sunny, yet cold, afternoon.

Are you planning on trying out this awesome play dough recipe? Snap a picture and tag us on social media so we can see how great it turned out for you!