The Very Best Homemade Play Dough

A favorite activity of ALL my kids, even my tweens, is making homemade play dough. While I’m a huge fan of buying things to save time, sometimes the fun is found in the process. So while we still buy plenty of play dough, we actually prefer our homemade version, and make it whenever we need an interactive, indoor activity.

The ingredients are simple, and it’s easy to do, plus it turns out silky smooth, non-sticky, and just perfect for keeping little hands busy creating for hours. I shared the recipe recently in my post about DIY Sibling Gifts, but I wanted to give it its very own post, with a more in-depth tutorial. Because it’s worth it! And with dreary weather, even here in California, now is the perfect time to make some.

Starting out with a thick pot, combine flour, water, salt, oil, and cream of tartar.

You can definitely add coloring at this point if you want to make the entire batch the same color, but if you’d rather divide it up to make multiple colors, wait on that step.

Stir everything together until it’s smooth, and then cook it over medium-low heat (stirring almost constantly) until the dough forms a mass and pulls away from the sides. If it seems like it’s still sticky, keep kneading it with a wooden spoon over low heat until it reaches the desired consistency.

If you still need to add coloring, after you’ve let it cool just a bit so you don’t burn your hands while touching it, divide the dough into as many equal pieces as colors you would like to make. We typically make one color per child, so if all of my kids are participating, we’ll divide by five, but for this batch size, dividing into four makes a pretty generous amount of each color.

Form a ball, and poke a deep hole with your finger. Add several drops of food coloring, pinch the hole closed, and knead the mass until the color is fully incorporated.

Another fun option is to add dry kool-aid powder for a colored AND scented dough. You can also add glitter with either the food coloring or the kool-aid. So many fun possibilities. We usually keep it simple, though.

We love to play with cookie cutters, rolling pins, butter knives, etc, and we store play dough in airtight zipper bags or containers. It lasts for several months when stored properly, and we love it!

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