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35 Safe Playdough Recipes for Kids

Written by: Kokotree

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playdough Recipes

Playdough is a beautiful, tactile toy that engages all the senses. It’s super easy and fun to play with, so why not try making some at home? There are several different homemade playdough recipes for kids, but this article will share some of our favorites!

Kids Playdough Recipe. Why Play Dough Is Worth Making At Home.

There are many reasons to make play dough at home, but perhaps the most important one is that it provides a fun and tactile learning experience for kids.

Playdough engages all senses – it’s soft and squishy, so kids can feel it in their hands. It also smells great, which helps engage their sense of smell and makes them more likely to explore and play with the dough.

Also, making homemade play dough is very easy – there are many different recipes, so you can find one that works well for your family.

Whether you want to experiment with different colors or scents, a recipe out there will work perfectly!

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What’s The Easiest Safe Homemade Playdough Recipe?

There is no definitive answer to this question, as the easiest recipe for homemade playdough will depend on your individual preferences and the ingredients you have available.

Some of our favorite recipes include:

  • playdough recipe flour salt water
  • homemade playdough with cornstarch
  • cream of tartar playdough recipe
  • edible playdough cookies
  • corn starch playdough
  • applesauce playdough
  • playdough cooked in tea

Including flour, salt, water, and essential oils, or just flour and salt with a few drops of food coloring. However, there are many other options and play dough activities, so be sure to experiment until you find a recipe that works well for your family!

1. Basic Salt Dough Recipe.

This recipe uses three simple ingredients and is easy to make.

Start by combining two cups of flour with one cup of salt in a bowl, then slowly add warm water until you get the right consistency. You can constantly adjust this depending on how thick or thin you like your dough, but try not to add too much more than it already has, or you risk getting a goopy mess!

Once your dough is ready, allow it to rest for 10-15 minutes before using it.

2. Cream of Tartar Playdough Recipe.

This recipe is similar to the first one, except that it uses four ingredients.

Start by combining two cups of plain flour with half a cup of salt and add two teaspoons of cream of tartar and 1/4 cup oil.

Slowly add in 3/4 cups warm water until you get the right consistency as before, then knead well on a floured surface.

Let this mixture rest for 10 minutes like before, then use it away!

3. Liquid Starch Play-Dough Recipe.

Mix two cups of liquid starch and one cup of white glue for this recipe.

You can use clear glue if you want it to be more colorless, but some people report that the liquid starch makes it a little less sticky than usual.

Once this mixture is ready, knead in enough flour until you get the right consistency, and then let it rest for 10 minutes. Now your dough is ready to go!

4. Kool-Aid Playdough Recipe.

This recipe combines ingredients from two different recipes, so it’s easy to prepare but offers plenty of options when you make it.

Start by mixing the salt dough recipe above with the cream of tartar version from above, along with 1/2 teaspoon each of food coloring (or two teaspoons of the pre-colored-colored dough), three tablespoons of baking soda, half a cup of corn starch and two teaspoons of Kool-Aid drink mix.

Again, you can adjust this depending on your desired consistency but knead in as much flour as needed to avoid sticky or goopy. Let this rest for 10 minutes before playing!

5. Toolbox Playdough Recipe.

This recipe is great for kids who love playdough tools, like cookie cutters and stamps.

You’ll need 1 cup plain flour, 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar, 1/4 cup salt, one tablespoon vegetable oil, 1/3 cup boiling water, and optional food coloring powder (or liquid coloring).

Start by mixing the flour, salt, and cream of tartar, then add the water and oil. Knead in enough flour to make a smooth dough, divide into however many colors you need, and knead in the food coloring.

This one is ready to play with after just 10 minutes!

6. Gluten-Free Playdough Recipe.

If you want a gluten-free recipe with plenty of stretchability but isn’t as gooey or sticky as other options, this is it.

Start by putting two cups of cornstarch into a pan over medium heat on your stove. Add up to 3/4 cup boiling water slowly until you get the desired consistency (you may not need all of it), then put it back on the heat for a minute or two until it thickens up.

Remove from heat and knead in some flour until you get the right consistency, then continue kneading until it feels smooth and not too sticky.

This is ready to play with after just five minutes!

7. Edible Playdough Recipe.

This recipe is perfect for you if you have younger kids who love to eat their food but enjoy playing with playdough.

Start by mixing 1 cup of peanut butter, one cup of honey, and enough powdered sugar (or coconut) until it’s a moist dough that isn’t too sticky.

You can add optional food coloring if you want colored “dough,” but make sure the kids don’t overeat it, or you might have messes to clean up!

8. No-Cook Playdough Recipe.

This homemade playdough recipe for kids is excellent if you want a non-sticky dough perfect for getting creative without worrying about things sticking together.

Mix 3 cups of cornstarch and 1/2 cup water until you get a consistent dough (add more water as needed), then knead in 1 teaspoon salt and enough food coloring to have the right shade.

Let this mixture rest before use, and consider putting it in plastic bags after use if you want to keep it some longer!

9. Coffee Bag Modeling Clay Recipe.

If you have old coffee or tea bags, don’t throw them away! Instead, use them to make some exciting modeling clay that can be used for many different things.

Start by cutting open the bag and removing the contents of the filter, then mix 1/2 cup water with two tablespoons of cornstarch until it forms a thick paste.

Then mix in one tablespoon of vegetable oil and one teaspoon of vinegar.

Put this mixture into your empty bag (you may want to cut off the bottom so it sits flat) along with two teaspoons of baking soda, a pinch of salt, and whatever else you want to add (like glitter!). 

Now seal up the end of your bag and knead everything together until you get the consistency you like. This is ready to play with after about 15 minutes!


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10. Sweet Potato Playdough Recipe.

If you have leftover sweet potatoes from Thanksgiving or Christmas, instead of throwing them in the garbage, use them to make some edible playdough!

Start by peeling and pureeing enough sweet potato, so you have two cups, then mix it with one tablespoon of lemon juice and two tablespoons of flour.

After 10 minutes of kneading and adding more flour as needed until you get the right consistency, this crafty concoction is ready for your kids to start playing with!

11. Fruit Juice Playdough Recipe.

This recipe uses fruit juice concentrate (unsweetened) to give your dough a great scent without adding any lotions or oils.

Start by mixing 1 cup of flour, two tablespoons of your choice of fruit juice, two teaspoons of lemon juice, and a little water until you get the right consistency (add more flour if it’s too runny).

You can add food coloring if you want to make it colorful, but this should be ready to play with after just five minutes!

12. Chocolate Playdough Recipe.

This recipe is perfect for kids who love both chocolate and playing with playdough!

Mix 1/2 cup powdered chocolate, one teaspoon cocoa powder, one small mashed banana, and enough hot water to get the right consistency.

Add more powdered chocolate as needed until the dough feels smooth, then let it sit out to thicken up. This is ready to play with after half an hour.

13. Vegan Kool-Aid Playdough Recipe.

If you have kids who love playing with playdough but also follow a vegan diet, give this recipe a try!

Start by mixing 1 cup salt and 3/4 cup flour in a bowl, then fill the rest with hot water (you may need to add more flour or salt as required).

Now put two tablespoons of Kool-aid powder into your mixture and knead until it feels smooth. This should be ready to play with after just five minutes!

14. No Cook Applesauce Playdough Recipe.

For another non-sticky homemade playdough recipe for kids without having to cook anything, this recipe is for you!

Start by mixing 3 cups of flour, 1/2 cup salt, one and a half teaspoons of cream of tartar, and two tablespoons of vegetable oil.

Add three-quarters of a cup of applesauce and enough water to get the right consistency (this should be ready after about 20 minutes).

15. Cornstarch Playdough Recipe.

This cornstarch version is another no-cook option that’s super simple to make!

Start by mixing 3 cups cornstarch with half a cup water until it forms a thick paste, then evenly divide your mixture into two bowls.

Add food coloring if you want them to be colored, then mix in 1 tablespoon of lotion with each bowl (you may need to add more cornstarch or water as needed).

This is ready to play with after about 30 minutes.

16. Peanut Butter Playdough Recipe.

Kids love the smell of this recipe, but if you have kids who have peanut allergies, you can try almond butter instead!

Start by microwaving together 1/2 cup peanut butter and 1/4th cup honey until they are both melted and smooth (about 45 seconds), then let it cool enough so that you can handle it.

Now mix in 2 cups powdered sugar and knead until it feels smooth.

This should be ready after 20-30 minutes.

17. Bubblegum Playdough Recipe.

Ready for some nostalgia? This recipe uses bubblegum flavoring to give this dough a great scent, which makes it perfect for kids who love the taste of bubblegum.

Start by microwaving 1 cup of cornstarch, 3/4th cup water, three tablespoons of cream of tartar, and 2 cups powdered sugar (you may need to add more water or cornstarch as needed).

Once your mixture is smooth, mix in 7 drops of bubblegum flavoring and let it sit out overnight before playing with it.

18. Minty Playdough Recipe.

If your kids love the smell of mint but don’t want their playdough to be too sticky (as mint lotion tends to be), try adding some chocolate extract instead!

Add two teaspoons each of peppermint and chocolate extract to your mixture, then let it sit out overnight before playing with it.

19. Playdough Sensory Bags Recipes.

If you want to do a simple playdough project that will keep your kids entertained for hours, try making sensory bags!

These are perfect options if you want something easy because they only require a food storage bag and something to fill it with (like some homemade play dough).

For example, you can mix two tablespoons of play dough with some shredded paper or glitter to give them more sensory input while playing around.

You can also add in small toys or cookie cutters so that they have even more fun as well!

20. Stabilized Playdough Recipe.

This homemade playdough recipe for kids will give you play dough that is more resistant to sticking, which makes it great for holding small parts (like Lego pieces) in place.

Start by microwaving 1/4th cup of cornstarch and two tablespoons of cream of tartar with two tablespoons of water.

Mix your food coloring as desired and microwave once again (for about 30 seconds).

Once you’ve done this, add one tablespoon of lotion and repeat the microwaving process until you get a smooth consistency.

This should be ready to use after 20-30 minutes

21. Baking Soda Playdough. Edible Baking Soda Play-Dough Recipe. 

Another edible option is this baking soda version!

Mixing baking soda and flour creates a texture similar to a salt dough, which is an excellent way to combine two different kinds of sensory play.

Start by stirring together 2 cups water, 2 cups flour, and two teaspoons baking soda until they are well combined, then add in your food coloring if you want it colored colored colored colored.

This is ready to use after about 20-30 minutes.

22. Sticky But Stretchy Playdough Recipe.

If you have kids that love sticky substances but get frustrated with the consistency of playdough, try this version!

It’s still stickiness for them to work through, but it also stretches between their hands to feel like they’re working on something with more resistance.

You can start by mixing 3 cups of flour, 1 cup of salt, and three tablespoons of liquid starch.

Once it is well combined, heat it on the stove for about 5 minutes (stirring constantly) until it has a sticky consistency.

It should be ready to play with after 20-30 minutes!

23. Art Playdough Recipe.

If your kids love getting messy, but you’re worried that they might make more of a mess than usual with regular playdough, try this art version!

This recipe uses cornstarch as the base ingredient instead of flour so that even when your kids get their hands dirty, they won’t end up with orange or blue hands afterward.

Start by mixing 4 cups water and 2 cups cornstarch over medium heat until it reaches a thick consistency.

Let it cool, then add in your food coloring if you want to play with colored dough too!

24. No-Cook Playdough Recipe.

If you don’t want to use the stove or microwave, try out this no-cook version instead!

These are ready to start playing with immediately, and they still have the same ingredients that make regular play dough delicious!

To start, you need 1/3rd cup of salt, two tablespoons of cream of tartar, and one tablespoon of oil.

These will be ready after 20-30 minutes or so, and so long as you allow them to dry before putting them away correctly (so stick them on a plate outside when the humidity isn’t high!), they should last for months or years.

25. Rainbow Playdough Recipe.

Here are some very bright and vibrant colors that will give your kids an extra reason to have fun!

Start by heating 1/2 cup of salt with 2 cups water in a pot, then add two tablespoons of cream of tartar and around ten drops of food coloring (use 3-4 drops to make each color).

Once the mixture has thickened, you can start mixing in your rice flour until you have a smooth dough consistency.

Allow it to cool before playing, and try adding glitter if you want to take things up another notch!

26. Chamomile Flavored DIY Playdough Recipe.

If your kids have a lot of allergies and you’re already playing it safe with food coloring, then here is another idea for edible play dough, this time with chamomile!

Start by heating 1/2 cup of water in a pot, then add two tablespoons of dried chamomile flowers.

Let this simmer on medium heat until the water has been reduced by half, then pour over some cornstarch (around 1 to 1-1/4 cups).

Add more cornstarch as needed until you have the right consistency. Allow it to cool before starting to play, or refrigerate it if you don’t want to wait that long.

27. Sugar Homemade Playdough Recipe for Kids.

If sugar isn’t allowed in your house, but you still want to make something similar, try this recipe instead!

It has many of the same ingredients as regular play dough and will bring more fun into the mix if you’re looking for something different from the classic version.

Start by heating 1 cup water on medium heat, then add in 2 cups sugar and 1/3rd cup light corn syrup and stir until it reaches a boil.

Allow it to cool before playing (or refrigerate it to speed up the process).

28. Potato Playdough Recipe.

If you have leftover mashed potatoes from dinner that week, then here is another idea for those leftovers!

You can use any cooked potato or even leftover sweet potato to make this version, so long as it was previously cooked.

Start by mixing 2 cups of potato with 1 cup of flour, then add around one or two drops of food coloring before kneading until you have the right consistency.

29. Glittery Cookie Dough Playdough Recipe.

Here’s another fun idea with a delicious flavor!

This recipe is perfect if you are making cookies and still have some dough left over afterward.

Start by heating 2/3rd cup milk on medium heat for about 5 minutes until it begins to steam, then pour over three teaspoons corn starch and mix well until it creates a thick paste (it will be a little sticky).

Next, add a sprinkling of glitter, three teaspoons of vanilla, and 2 cups of confectioner’s sugar before stirring to incorporate it completely.

30. Edible Playdough Recipe.

Here is another version that’s super fun to eat; plus, it is much safer if you have little ones running around at home! If you use store-bought icing, this is also a great way to use up any leftover marshmallows or cream cheese (plus, they go great together).

Start by microwaving 1/3rd cup of white frosting for 30 seconds, then stir in 2 cups of mini marshmallows, one tablespoon of powdered sugar, and a drop or two of food coloring until everything is incorporated beautifully.

Eating right away is best, but you can refrigerate if necessary.

31. Safe and Edible Rainbow Playdough Recipe.

Here’s another fun idea for edible playdough that also uses leftover icing from cookies or other baked goods!

Make a batch of sugar cookie dough like usual, then put four teaspoons (around half) into a bowl before adding food coloring until you have all the colors you want.

It’s best to do this step first, so it has time to cool before starting to play with it.

Then take your remaining flour mixture and shape balls out of them before pushing through each color one at a time on the table (or use tweezers for extra fun).

32. Marshmallow Playdough Recipe.

If you’re looking for another fun edible alternative, here’s a great option! The texture of this one is very different than the others, but it doesn’t necessarily taste any different.

Start by microwaving two tablespoons of water until steaming, then add one bag of mini marshmallows and stir well (use enough to cover the marshmallows).

Next, microwave again on high heat until they are nice and gooey before slowly adding 3 cups of cornstarch while stirring constantly.

It might get too hot to handle at first, but continue kneading until it cools down (this will take about 5 minutes or so).

Add some more color if you’d like, and have an edible play dough that kids will love!

33. Kitchen Playdough Recipe.

This is one of the few recipe ideas on this list that requires an actual stovetop to work!

We thought we’d include it just because having your little helpers cook alongside you is always fun, and you can use whatever leftover ingredient they already want.

Start by mixing 1 3/4 cups of flour, three tablespoons oil, 1 cup salt, two teaspoons cream of tartar, and 2 cups water until it forms a sticky paste.

Then set your saucepan over medium heat, then add the mixture slowly while stirring until the consistency changes (around 10 minutes).

Let it cook for about 3 minutes, roll it into small balls, and put them on wax paper to dry.

34. Volcano-Inspired Playdough Recipe.

Here’s another fantastic recipe if you have a set of cube bath toys lying around!

Start by mixing four cups of flour with one cup of salt, two tablespoons of cream of tartar, four teaspoons of food coloring (one each of blue, red, and yellow), 3/4th cup water, and one tablespoon of cooking oil in a large pot before placing over medium heat until the mixture becomes solid.

Once cooled enough to handle, knead until smooth before storing it in an airtight container or plastic bag (unless you prefer painting it first). You can also add glitter if you like!

35. Skin-Safe Playdough Recipe.

If, for whatever reason, eating your homemade playdough just isn’t going to work for you, then here’s yet another delicious alternative that won’t hurt little hands or faces if it gets on them (be sure to inform parents who do want their kids to eat any of these!).

Start by mixing 1 cup of flour with two tablespoons of light corn syrup before spreading the mixture onto a cookie sheet.

Bake in the oven at 200 degrees Fahrenheit until the food becomes stiff and starts to curl, around 20 minutes, depending on how thin you spread it out.

Let cool completely before breaking into pieces and put into a plastic bag between scoops (store in an airtight container in the fridge to keep fresh).

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