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5 ingredients and 5 minutes to make soft play dough!

Looking for a toy that can calm a hyper child, reduce aggression, promote creativity, stimulate the senses, and encourage learning?  Look no further than your kitchen pantry.  With 5 common ingredients you can make this wonderful play dough in minutes.  As a former preschool teacher, I have tried many dough recipes and this is definitely the best!  Playing with dough is relaxing and fun for children.  It can entertain for hours, especially if you add some cookie cutters and other kitchen tools to enhance the play.

You need:

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2 c flour

1 c salt

4 tsp cream of tarter

2 T oil

2 c water

Mix the flour, salt, and cream of tarter in a pan.


Add water and oil.  Stir over medium-high heat.  Keep stirring until you are literally stirring a ball of dough.  If you quit too early, your dough will be sticky.  It takes about 3-31/2 minutes.


Dump your dough onto the counter and knead immediately.  If children want to help with this step, make sure the dough has cooled enough first.  I love kneading the warm dough!


You can add color or scent either during the stirring phase or afterward by kneading food color into the dough (optional).  I like to let the children knead the color into the dough.   They can see the change take place.  Just put a few drops of food coloring onto your dough.  Fold it over so the coloring is mixing in the dough, not right onto your hands to avoid staining.


We added lemon essential oil for scent to this yellow dough.


I like to divide the dough into sections and make different colors.  Your children can then mix the colors together to see another change take place.  A great way to teach colors!


Douglas mixed a blue batch.


We then kneaded our blue and yellow together to make a green section.


Playtime!  Dough play is great for any age.  My 17 and 13 year old both got involved with this project!


Store your dough in any airtight container and it will last up to 6 months.

*note:  Soak your pan in water for a few minutes and it will clean up easily.  It also wipes up easily off the counter.  It will stick to clothing or carpet, however.

Play ideas:

Add lavender oil to sooth an anxious child.

Spread a vinyl tablecloth on the floor and use it as a play mat for easy clean up.

Buy and inexpensive mini kitchen set and keep with your play dough for imaginative play.

Form letters with the play dough and practice spelling words or writing your name.

Experiment with mixing colors.

Let your creation harden overnight and then paint it.

Flatten a chunk of play dough.  Go on a nature walk and push leaves, rocks, whatever you find into your dough to create a nature mosaic.

Clean your kitchen while your child plays with dough at the table or counter!

Happy playtime!

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play dough



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Anna Frank

Thursday 5th of May 2016

My father is from a poor family and he hadn't toys. I remember when I was a kid I found his old toys from plasticine. The Ships, the cars, and soldiers were awesome...all of them were handmade.

Betty Smith

Wednesday 4th of May 2016

The dough can last up to six months? Really?

Gabriele Fox

Monday 25th of April 2016

Absolutely brilliant.... My kid loved it :) You don`t know how much this will help me :) Thank you :)

Isabella Lloyd

Friday 22nd of April 2016

I buy my kids constantly Playdoh plasticine. It is quite expensive and the quality is poor. Is this dough can be made for child's play?

Eliece Jenkins

Friday 22nd of April 2016

Yes, this is perfect for children to play with and much softer than the store-bought dough.

Aimee Brent

Friday 22nd of April 2016

If you remove the cream and the oil from your recipe, you can have a sculpting clay that can be colored when it's dry :)

Beth Cooper

Monday 9th of May 2016

You are absolutely right!

Eliece Jenkins

Friday 22nd of April 2016

Great tip!