Do you want to make your own playdough but don’t know where to start? Or maybe you have made tons of playdough and are looking for some new ideas! Homemade playdough is tons of fun for young kids to play with, simple and easy to make, and inexpensive too! Our printable playdough recipes below are easy to customize to suit your kids’ interests, seasonal themes, or holidays.

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Best Playdough Recipe To Try!

If you’re a preschool teacher, work with young kids, or simply want to make playdough to enjoy at home… I have an awesome collection of homemade playdough recipes your kiddos will love including a reader favorite, no-cook playdough!

Make sure to look for the free printable playdough mats sprinkled throughout, and you are absolutely going to want our Playdough Recipe Pack filled with recipes, instructions, and exclusive playdough activity mats that also include hands-on learning!

Ingredients To Make Playdough

Before you dive into the recipes below, let’s stock the pantry! For these playdough recipes, you will need to have the following items in the list below on hand. Once the pantry is stocked with the right ingredients, you will be able to whip up homemade playdough anytime.

While this might seem a lot, most of these playdough recipes have just 2 to 3 ingredients and are super simple to make!

I bet you will find you may have everything already on hand to try at least one of the following playdough recipes right now! You’ll also want to ensure you have mixing bowls, spoons, and measuring cups ready! Oh, and grab the cookie cutters too!

Playdough Ingredients:

  • Flour
  • Water
  • Cornstarch
  • Cream of Tartar (consider buying in bulk)
  • Liquid or Gel Food Coloring
  • Frosting
  • Cheap Hair Conditioner
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Powdered Sugar
  • Salt
  • Scents (optional)
  • Extracts (optional)

PLAYDOUGH TIP: With the no-cook and cooked playdough recipes you can experiment with the amount of cream of tartar you add. Less makes for softer playdough, and more makes for firmer playdough. This might be a fun activity to set up as a science experiment for older kids!

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: 17+ Things To Do With Playdough

There are other fun (and scented) ingredients you can add to homemade playdough, such as:

  • Koolaid (see below)
  • Jello Powder
  • Scented oils (think lavender)

COLOR MIXING TIP: If you want to make one big batch of playdough and turn it into a few different colors, you can do that too. It takes good finger strength to knead in the colors, but it works!

For less messy hands, place both pieces of playdough in two separate and sealed plastic bags and knead to distribute the color. Turn it into a surprise color-mixing activity. Disposable gloves can help reduce the temporary staining on the hands.

Download this free playdough activity mat to extend the fun of your playdough-making session. Print and laminate for a fun playdough activity anytime.

How Long Does Homemade Playdough Last?

If stored correctly, most homemade playdough recipes will last a few weeks or more. Of course, this also depends on your kiddos’ play habits and the exact recipe. You will notice when it’s time to make a new batch.

Generally, the longest-lasting recipes contain a preservative such as salt to retain freshness. Other recipes like our super-soft playdough will only last a short amount of time but also make excellent sensory play activities.

You can store your classic or no-cook playdough in the fridge to increase its longevity, but let it cool down before placing it in your container or zip-top bag.

Our soft playdough recipe can also be stored in an airtight container but doesn’t need refrigeration. This homemade playdough won’t last as long!

How To Make Playdough Without Cream Of Tartar

Yes, you can playdough without cream of tartar! But I don’t think you will enjoy the consistency as much as it can be a bit more crumbly!

CREAM OF TARTAR SUBSTITUTE

You can substitute lemon juice for the cream of tartar. Simply subtract a 1/4 cup of water and add in 3 tablespoons of lemon juice in either of our cooked playdough or no-cook playdough recipes!

If you don’t want to use either cream of tartar or lemon juice and you don’t want to go through the more involved cooking process of making playdough, then you should definitely try our Cornstarch Playdough recipe!

Easy Playdough Recipes

What are you in the mood to try today? We have so many great playdough recipe ideas that you’ll need to start a list to try them all! Each of the links below will take you to a homemade playdough recipe with full instructions and pictures. Some recipes share a short video too!

CRAYON PLAYDOUGH

Your favorite colors are added to this clever playdough recipe with such a fun theme! Perfect to pair with the book, The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt or Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson.

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STRAWBERRY PLAYDOUGH

It smells so good you could almost eat it! This fun pink playdough has just 2 ingredients and is an easy no-cook playdough recipe to try. While it is taste-safe, we never recommend eating it as a snack!

KOOL-AID PLAYDOUGH

Make fruity-scented Kool-aid playdough the kids will love using our traditional cooked playdough recipe and a special ingredient! You guessed it, Kool-aid packets! Watch the video too!

COOKED PLAYDOUGH RECIPE

This is a classic playdough recipe that you will need to cook on the stove, but it usually yields the best results with playdough fans (your kids). It also lasts quite a while if stored properly and kept clean. It’s so easy to add your favorite scents and colors to this recipe!

NO COOK PLAYDOUGH

Although you do still need very warm water to make this playdough, this easy playdough recipe does not require you to cook it on the stove! If you don’t have access to a stove or don’t want the kids gathered around the cook top, this is the way to go! Watch the video!

CORNSTARCH PLAYDOUGH

This super-soft playdough recipe is slightly different from the first two playdough recipes. However, it does give a nice texture for variety in playdough play and is worth trying! Only 2 ingredients make this homemade playdough easy to whip up and fun for kids to help with too. Watch the video!

EDIBLE PEANUT BUTTER PLAYDOUGH

Sensory play not only involves the hands, it involves taste as well. Some children need to taste everything, so we made our simple edible peanut butter play dough for a fun treat and play idea!

ALSO CHECK OUT: Edible Slime Recipes

FAIRY DOUGH

Make this lovely and soft fairy dough with sparkly fairy dust—a fun version of our 2 ingredient cornstarch and conditioner recipe. Watch the video!

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FOAM DOUGH

Just 2 ingredients make this super soft and squishy foam playdough for kids. Make a rainbow of colors and watch the video!

GLOW IN THE DARK PLAYDOUGH

Try this fun playdough recipe with glow in the dark pigment. Kids will love it!

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JELLO PLAYDOUGH

A fun fruit scented homemade playdough with Jello. Easy to make and great to play with!

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PEEPS PLAYDOUGH

A super easy 3 ingredient taste safe homemade playdough!

ALSO CHECK OUT: Easter Peeps Playdough

PUMPKIN PIE PLAYDOUGH

Here’s a fun fall twist on our homemade playdough recipe. Make pumpkin pie playdough with playdough activity suggestions included! You can easily add fun scents to this one!

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: Apple Scented Playdough Recipe

POWDERED SUGAR PLAYDOUGH

Playdough that’s edible and smells amazing? You bet! This powdered sugar playdough with only 2 ingredients couldn’t be easier, and the kids can easily help you mix up a batch or two! Watch the video!

Playdough Play Ideas

Introduce one of these quick ideas when you grab the playdough container!

Printmaking with Nature or Everyday Objects: Grab nature finds or household items like bottle caps or toy cars to create unique imprints in your playdough creations.

Infuse Fun Scents with Kool-Aid: Add a delightful twist by incorporating Kool-Aid packets to infuse your playdough with exciting scents. It’s a sensory delight for the little ones!

Set Up an Exploration Table: Transform your play space into an exploration table, providing various tools and materials to enhance the playdough experience.

Dino Dig Adventure: Excite budding paleontologists by hiding mini plastic dinosaurs within the playdough. It’s a thrilling dino dig adventure waiting to happen!

Create an Underwater Ocean Scene: Dive deep into creativity by crafting an underwater ocean scene. Use playdough to shape marine life and bring the ocean to life!

Play with Shapes: Develop fine motor skills and shape recognition by incorporating cookie cutters or other shape-making tools into your playdough playtime.

Add Kitchen Utensils for Mark Making: Raid the kitchen for utensils! Incorporate forks, knives, or even pastry cutters for unique mark-making and texture exploration.

Playdough Science

Not all recipes fall under the description below, but our traditional and no-cook recipes do! Turn playdough into a preschool science activity. Many things in the kitchen, such as baking and cooking, are actually science-based. See our list of kitchen science experiments!

It’s all in how different materials react to each other and the new substances formed when materials are combined. Use playdough to explore simple chemistry!

WHAT IS PLAYDOUGH MADE OF?

Our traditional playdough recipe contains five key ingredients: flour, water, salt, tartar, and oil. The texture of playdough is affected by the cream of tartar, the salt and the type of flour used.

We have used all kinds of flour, like coconut flour and even substituted applesauce for water in our applesauce playdough recipe. You can experiment with cream of tartar amounts too! Less may give you softer playdough and more a firmer playdough. 

The proteins (gluten) found in the most common flours interact with the water and heat to become a stretchy mass that creates the bulk in the playdough.

Salt acts as a preservative for long-lasting fun. The no-cook playdough does still use hot water but it doesn’t require the heat of a cooktop.

The vegetable oil acts as a lubricant and helps to keep the playdough moist and not too sticky like our borax free slime. Wax paper is also a helpful tool to have for working with homemade playdough as the dough will not stick well to it!

Don’t want to worry about searching through recipes…

Grab the printable playdough recipe and activity pack here!

Additional Free Printable Playdough Mats

You can find all of our printable playdough mats here or check out some of our favorites…

Fine Motor Skills with Playdough

Strengthen those little hands and fingers with playdough play and playdough accessories such as cookie cutters and cutting or rolling tools. While it looks like a lot of fun play, little fingers are busy working to manipulate both the material and tools to make their creations.

Pinching, poking, grasping, squishing, flattening, and rolling are great ways to strengthen hand muscles and increase dexterity in the fingers. You can even push small items or beads into the playdough and give your kid a pair of kid-friendly tweezers to pull out the items (older preschool/kindergarten).

TRY THIS: Below is a picture of playdough with a bunch of mini items hidden in it to feed the animals. You can use pony beads, small LEGO pieces, googly eyes, and anything easily washed!

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Feed the Animal Theme Playdough Fine Motor Activity

More Fun Sensory Recipes To Make

We have a few more recipes that are all-time favorites! Easy to make, only a few ingredients and young kids love them for sensory play! See all our sensory play ideas here!

Make kinetic sand that is moldable play sand for little hands.

Homemade oobleck is easy with just 2 ingredients.

Mix up some soft and moldable cloud dough.

Find out how simple it is to color rice for sensory play.

Try edible slime for a taste safe play experience.

Of course, pudding slime is fun to try!

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