Life with Kids · Non-Toxic Alternatives

DIY Play Dough

This original recipe comes from

I have absolutely loved play dough as an activity for my toddler. It’s something we can do together, or keeps her busy as independent play while I get other work done. And while there are countless options for toy accessories out there, we’ve found pleasure in simply a wooden rolling pin, cutter, and play dough stamps from Woodland Creations.


  • 1 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup of salt
  • 2 tablespoons of cream of tartar
  • 1 cup of hot water
  • 1.5 tablespoons of oil (avocado or olive is what I keep around)
  • Natural dye & essential oils (optional)


  1. Combine the flour, salt, and cream of tartar (and colouring if using – see below) in a saucepan.
  2. Slowly stir in the water and oil.
  3. Cook on medium heat, stirring constantly, until the dough begins to thicken.
  4. Once the dough forms a ball, remove from heat.
  5. When the dough is cool enough to touch, knead until it’s smooth.
  6. If desired, add a few drops of your favorite essential oils to give the homemade playdough some scent.
  7. Store the dough in an airtight container or glass jar to keep it soft and fresh for a few months.

Natural Dyes (powders):

I have found that using powders is easiest to dye the play dough when you don’t use artificial or liquid food dyes. I started by mixing it in 1 teaspoon of water to create a liquid, but soon discovered it mixes easier and with stronger colour when combined right into the flour at the beginning.

  • Pink: 1 teaspoon pink pitaya powder.
  • Yellow: 1 teaspoon turmeric powder.
  • Purple: 1 teaspoon acai berry powder.
  • Green: 1 teaspoon spirulina powder.
  • Brown: 1 tablespoon cocoa powder, OR sub 1/4 cup of the flour with cocoa powder for an aromatic dough.

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