There is no need to run to the store  when your playdough has dried out. Here is playdough recipe to make right at home! You’ll save money and you can turn it into a learning experience with the measurements and the science of mixing. Show the kids how measuring 1/2 a cup of salt is the same as two 1/4 cups of salt. Can they count out three half cups of flour as they scoop and dump it into the mixing bowl? Get your materials together and lay out a tarp to keep the mess contained; let’s get started!

Playdough Recipe:

  •  1.5 cups of flour (gluten free if needed for your child)
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1 Tbsp corn starch
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup of cold water
  • Food coloring (mixed in with water)
  • Large bowls and utensils for mixing
  • Cookie cutters and cookie sheet for playing
  • Ziploc bag to store it when finished playing 


  1. Start by having the children help you pour the first three dry ingredients into a mixing bowl and stir it up.
  2. Then in a measuring cup with a spout, mix the water and food coloring to get the color you wish for. If you are near Halloween you can make it orange; and if you are close to St. Patrick’s day you can turn the playdough recipe into green sensory play.
  3. Next, dump the water into the dry ingredients, as well as the vegetable oil. Mix it all together. Have the kids get their hands in there and help you knead it.
  4. Show them how they can manipulate the dough and explore the texture by squeezing and flattening the play dough. Put out the cookie sheets and cutters to extend their play. If you are outside making the play dough, grab a few natural items such as pinecones, rocks, and leaves and show how they can make imprints in the dough. You can also put it in a sensory bin for St. Patricks day and add gold glitter, coins, and little black cauldrons.

If your play dough doesn’t come out the consistency you hoped for, encourage cognitive thinking and ask the children how they could solve the problem. Suggest that they create a hypothesis and then try it out, “If my playdough recipe is too dry, then I need to add…” Maybe a little too much of one ingredient got poured in on accident. Did anyone taste it and learn it was maybe too salty? Is it too wet or too dry; what ingredient do you think you need more of? Have fun with it and you will see math and science skills taking place right before your eyes.

When you and the kids are done playing, store the homemade play dough in a Ziploc bag. To save it for another day, add a damp paper towel to the ziplock bag to make sure it doesn’t dry out. For more sensory activities try one of these.

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