Best play dough recipe

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The BEST play dough recipe – make in less than 5 minutes for under a $1 and have it last for months! It is so soft and squishy and cuts perfectly with cookie cutters.

One of my kids favorite activities is playing with play dough. It is the perfect indoor activity for when it’s raining, too cold or too hot. When the weather’s nice we’ll even take it outside on the porch. My kids (age 8, 6 and 2) ALL love playing with play dough. My son pretends like he’s outgrowing it, but whenever my girls start playing with it, he always ends up joining in on the fun. I usually give them a few different colors, a mini rolling pin, some cookie cutters and let them go to town. I love seeing their imagination work.

The BEST play dough recipe - make in less than 5 minutes for under a $1 and have it last for months! It is so soft and squishy and cuts perfectly with cookie cutters.

Why is this the best play dough recipe?

  • It is SUPER soft and squishy, but doesn’t stick
  • The play dough lasts for months in a zip top bag
  • It is inexpensive to make
  • It makes enough for 4-6 kids
  • You can add different colors and even scents to customize your dough

The BEST play dough recipe - make in less than 5 minutes for under a $1 and have it last for months! It is so soft and squishy and cuts perfectly with cookie cutters.

We love making our own play dough, because it is so much softer (and cheaper) than the store bought stuff. I find it also lasts longer as well. Over the years I’ve tried dozens of recipes and this recipe here is the best play dough recipe out there! I got it several years ago from my son’s preschool teacher and figured I better post it to my blog so I don’t have to keep searching for it. At their preschool, the parents take turns making the play dough a different color each month and once I used this recipe, I haven’t looked back. I have slightly adapted the original recipe over the years. The main thing that I have done is cut down on the salt, as I found it keeps the dough extra soft for months!

Homemade play dough ingredients

Best play dough recipe (printable below)

All you need for this recipe is 5 simple ingredients: flour, salt, cream of tarter, oil, water (which I don’t technically count as an ingredient) and food coloring. I found all my ingredients at Kroger (love all the Kroger products) and always keep these ingredients stocked in the pantry.

How to make homemade play dough

Once the dough is finished, I like to put each dough ball into it’s own quart sized zip top bag. Then I let my kids squish the colors together. It gives the kids something to do, makes it so your hands aren’t stained and then gives the dough a home after. We use the same bag to store the dough when the kids are done playing with it. If you only plan on making ONE color, just add the food coloring into the pan when you add the water (makes it easier to mix it in). My kids can never decide on just one color, so we usually need to divide it out.

The BEST play dough recipe - make in less than 5 minutes for under a $1 and have it last for months! It is so soft and squishy and cuts perfectly with cookie cutters.

The BEST homemade play dough

The BEST play dough recipe - make in less than 5 minutes for under a $1 and have it last for months! It is so soft and squishy and cuts perfectly with cookie cutters.

Yield: 6 balls

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 2-3 minutes

Total Time: Less than 10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup salt
  • 4 teaspoons cream of tarter
  • 2 cups lukewarm water
  • 2 Tablespoons of vegetable oil (coconut oil works too)
  • Food coloring, optional
  • Quart sized bags

Directions:

Stir together the flour, salt and cream of tarter in a large pot. Next add the water and oil. If you're only making one color, add in the the color now as well. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. Continue stirring until the dough has thickened and begins to form into a ball. Remove from heat and then place inside a gallon sized bag or onto wax paper. Allow to cool slightly and then knead until smooth. If you're adding colors after, divide the dough into balls (for how many colors you want) and then add the dough into the quart sized bags. Start with about 5 drops of color and add more to brighten it. Knead the dough, while inside the bag so it doesn't stain your hands. Once it's all mixed together you're ready to PLAY.

Store the play dough inside the bags once done to keep soft. Keeps for up to 3 months.

Feel free to add 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla or lemon extract (essential oils work great too), to make it scented.

Another fun addition to the play dough is to add glitter. We added about 1/4 cup to the bag and kneaded it in with blue and yellow.

My almost 2 year old loves squishing the dough. I love watching those chubby little fingers go to work.

The BEST play dough recipe - make in less than 5 minutes for under a $1 and have it last for months! It is so soft and squishy and cuts perfectly with cookie cutters.

My 6 year old daughter loves pulling out the cookie cutters and making all kinds of designs! She is quite the girly girl. ;)

The BEST play dough recipe - make in less than 5 minutes for under a $1 and have it last for months! It is so soft and squishy and cuts perfectly with cookie cutters.

Make a batch for your kids once school is out for a summer to remember!

This post is brought to you by Kroger. Check out their website for more DIY and recipe inspiration.

The BEST play dough recipe - make in less than 5 minutes for under a $1 and have it last for months! It is so soft and squishy and cuts perfectly with cookie cutters.

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Jamielyn Nye

Creative director and founder of I Heart Naptime. Jamielyn aspires to reach women, get their creative juices flowing, and to genuinely inspire. When she’s not creating, Jamielyn loves to chase her three little monkeys and snuggle up on the couch with her man.

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Comments

  1. Ashley R. posted on May 16, 2017 at 1:35 pm (#
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    Just made a batch with my little boy. You are right. This is the best play dough! So soft. Hoping it lasts all summer.

    • Jamielyn posted on June 14, 2017 at 2:49 pm (#
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      I’m so glad you tried it! Homemade play dough is so fun!

  2. Valerie posted on May 17, 2017 at 8:34 am (#
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    I will be making this ! Would be pretty with the glitter in it, but I’ll be leaving that out in case my Littles decide to taste it! 😊

    • Jamielyn posted on June 14, 2017 at 2:50 pm (#
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      Hope you have fun making this with your little ones!

  3. Dee posted on May 17, 2017 at 11:54 pm (#
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    School is out next week, so this is perfect timing, and I know my younger ones will love making this!

    • Jamielyn posted on June 14, 2017 at 2:52 pm (#
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      Hope you have fun making this with your kids! It is the perfect summer activity!

  4. Kimberly @ The Daring Gourmet posted on May 18, 2017 at 12:03 am (#
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    So fun! I just made a ton of homemade slime with my kids – this one’s next!

    • Jamielyn posted on June 14, 2017 at 2:55 pm (#
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      It has been a while since I made homemade slime, definitely adding that to our summer fun list!

  5. Sabrina posted on May 18, 2017 at 2:20 am (#
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    This looks like so much fun! My kids are going to love playing with this play dough!

  6. Cara Mengobati Penyakit Keloid posted on May 18, 2017 at 4:03 am (#
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    thank you for sharing

  7. Katerina @ diethood .com posted on May 18, 2017 at 7:21 am (#
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    This is SO fun! I can’t wait to make it with my kids, they will have a blast!! Thank you for sharing!!

  8. Cookin Canuck posted on May 18, 2017 at 10:30 am (#
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    Even though my boys are a bit older now, I’ll bet they would still love playing with this!

    • Jamielyn posted on June 14, 2017 at 2:55 pm (#
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      You can never be too old for play dough. ;)

  9. Catalina @ Peas & Peonies posted on May 18, 2017 at 11:40 am (#
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    This is such an awesome idea! I have kids and I apreciate it! They can play for hours with some dough. :)

    • Jamielyn posted on June 14, 2017 at 2:58 pm (#
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      Love how long play dough keeps little ones busy!

  10. Maryanne | the little epicurean posted on May 18, 2017 at 12:52 pm (#
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    This is so cool! Definitely going to try it out this summer!

    • Jamielyn posted on June 20, 2017 at 2:47 pm (#
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      It is the perfect summer craft! Hope you have fun with it!