Homemade Playdough Recipe

homemade playdough recipe

Try this homemade playdough recipe to learn how to make playdough, step by step.

It takes about 15 minutes to cook, plus about half an hour to cool before putting it into a bag.

I use this recipe for all my occupational therapy playdough activities.

This dough will last for months in a Ziploc bag, provided that your kids have reasonably clean hands when they play with it, and that they don’t lick the dough!

Simply follow the easy step-by-step instructions in the photo gallery below, and then try out some of the playdough activities that I use with my own kids.

Links for a free printable version of this recipe as well as links to fun playdough activities are at the bottom of this article!


  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup salt (table salt)
  • 2 Tablespoons cooking oil
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • a few drops of food coloring (go easy – if the color is too intense, like maroon, it will stain little fingers and clothes. Pastel colors should not cause any stains)

What you need:

  • a large pot
  • a wooden spoon
  • wire whisk (optional)
  • a clean, dry plate (preferably warm – zap it in the microwave for a minute just before the end – this helps prevent the dough from getting sticky from condensation)

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Homemade Playdough Recipe Instructions:

1) Add all ingredients to large pot.

Stir (or whisk) well to combine.

2) Slowly heat over medium heat, stirring all the time.

Stir, stir, stir, feel those arm muscles working!

3) Stir, stir some more, feel the mixture stiffening.

Just keep moving the dough around so it heats through evenly.

Try pressing your fingers into the dough to see if it is still sticky. Be careful not to burn your fingers!!

This is still a bit sticky, as can be seen from the big globs still sticking to the side of the pot.

(At this point, stick the dinner plate in the microwave for a minute to warm it up.)

It is best to “overcook” the dough slightly, rather than under-cook it, so if your arms can bear it, keep it going even though it seems done.

This is done – it makes a nice ball and leaves no stickiness when you press it.

(Be careful!, it is probably rather hot by this stage)

Turn the dough onto the clean, warm, dry plate, and knead it a little until smooth.

Flatten it out so it can cool more quickly, and give it a quick knead every few minutes to prevent a crust from forming.

Store the playdough in a plastic bag (Ziploc is good), and keep the bag inside an airtight container if possible.

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Have Fun With Your Homemade Playdough!

Each of these pages contains playdough activities used in different ways. Click on the images to view the playdough activities on each page - have fun trying them out with your child!

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Download The Recipe!

Fill in this form to access your free playdough recipe right away!

You will get the recipe in a single page PDF format - ready to be saved on your device or printed out.

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You could also try these recipes from other Occupational Therapists! (These links open to their sites in a new window/tab.)

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