Play Dough Recipe
Ideas And Activities For Toddler Crafts

Here's an easy homemade play dough recipe which works really well for toddler crafts and 13 of the best ideas for activities so all your kids enjoy it.

Playdough recipe and ideas

You'll find:

  • A list of easy play doh recipe ingredients
  • Instructions
  • Helpful tips
  • Ideas for fun toddlers activities
  • Try shell print patterns and making birds' eggs
  • Ways to have playdough fun by adding lovely scents and colors
Easy homemade playdough recipe

"Best play dough recipe ever!!  Thanks."

~ Mandy, Courageous Homeschooling Facebook group

Playdough is always more fun when you make it yourself!

Homemade Play Dough Recipe


  1. 300g (12 ounces flour 
  2. 115g (4 ounces) salt
  3. 225ml (8 fluid ounces) water
  4. 2 tablespoons oil
  5. 4 tablespoons cream of tartar
  6. Food coloring in different colors; optional: glitter, flavored oils

N.B. My friend Jeni makes her playdough recipe using cups as a measurement. Here's her recipe:

1 cup plain flour, 1/4 cup fine salt, 1tbsp cream of tartar, 1tbsp sunflower oil, 1 cup water.

As you can see, the homemade recipe is basically very easy - you've probably got everything in the house apart from cream of tartar and maybe food coloring.

The ingredients are very similar to our easy homeschooling salt dough recipe so, if you really can't find the cream of tartar, you could make salt dough instead!

Play dough ingredients

You start by adding all the play-doh recipe ingredients together in a big bowl except food coloring.

As you work the ingredients together they'll naturally start forming themselves into a play-doh ball.

To help the recipe ingredients firm up into proper playdough, you need to heat them on a very low heat in a pan, keeping stirring all the time.

You can tell how gentle the heat was because, instead of using a spoon to stir, I mixed it in the pan using my hands.

You shouldn't need to heat the recipe for long until you've got a nice firm play dough lump which isn't sticky.

Keep kneading until it firms up.

How To Make Play Dough

  • There is one vital ingredient left out before you've really made homeschool play-doh and that's color.

I think you can see this homeschooling recipe is dead easy, but take care on the next bit.

You'll only see photos of my red, yellow and blue homemade play dough recipe because the green is a sludgy gloop confined to the homeschool trash can!

colors in jars

You need to add a surprising amount of food color to the homeschool play dough recipe to make the dough turn from an insipid grayish color to something attractive for toddler crafts.

There's a fine balance between getting the color right and giving your play-doh too much to cope with!

You'll find food dye comes in handy with our homeschool silly putty too!

  • I also recommend mixing the colors wearing plastic gloves; it does get messy and it does take a bit of time and effort (I lost my playdough helpers at this point.)
  • You'll find our homeschooling play dough recipe will keep well if you cover it in plastic and put it in an airtight container.

Play Dough Crafts

You should now have some pretty balls of homeschooling playdough to tempt everyone from your toddler up.

I decided to take our homemade play dough recipe to our local homeschooling group and it was a great success!

Playdough Activities

Here are lots of ideas for what you can do with your homeschool playdough recipe now you've made it.

13 Best Playdough Ideas

Best playdough ideas
  • Your toddler could pick some flowers from the garden and add them to their dough.
  • Pretend food always goes down well, as you'll see from the toddler chef ideas in our homeschooling Activities for 2 year-olds.
play dough balls

I saw a lovely plate of pork sausages, spaghetti and mashed potato being offered round in our homeschool group!

  • Add some non toxic scents (like orange, peppermint or vanilla) to your homemade play dough to get your toddler sniffing!
cookie cutters
  • Get a rolling pin and let your kids have fun rolling the dough flat and cut out shapes with plastic cookie cutters like in the photo. A fun way to make everything from letters to lions and elephants. 
  • You can put glitter or sequins on the play-doh for homeschooling crafts with extra sparkle.
Play doh ideas and activities

"We made homemade play-dough yesterday! So much fun. Each kid got a chance to measure and mix, since we made 3 colors."

~ The Jacobs Homeschool Academy

  • Our homemade playdough recipe is great for taking impressions. How about shells, hand prints, a plastic fork?
  • Straws are great for making toddler crafts which need eye holes or a nose.

Galaxy Playdough

Playdough ideas and activities

I love this idea from Jeni.

  • If you add glitter to your homemade black playdough recipe, you can make a galaxy of stars.
  • Jeni suggests adding olbas oil for extra fun.

"Seriously though if you can get olbas oil and add a few drops to the mix it is HEAVEN to play with. The last time I made galaxy playdough the boys had colds and were feeling rubbish at the time and they absolutely loved it."

~ Jeni, Courageous Homeschooling Facebook group

More Playdough Ideas

play dough cat

There are plenty of play-doh squirting and squeezing machines you can get in various shapes and and sizes as well as dough cutters and shapers. 

  • But of course rolling sausages between your palms is just as good, and you could practice toddler crafts by helping your child lay the sausages one on top of another to make a homeschool coil pot
  • Homeschooling pinch pots are another alternative which work well.
  • Play dough bird nests were a great homeschool favorite with William and Catherine. Rolling the balls to make multi colored eggs may have confused the mother bird a little but made very pretty homeschooling toddler crafts. 
bird's nest

Where would you like to go now?

Here are some of my most popular homeschooling  pages.  Click on the pic to go to the page.  And - enjoy!

how to make a volcano
play zoo
best paper airplanes

Whatever you do with our homeschool play dough recipe, I hope you have fun!

Want to remember this? Pin this Play Dough Page to your favorite Pinterest board!

Easy play dough recipe and fun activities

Love this page? Help me spread the word by sharing...

blue arrow
free homeschool newsletter

FREE Homeschool Newsletter

"Just had a look through your monthly newsletter focusing on math. Thanks so much for all the links and ideas. It's brilliant!" ~ Diana      

"Hi....I totally love all your posts and enjoy reading them....the kids love the activities and enjoy them through and through." ~ Bianka

18,000 Facebook Fans

Enjoy This Page? Please Share It....

Sonya Chappell

Free Newsletter

Homeschool activities monthly newsletter

Homeschool Secrets of Success

Homeschool Secrets of Success
Amazon review
Learn more

"With the education system failing so many brilliant children it's great to be able to have resources like your website for inspiration, ideas and just a sense of belonging. What you are doing for your children is priceless." ~ Natalija

"I really appreciate your time and effort that goes into your posts... It's nice to see that you are a 2nd generation homeschooler." ~ Teresa

"Your newsletters & book have helped us through our journey.  For that I can only thank you.
Please, please, please keep it up, people like you make our home school life so much easier." ~ Kelly

"I have joined paid sites that were not even one percent as great as this site. Really amazing what you are doing and so so helpful thanks so much!" ~ Eli