Today I am going to show you our favorite no-cook playdough recipe, and because it is no-cook your kids can help make it alongside you!
This post was originally published in Fall 2012 and has been updated in 2020.
It’s almost hard to believe that play-dough is actually a rather recent toy in the history of play. With the amount of activities centered around this playful substance you’d think it would have been around For-Ever. Okay maybe not that long but certainly it’s shocking to find out it wasn’t marketed to the children until the mid-50s. And did you know it was originally invented as a wallpaper cleaner in the 1930’s? Like so may fabulous products invented for one thing and used for another it thankfully found its way to classrooms in Ohio in the 1950s and has been a staple in preschool ever since.
So why make playdough yourself? Bigger batches is my number one reason. Forking out even a few dollars for the store-bought stuff that comes in teeny tiny amounts just doesn’t seem worth it. And making art materials with your kids is the next great reason, why not involve them in the creation of something they can play with?
There are two ways to make playdough: no-cook and cooked. I like both methods and use the no-cook version when I want to involve my kids in the making process. The ingredient list is simple: flour, oil, salt, cream of tartar, hot water, and food coloring.
No-Cook Playdough Recipe
- 1 Cup Flour
- 1/4 Cup Salt
- 1 Tablespoon oil (coconut or vegetable works fine!)
- 1/2 Teaspoon Cream of Tartar (this keeps it from getting mushy over time)
- 1/2 Cup hot water
- Food coloring
- Mixing bowl
- Measuring spoons & cups
No-Cook Playdough Instructions
Note: Mixing the food coloring in with the hot water as shown in the video above will make for easier color mixing, however you will need to make separate batches of dough for each color. The method below shows how to make different colors from one large uncolored batch of dough.
Time needed: 10 minutes.
Here’s how we make no-cook playdough
- Mix dry ingredients
First start by mixing the dry ingredients together in a big bowl. This part is always fun and easy for the kids.
- Add Oil
Add 1 tablespoon oil and stir to mix
- Add Water
Finally add in the hot water. If you are only making one color of playdough add the food coloring to the water before you add it to the dry ingredients. If you use metal mixing bowls they WILL GET HOT! So be aware.
- Stir to mix
Now the mixture will start to get gooey, keep mixing it until all the dry ingredients are fully moistened.
- Divide and Knead
If you are using this one batch to make different colors, divide the dough into different bowls for each color. Add food coloring to each bowl on top of the dough and one by one start kneading.
- Knead until smooth
Keep kneading and adding color until the food coloring is fully mixed into the dough and you are pleased with the color. You can see the difference here between fully mixed dough and dough that needs more kneading. Be sure to wash you hands between mixing the different colors!
- Play & Store
You will eventually end up with a lovely ball of colored modeling compound. Roll it out and play with it! The no-cook playdough can be stored in an airtight container for a few weeks.
Here’s peek at what this looks like when your kids mix the dough. Don’t be afraid of the mess!