Make play dough at home with ingredients you probably already have in your house.

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My kids love to play with play dough. I don’t like to buy it from the store because it can be expensive and you don’t get very much of it, so for a few years, I have been using a recipe for homemade play dough. We love the results: The play dough is easy to make, and it is very soft and easy to play with. There are also plenty of other recipes for homemade play dough, and we present five of them here.

We had a blast using all of these recipes—each of my kids got to pick out the recipe they wanted to help me with. You are almost certain to have most of the ingredients in your house, but before you get started, make sure you have a very strong spoon. The play dough is a little hard to stir when it is almost done, and a sturdy spoon will make it a lot easier to mix. I use an ice cream scooper that has a flat end. Also, when you are done making the play dough, make sure you soak the pot in water—it will make cleanup much easier.

In all cases, make sure to let the play dough cool before you let your kids play with it. Store the play dough in an airtight container—I store mine in zipper bags after letting out all the air. As long as you keep it in an airtight container, the play dough can last for many months.

Homemade play dough

Here is our standard play dough recipe. Play around with the food coloring to make the play dough any color your child wants it to be!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar

  • 1/3 cup salt

  • 1 cup water

  • 1 tablespoon oil (I used coconut oil, and it worked perfectly — but you can use any type of oil.)

  • Food coloring (Use about 18 drops of the color you want.)

Directions:

  1. In a heavy saucepan, whisk together the flour, cream of tartar and salt.

  2. Add the water and oil and place the saucepan over medium heat. If you want to add food coloring, this is the time to do it.

  3. Stir until the mixture starts to thicken. It will thicken quickly and start to get very hard to stir. It will start to come off the sides and make a large ball. Once that happens — it is done!

Kool-Aid play dough

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This play dough smells so good! We use tropical punch to give the play dough a bright pink color. Let your kids try out their favorite flavors.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1/3 cup salt

  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar

  • 1 package Kool-Aid (any flavor)

  • 1 cup water

  • 1 tablespoon oil

Directions:

  1. In a heavy saucepan, whisk together the flour, cream of tartar, salt and Kool-Aid.

  2. Add the water and oil and place the saucepan over medium heat.

  3. Stir until the mixture starts to thicken. It will thicken quickly and start to get very hard to stir. It will start to come off the sides and make a large ball. It will no longer look wet. Once that happens — it is done!

Glitter play dough

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My daughter absolutely loves her glitter play dough. It is pinkish in color, so we use pink glitter. My kids love it so much that we added glitter to the other recipes.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 cup salt

  • 1 tablespoon cream of tartar

  • 2 cups water

  • 1 tablespoon oil

  • Food coloring (To make a purplish color, we added 21 drops of red and 5 drops of blue.)

  • Glitter

Directions:

  1. In a heavy saucepan, whisk together the flour, cream of tartar and salt.

  2. Add the water and oil and place the saucepan over medium heat. If you want to add food coloring, this is the time to do it.

  3. Stir until the mixture starts to thicken. It will thicken quickly and start to get very hard to stir. It will start to come off the sides and make a large ball. Once that happens – it is done!

  4. Let the play dough cool for a few minutes. Sprinkle some glitter on your counter and lay the play dough over it. Knead the dough so the glitter spreads throughout it. Repeat as necessary until the play dough is sparkly!

Cloud dough

This has to be one of our favorites. The plastic container you will need is available at any dollar store.

Ingredients:

  • 8 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 cup baby oil

  • Large plastic container (about the size of a shoe box) with a lid

Directions:

  1. Pour the flour into the container, and then pour the oil all over the flour.

  2. Use a pastry blender or your hands to mix together the flour and oil. They will come together nicely, and the mixture will stick together like sand.

Tip: This was a huge hit with our kids, but it was a little messy. Encourage them to play with it outside.

Silly putty

My 3-year-old niece loved how this felt—it is gushy and squishy in your hands. Just make sure your kids do not put it in their mouth since it has borax in it. Also wash their hands after handling.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup water

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose glue

  • 1 teaspoon borax

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, mix the glue and 1/4 cup of water together until they are completely mixed.

  2. Dissolve 1 teaspoon of borax into the 1/2 cup of warm water.

  3. Pour the borax-and-water mixture into the glue mixture and stir well.

  4. While stirring, the mixture will begin to look like gel. You should be able to pick it up and squish it in your hands. It will begin to harden more.

Tip: If the silly putty hardens too much, you can put it in the microwave for about 5–15 seconds.

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