How to make your own playdough

Homemade playdough is an easy, inexpensive way to keep young children entertained. You have probably got all the ingredients in your cupboard already.

This simple recipe makes enough for four balls of playdough for your child to play with again and again. Or you can bake any creations to save and even hang up.

See our list of activities for toddlers for more ideas to keep younger children busy.

a child's hands making a rainbow out of coloured playdough

You will need

  • 250g plain flour
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 150g salt
  • About 250ml of warm water
  • Optional: a few drops of food colouring. This part can get very messy so we recommend putting newspaper down beforehand.
  • Optional: child-friendly biscuit cutters and a rolling pin.

Instructions

  • Mix the flour, salt and oil in a large bowl with a large spoon. You can ask your child to help you with this part.
  • If you’re using food colouring, add it to the warm water. This step is for adults only.
  • Optional: if you want to make different colours, separate out the mixture into separate bowls.
  • Pour the water into the flour mixture little by little. Keep stirring until it forms a sticky dough. If you put too much water in, just add a bit more flour.
  • Allow it to cool down for a while. Sprinkle some flour on a hard surface like the kitchen counter or a table.
  • When the dough is cool, take it out of the bowl and knead it for a few minutes until it’s not sticky anymore. You can add more flour if it’s still too wet and sticky. Add some more water if it’s crumbling and flaky.

Next steps

Now it’s time to have fun with the playdough. You could make shapes with the cookie cutters you have. Or get creative and use a child-friendly knife to cut out the dough. For a festive theme, you could build snowmen, or cut out snowflakes and Christmas trees!

Store the playdough in a tupperware or a ziplock bag with the air squeezed out. For dried out playdough, snap it into pieces and leave to soak in a little water. It should soften up again soon.

If your child wants to keep their playdough creations, you can bake them:

  • To hang the figures up later, make sure you make a hole in the top before you bake them.
  • Heat the oven to 110 degrees.
  • Smaller figures will take about half an hour to harden, while bigger ones can take two or three hours.
  • Test them with a toothpick or fork: they should feel hard when they’re done.
  • Once they’ve cooled down, thread a ribbon or some string through the hole you’ve made.
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