Oh, playdough. Who doesn’t love it?
So soft and squishy, so soothing to play with. It’s not just for kids. You know you like it too.
But is it safe for younger toddlers?
Because my toddler likes to taste most of her toys, I did some research on the ingredients in store-bought Playdoh. Unfortunately the Hasbro website does not reveal the full ingredients list. They will only say that it is mostly composed of flour, water, and lots of salt.
I did some further investigating and found out that commercial Playdoh also contains borax, fragrance, and preservatives, among several other ingredients I don’t recognize.
When it comes to borax and fragrance and ingredients I have to google to understand, I’d rather not risk my toddler adding it to her diet – even if it is “non-toxic”.
Luckily, homemade taste-safe playdough is super easy to make – and way cheaper!
There are SO MANY playdough recipes floating around the Internet. I’ve tried too many to count, and finally came up with the perfect combination!
How to Make Homemade Playdough
To put it simply, you boil some water, add in your food coloring, stir in some flour, salt, cream of tartar, and oil, and knead it until it’s no longer sticky.
You’ll find more detailed steps below, but it’s not complicated, I promise!
Although there are many variations of homemade playdough recipes floating around the internet, this is the one we like best. It creates a soft, durable, long lasting playdough.
I’ve included some frequently asked questions about playdough ingredients and substitutions below. Feel free to adjust this recipe at your convenience!
However, just so you’re aware, each of the ingredients in this recipe plays a key role in the science of playdough making:
- flour & water: make up the base of the playdough. Quite a sticky combination without the other ingredients.
- oil: makes the flour & water combo less sticky.
- cream of tartar: creates that nice elasticity that allows you to mold and stretch the playdough without causing it to crumble apart
- salt: preserves the playdough so you can store it and play with it time and time again
- food coloring: adds the color, of course. You can substitute Kool-Aid or Jello for a fun, scented playdough.
Homemade Playdough Without Cream of Tartar
Can I make playdough without cream of tartar?
Yes, but the texture of the playdough will be on the crumbly side, so you might want to add a little extra oil. Cream of tartar adds elasticity to your playdough and allows you to stretch it and mold it without it falling apart. If you don’t have any it’s not the end of the world – you should totally still make playdough! But next time you’re at the store I would pick some up for future playdough making. You can also grab it on Amazon here.
No Cook Playdough Recipe
How do you make playdough without boiling water?
You can substitute cold water using the same recipe listed below. However, I find that boiling the water makes it easier to combine the ingredients and creates a softer and longer lasting playdough.
Homemade Playdough Recipe
Homemade Playdough Ingredients
- 1/2 cup boiling water
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/4 cup salt
- 1.5 teaspoon canola oil
- 1 pack kool-aid or 4-5 drops of food coloring
Homemade Playdough Instructions
- Combine water and food coloring in a pot and bring to boil.
- While waiting for the water to boil, combine your dry ingredients in a separate bowl.
- Remove from heat and add the oil.
- Slowly stir in the dry ingredients. Continue mixing until the playdough forms a ball.
- When the playdough is cool enough, knead it until it is no longer sticky. I like to flour my hands first to prevent sticking.
If you find your playdough is too “floury” after kneading it, add more water. I like a softer playdough so I usually add a splash more water during step 5.
If your playdough is too sticky add a couple drops of oil.
Store your playdough in an airtight container or Ziploc bag.
More Fun Toddler Activities
- 24+ Fall Sensory Bins
- Beautiful No-Mess Smush Paint Project
- 30+ Fun & Easy Sticky Wall Ideas
- Pom-Pom Scoop & Transfer Color Sort
- Scoop, Pour & Transfer with Beans (easiest sensory bin idea!)