This Christmas playdough recipe is a fun and easy Christmas activity to make with kids! Add holiday colors and peppermint extract to make this homemade playdough extra festive! Try using it for pretend Christmas cookies and candy canes. Pair it with a batch of homemade crockpot hot chocolate and you’ve got a perfect day.
I love this easy DIY winter sensory activity for kids. Get them involved in making the playdough and unleash hours of open-ended play! Simple playdough offers endless possibilities for indoor imaginative fun on winter days. It is quick and easy to make and keeps in the fridge for a long time!
Adding festive colors and vanilla and peppermint make this Christmas activity extra special!
Check out the recipe card for a printable playdough recipe that is easy to double or triple for a larger batch. Use the 2x and 3x buttons in the recipe card to scale the homemade Christmas playdough recipe.
Keep reading to learn how to make, play with, and store this festive Christmas playdough!
Basic playdough made with all-purpose flour, cream of tartar, salt, oil, and water.
Food Coloring: I opted for red and green to make this playdough extra festive! A few drops of food coloring kneaded into the cooked dough will color it. Use any color you like, or leave it out to make white playdough. Higher-quality food coloring will result in more vibrant colors.
Optional Scents: Pure vanilla and pure peppermint extract add a festive scent to the dough. You can choose which scent you prefer or leave it out entirely. I like to divide the dough and do part peppermint and part vanilla!
*Don’t add essential oils or large amounts of spices. They can irritate the skin on little hands.
How to make scented Christmas playdough
A detailed, printable recipe card follows the photo tutorial!
First, round up your ingredients and your little helper(s). Even toddlers and preschool-aged children love to help in the kitchen.
Little ones will love dumping in the ingredients and stirring them. A grownup will need to help measure the ingredients and cook the dough.
Add the all-purpose flour, salt, cream of tartar, oil, and water to a small saucepan. Use a wooden spoon to stir it until forms a runny paste.
Cook it over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until it forms a ball.
Dump the hot playdough onto a cutting board to cool for about 10 minutes.
Pro-tip: Soak the pot with hot, soapy water while the dough cools. It will be easy to clean if you soak it immediately.
Once it’s cool enough to handle, knead the dough for about 4 minutes. It should be soft and smooth.
Now, it’s time to add scents and colors! Each batch of playdough needs a tablespoon of vanilla or peppermint extract. It will also need about 30 drops of food coloring. Higher-quality food coloring will result in more intense colors.
For this batch, I chose to divide the dough into thirds. So, each 1/3 of the dough got a teaspoon of extract and 10 drops of food coloring. I left one white and added peppermint extract so we could make candy canes.
Pro-tip: The food coloring will stain your hands when you add it. You can wear gloves to prevent this! Once it’s incorporated into the playdough, it will no longer stain.
Make a well into the dough and add the food coloring and extract. Knead it to mix everything in. It will be sticky at first. Don’t panic! It will be smooth once it’s mixed up.
How to store homemade playdough
Refrigerate the play dough in an airtight container when not in use. A Ziplock bag works great and keeps it from drying out!
What to do with Christmas playdough
Playdough is a perfect Christmas activity to enjoy with preschool-aged children.
- Gather supplies for playing! I’ve always let my son play at the kitchen counter in his Learning Tower. It’s the best toddler thing we’ve bought.
- I ordered a few of these cafeteria trays to contain messes. We set the boundary that the playdough stays on the trays, and they’ve worked great!
- We also have wooden playdough tools and plastic Christmas cookie cutters. You can add any tools you like!
Turn it into pretend candy canes
Roll out the red and white playdough into ropes.
Then, twist them together and curve into a cane shape.
You can roll out the candy can rope and use a candy cane cookie cutter to make a candy cane cookie!
Use it for pretend Christmas cookies
Roll out the dough and use plastic Christmas cookie cutters to cut out shapes.
Practice lifting the cookies. 🙂
Santa will love this!
Have fun with open-ended play
Playdough doesn’t need to be structured! Kids can have so much fun using their imagination. He made a snowman with a really long scarf and used it to put on a mini musical!
Use it with Play-Doh sets and tools
Homemade scented playdough works great with any Play-Doh accessories. Just make sure to keep it separate from store-bought Play-Doh. They don’t mix well!
Did you make a batch of Christmas playdough with your little ones? Tag @mandiofthemountains on Instagram with your beautiful creations!Print
Christmas Playdough Recipe & Ideas
An easy Christmas playdough recipe with peppermint and vanilla. Add red & green food coloring and use it for playdough Christmas cookies and candy canes.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 5 minutes
- Total Time: 25 minutes
- Yield: 1 batch 1x
- Category: Play
- Method: Cook
- Cuisine: N/A
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup salt
- 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 cup water
Scents and Colors
- about 30 drops of food coloring per batch*
- 1 tablespoon of pure peppermint extract or pure vanilla extract*
- Add the all-purpose flour, salt, cream of tartar, oil, and water to a small saucepan. Stir it together to form a runny paste.
- Cook over medium-low heat, stirring until the dough forms a ball.
- Remove from heat and dump the dough onto a cutting board.
- Allow it to rest for about 10 minutes until cool enough to handle.
- Make a dent in the dough and add the pure extract and food coloring. Make a well into the dough and add the food coloring and extract. Knead it to mix everything in. It will be sticky at first. Don’t panic! It will be smooth once it’s mixed up. See notes for instructions to mix and match the scents and colors.
- Refrigerate in an airtight container for a couple of months.
- The food coloring will stain your hands when you add it. You can wear gloves to prevent this! Once it’s incorporated into the playdough, it will no longer stain.
Mix and Match Scents and Colors: Each batch of playdough will need 1 tablespoon of vanilla or peppermint extract and about 30 drops of food coloring. Higher-quality food coloring will result in more intense colors. For this batch, I chose to divide the dough into thirds. So, each 1/3 of the dough got 1 teaspoon of extract and 10 drops of food coloring. I left one white and added peppermint extract to make candy canes.
Keywords: play dough