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Easy Homemade Play Dough

The smell of homemade play dough transports me to my childhood kitchen. I loved making this with my mom. Now that I have kids, I love making this with my toddler.

A child's hand playing with homemade rainbow colored play dough.

Why make homemade play dough?

This is a perfect activity to get the kids involved in. Mine love helping to measure out the ingredients and choose a color. It will last at least a month and provide hours of imaginative play. 

This is the best recipe for homemade play dough. I prefer this to the store-bought stuff because it has a more pliable texture and behaves like an actual dough. It is soft, smooth, and easy to roll and shape. You can add food coloring to customize it to any color you like. It is also super inexpensive and easy to make at home!

homemade rainbow colored playdough with shapes cut out

Endless ways to play

Homemade play dough (aka play-doh or playdough) is a great sensory play activity and encourages creativity. You can offer cookie cutters and open-ended play options like wooden playdough tools.

It is also a perfect seasonal activity with kids. It is fun to choose colors based on the current season or holiday and offer seasonally appropriate cookie cutters to make shapes. We especially love using plastic Christmas cookie cutters with red and green playdough! The personalization options are endless! 

A child's hand cutting shapes into rainbow colored playdough.

Other things to know about making playdough

You can make this from simple pantry ingredients and it is easy to make. If you don’t already have cream of tartar, it is usually located in the spice section of grocery stores. 

No-cook recipes are floating around, but raw flour should be cooked because it can contain bacteria like Salmonella and E. Coli that cause foodborne illnesses. Even though this is for play, not eating, those little hands like to put everything in their mouths. It is always better to be safe than sorry!

Make sure to add the food coloring on a stain-resistant surface like a cutting board. Once the color is mixed, it will not stain. Lastly, you will want to go ahead and pre-soak the pot while kneading the dough to make clean-up a breeze. 

More fun things to make with kids


Easy Homemade Play Dough

homemade rainbow colored play dough cut into shapes

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Learn how to make easy homemade play dough with ingredients from your pantry!

  • Author: Mandi
  • Total Time: 25 minutes


Units Scale
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 cup water
  • A few drops of food coloring


  1. Mix all-purpose flour, salt, cream of tartar, oil, and water in a pot until paste forms. 
  2. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring until the dough forms a ball. 
  3. Remove from heat.
  4. Allow it to rest for about 10 minutes until cool enough to handle. 
  5. Remove from the pot and knead for about 4 minutes until a smooth dough forms.
  6. Add a few drops of food coloring and knead until fully incorporated. 
  7. Add additional food coloring and knead until the desired color is reached.


This play dough can be refrigerated in an airtight container for several months.

Did you make this recipe?

Tag @mandiofthemountains on Instagram – I can’t wait to see what you’ve made!

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