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Really Awesome Homemade Playdough Recipes

Homemade Playdough

I‘ve been increasingly agitated by the mess that Play-Doh makes and am uneasy not knowing exactly what’s in it, though it’s non-toxic. La Jolla Girl’s preschool teacher always has big mounds of homemade playdough available for the kids. If it sticks to the clothes, it always washes out. If little specks get into her mouth before we wash her hands, I don’t really care.

So, when I was the volunteer mom last week, I finally asked her for the homemade playdough recipes because I noticed it has a great consistency, kids love it and it’s less messy (though not zero mess). Here is the recipe:

Kool-Aid Playdough Recipe

2 cups of flour
1/2 cup of salt
4 tbsp Cream of Tartar
2 cups water mixed with 2 tbsp oil
2 packs of unsweetened Kool-Aid

Mix together and cook over low heat. Allow to cool completely.

I accidentally used Pineapple Kool-Aid, which I would not recommend. It just turned the playdough kind of a cookie dough color. La Jolla Girl’s teacher uses grape, orange and other colors. I saw one mom complain on the internet that grape Kool-Aid in playdough stains, but I’ve never had that problem. Try putting a little bit of glitter in it too—kids love that.

I think this would make a great inexpensive holiday gift for young kids: Make multiple colors with and without glitter, etc. The full recipe makes A LOT of playdough. I store it in an air-tight container when it’s not in use and just let La Jolla Girl have a little bit at a time.

Homemade Playdough
For more vibrantly colored (or blue, since blue Kool Aid is hard to find) playdough, you can use food coloring. This is another excellent recipe.

Food Coloring Homemade Playdough

1 cup white flour
1/2 cup salt
2 tablespoons cream of tartar
1 tablespoon oil
1 cup water
Food coloring

Mix flour, salt, cream of tartar and oil in a saucepan. Add water and mix well. Cook over low heat for a few minutes until the dough starts to clump and resemble playdough. Remove the dough from the pan and knead for a few seconds. For multiple colors, divide the white dough. Use a few drops of food coloring and knead it in. Add more food coloring until the desired color is reached.

In case you’re wondering, here is what Wikipedia lists as Play-Doh’s ingredients: “Play-Doh’s current manufacturer, Hasbro, reveals the compound contains water, salt, and wheat flour while its 2004 United States patent indicates it is composed of water, a starch-based binder, a retrogradation inhibitor, salt, lubricant, surfactant, preservative, hardener, humectant, fragrance, and color. A petroleum additive gives the compound a smooth feel, and borax prevents mold from developing.”

I’m not dissing Play-Doh as we have tons of it in the house and I LOVED it as a kid. La Jolla Girl is not a neat Play-Doh player and still sucks on her fingers for comfort. Homemade just makes me more comfortable for the time being.

I’ve created a FREE download for my Facebook fans to reference. It has our favorite recipes for playdough, finger paints, watercolor paints and slime. Click here on Recipes for Kids Crafts to go get it.

18 Comments
  • Teresa - February 8, 2013

    I burnt my first batch. What did I do wrong? The bottom was burnt and the top had a snot consistency. Do I need to stir while its heating?

    • La Jolla Mom - February 8, 2013

      Hmmm…the only thing I can think of is that perhaps the ingredients weren’t combined well enough. I do keep an eye on it and give it an occasional stir while cooking if I need to. Sorry about that!

  • Karin - September 7, 2012

    We made the second recipe this morning, and it was perfect! Thanks so much for posting!!!

  • Powell Woulfe Photography - July 18, 2011

    Thank you so much for sharing this! I am a play-doh-aphobe, and yet my 3 year old daughter loves it. I hate the smell, the way it sticks in the grout of the tile floor, the way I seem to find it everywhere in the house….etc. Her school also makes homemade versions, but I never thought to ask for the recipe! This may be a lifesaver!

    • La Jolla Mom - July 18, 2011

      Oh good! This does still stick, but I think less. It definitely does not dry out as quickly.

  • Adam - January 11, 2010

    I do love homemade playdough as at least you know what is going in it. Though I would probably avoid using alum since it is toxic to humans in high amounts. Cream of tartar, would be a safer option.
    .-= Adam´s last blog ..How To Make A Zip Lock Bag Travel Toy =-.

  • Lynn @Mama_Says - December 16, 2009

    Great idea. With winter break around the corner I’ve been thinking about crafts, games and outings with the grandboys. Would also make a great gift!
    .-= Lynn @Mama_Says´s last blog ..Mama Says – Cooking & Gift Giving Made Easy =-.

  • Reyna - December 14, 2009

    Thanks for the recipe! I might have to try this with my cousins :)

  • Mama Mary - December 13, 2009

    This sounds like a tame craft I could make without fear of slicing my finger off! :-) Lovc this idea.

  • Becca - December 13, 2009

    I used to love making play-doh as a kid…but haven’t done it since!
    .-= Becca´s last blog ..Harlem Globetrotters =-.

  • Michelle, Muffin Tin Mom - December 12, 2009

    I agree. I LOVE homemade play doh. I think some moms are not sure just how easy it is and how safe it is for kids to play with. And the batches last a long time, a lot longer than just 1 week or so. And you are also right about it being lessy messy. And I don’t mind if they mash all the colors together, because I can just make more!
    .-= Michelle, Muffin Tin Mom´s last blog ..Friday Find: Dollar Store Wood Magentic Letters and Numbers =-.

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I'm Katie Dillon, a freelance luxury travel writer who lives in seaside La Jolla, CA. This is where I document my recent trips around the world, the latest San Diego happenings and other fun lifestyle topics. Thanks for stopping by!

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