Fine Motor Activity, play, sensory play, Uncategorized

How to Make Playdough

Playdough is a very popular sensory medium that can be used for so many different play experiences. Whatever the theme of your play, playdough could be incorporated into an activity.

Create sculptures, press it into shapes, letters, numbers, run toy cars over it to see the tyre prints, roll it out to make snakes, bake it to make beads, hide dinosaurs in it pretending they are fossils, press flowers into it to make potion stones, build landscapes that have never seen before and bring things only seen in dreams to life.

So how do you make playdough? There are many different recipes and techniques to make playdough. At the end of the day, there aren’t too many differences between them all.

Personally, I prefer to make it in the Thermomix (lets be honest, it’s less effort with doughy hands) however you can easily make this recipe on the stove top or even in a bowl using boiling water.

The secret is to dissolve the salt. You get a much smoother result.

Here is the basic recipe we use adapted for each cooking method:

Bowl – No extra heat

1 cup of boiling Water (from the kettle works)

1/2 cup Salt

1 tablespoon Cream of Tartar

2 cups of Plain Flour

2 tablespoons Olive Oil

1. Place the water, salt and cream of tartar into a heat proof bowl. Stir until dissolved.

2. Add flour and olive oil. Mix until combined then knead until smooth.

Usually I use just normal salt however when I went to take these step by step photos, I realised we didn’t have any so I used Himalayan Pink Salt instead- hence the colour!

Edit: The pink salt batch was quite crumbly when fresh out of the fridge which is strange for this recipe. The kids still loved it but I will probably stick with normal sea salt from now on!

Stove Top

1 cup of Water

1/2 cup Salt

1 tablespoon Cream of Tartar

2 cups of Plain Flour

2 tablespoons Olive Oil

1. Place the water, salt and cream of tartar into a medium saucepan on medium heat. Stir until salt and cream of tartar are dissolved. Remove from heat.

2. Add flour and olive oil. Mix until combined then knead until smooth.


250g Water

100g Salt

1 tablespoon Cream of Tartar

250g Plain Flour

20g Olive Oil

1. Place the water, salt and cream of tartar into bowl 6min/ 60 / speed 3

2. Add flour and olive oil 40s/ speed 4. Knead on dough function 1 minute.

From here you may add colours, glitters, scented oils, herbs or spices.

Food colouring can transform your nude dough to a soft baby pink or a vibrant green.

Add a subtle shimmer with fine glitter or disco it up with some chunky glitter!

Add another sensory element to your playdough – a scent! You could use oils or raid your pantry! Spices and aromatics such as cinnamon, rosemary, thyme, sumac, nutmeg and ginger could all take your playdough to the next level.

You could add textures to your dough with rice, grains of wheat or barley, gumnuts, beads or sand.

Here I have added blue colouring and some blue glitter (I have a beach themed scene in mind for the upcoming school holidays)

Why not play with it straight from the fridge when it is cold and firm or pop it into the microwave to make it warmer and pliable?

Playdough can be used for open ended or structured play. Set a challenge for your children or let them create their own journey.

Either way, the small muscles in their fingers and hands will be working hard with every roll, squeeze, push, pinch or squish. Playdough is amazing for building up fine motor strength!

We keep ours in the fridge either in a zip lock bag or a snap lock plastic container. At the moment we have a few batches on the go. One of them we made at the beginning of the year and it is still lovely and soft.

If you haven’t made playdough, please don’t be scared- it’s so easy and such a brilliant sensory medium.


Dani D x

Disclosure: This Blog does contain affiliate links which I may earn a small commission from if you purchase through them, at no extra cost to you.

Biome Eco Stores - Zero Waste, Toxin Free, Ethical Choices

Free Delivery on all Books at the Book Depository

Check out this range of resources to use with your playdough!

28 thoughts on “How to Make Playdough”

  1. I need to try and do this one day! My kids are older, but they still enjoy playing with Play Doh. I’ve never attempted to make it on my own.


  2. My little sister would always make playdough in school when she was younger and it was perfect. Kids are funny and put everything in their mouth. At least the ingredients were safe so if that was to happen, it wouldn’t be as big a panic.


  3. My mother used to make this and give us as kids. We had done quite a few models with that. Unfortunately despite our best efforts to maintain them they collapsed after a few years.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.