Natural & Non-Toxic Play Dough Recipe
This natural and non-toxic play dough recipe is perfect for young children. I have included two different recipe options – a traditional cooking method as well as a no-cook method. The no-cook way makes ultra-soft play dough that will last for months if wrapped up and stored in the refrigerator.
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What you need for natural & non-toxic play dough recipe
- 1 cup flour (or gluten free flour)
- ½ cup salt
- 3 teaspoons (1 tablespoon) cream of tartar
- 1 cup water
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (coconut oil, olive oil, etc. also work)
- Natural food coloring such as turmeric, matcha, or cinnamon can be used. I have also used herbal teas to dye and scent play dough (see my Smelly Play dough Recipe to see how to do this).
- Spatula and/or spoon
- Combine the dry ingredients (flour, salt, cream of tartar and turmeric [optional]) in a bowl.
- If you are using a pot, pour the liquid ingredients in and bring them to a light boil. (Alternatively, you can use boiled water from a kettle and pour the oil and food coloring in with the dry ingredients and then slowly pour in boiling water while stirring).
- Take the pot off the stove and slowly pour in the dry ingredients, and stir them in.
- Allow the play dough to cool down and then knead the ingredients together, ensuring that the dough is smooth.
- Mix the flour, salt and cream of tartar (turmeric optional) in a bowl.
- Pour the liquid ingredients (water, oil) into a pot.
- Slowly pour in the dry ingredients and mix until a smooth paste forms.
- Place the pot on the stove on low heat, stirring until a ball forms. Be careful not to cook for too long as the mixture will become dry quickly.
- Allow the ball of dough to cool for a few minutes and then take it out and knead it until it is smooth.
Questions to ask
- How does it feel?
- What can you make?
- Show me how you can pinch it, push it, squeeze it, pull it, squash it, etc.
- What do you notice?
- What are you using to play with it? What does it do to the play dough? Would you like to try anything else?
What they get from it
Making play dough with children is an excellent way for them to learn basic cooking skills. They can measure ingredients, mix them and also see a chemical reaction take place (through the heat of cooking). Playdough is fantastic for developing manipulative and fine motor skills. It helps build strength and dexterity, which are essential to prepare children with the skills needed for writing.
Take it further
‘Dough Disco’ on YouTube can be a fun option for children who need extra strengthening and fine motor skills development.
Children can use playdough to build and sculpt different objects using their imagination and creativity.
It’s nice to add loose parts such as flat glass beads, sticks, leaves, pebbles, cupcake papers, beads, containers, stamps and more, allowing children to make a wide range of different creations. You may want to see some of my posts on loose parts, including Find Out What is Loose Parts Play and Benefits of Loose Parts Play.
You may also want to see my posts on enhanced playdough recipes such as Aromatherapy Playdough, Deliciously Smelly Playdough Recipe, and Pumpkin Spice Playdough Recipe. I also have some alternative play dough recipes such as Homemade Playdough without Salt and Edible Homemade Cloud Dough Recipe.