Simple and Fun Homemade Playdough Recipes and Making the Most of It

Playdough is one of the simplest and most versatile tools you can give to children. You can also make it yourself with a few common household ingredients if you aren’t the type to settle for the store-bought version. Here are a few simple and fabulous (child-care tested!) recipes and some extended ideas on how to create new experiences from an old favourite.

Method One: The Basic Brew


  • 1 cup of flour (whatever kind you have on hand)
  • ¼ cup of salt
  • ½ cup of water
  • 3 to 5 drops of natural food colouring


  1. Mix together the flour and the salt.
  2. Mix together ½ cup of warm water with a few drops of food colouring.
  3. Slowly pour the water into the flour mixture, stirring as you pour. Stir until combined, then knead with your hands until the flour is completely absorbed. If the dough is too sticky, add more flour until it doesn’t stick at all.

Method Two: The Lasting Impression


  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1 tablespoon cream of tartar
  • Food colouring
  • Saucepan
  • 1 cup flour


  1. Combine water, oil, salt, cream of tartar, and food colouring in a saucepan and heat until warm.
  2. Remove from heat and add flour.
  3. Stir, then knead until smooth. The cream of tartar makes this dough last 6 months or longer, so resist the temptation to omit this ingredient if you don’t have it on hand.
  4. Store this dough in an airtight container or a Ziploc freezer bag.

Now What?

You have a squishy lump of dough that is definitely edible according to your toddlers, but what else can you do with it?

Here are 5 simple ideas you could try with just things you find around the home and garden!

1. Add an essential oil or essence

Lavender, peppermint, vanilla, coconut, chamomile… whatever you love the smell of, is safe for consumption and will be a wonderful sensory experience that will leave a lovely smell in the playroom afterwards.

2. Use dried herbs and spices to add a little

Rosemary is a personal favourite of The St Clare staff as we have so much growing in our garden. Parsley, coriander, cinnamon, paprika, gum leaves and oregano are great additions for touch, taste and smell and it adds a hint of a homely kitchen to role play experiences.

3. Shells, stones and sand, oh my!

Think beach, without so much mess! Take your children on a beach hunt and let them pick up all those little bits and pieces that we parents may often accidentally ‘lose’ on the way home. Make some dough and off you go! Children love to squish things into other things and the perfect combinations of hard, soft, gritty, smooth, slippery and crunchy add so much flair to such a simple task. Who knew those bits and pieces could be so useful!

4. Sticks and stones may… look like an echidna?

Head into the backyard or down the local park and pick up some sticks and bark and rocks. Take your playdough and voila! This is an experience worth sharing with your child. Look at pictures of wild animals (Aussie animals have particularly interesting features) and try to recreate those funky shapes.

5. Cooking with dough

Get out your pots and pans, measuring cups and spoons and remember, play dough is edible (though not to our taste…) and comes off like any other dough! While you bake your children can too! Ask them to measure out quantities, practice rolling, press into shapes and use their scientific knowledge to adapt into cooking experiences. Don’t be afraid to get a little messy and add a few ingredients to create an authentic experience. The memories are definitely worth capturing on camera.

At St Clare Group, we always prioritise the health of children, which reflects in the nutritious meals we prepare for them during the day in our childcare centres. Moreover, we created a lot of fun and simple recipes for parents and children to try because we also believe that children should best learn through playing. For more information about our group philosophy, please contact our educators.

Other simple and fun recipes: