The Best Recipe for Homemade Playdough (Without Cooking)


The Best Recipe for Homemade Playdough (Without Cooking)

I recently looked into the scientific research behind why playdough is so amazing for child development. Turns out there are a lot of reasons!

Not only is playdough great fun, it can also:

  • Aid a child’s social development
  • Boost their emotional development
  • Help with the development of their motor skills
  • Improve their mathematical and scientific thinking
  • Get their creative juices flowing
  • Help their senses develop

It’s amazing how much playdough can help your kid’s development!

Related: If you want to read more about the science behind why play is so amazing check out this post!

Because of this I decided to share a really easy recipe for homemade playdough without cooking.

It’s a recipe that’s cheap, easy and quick to make which produces a lovely soft and malleable dough. We’ve had loads of fun playing with it!

Before you make this wonderful dough, why not grab these cute and free fish counting playdough mats to help your little ones develop their early math skills in a fun, fishy way?

Printable Fish Counting Playdough Mats

The Best Recipe for Homemade Playdough Without Cooking

If you’d like to download the ingredients checklist and printable recipe (as well as get access to other exclusive freebies) click on the picture below.


This recipe makes a good sized ball of playdough – you could always double the amounts if you wanted to make more but I stuck with these measurements as I wanted to create a few different colours for my little boy.

What you’ll need:

  • 8 tbsp plain flour
  • 2 tbsp table salt
  • 1 tbsp cream of tartar (although you can replace it with a squeeze of lemon juice if you don’t have it)
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil (whatever you’ve got)
  • 55ml hot water
  • Some lovely food colourings
Ingredients to make homemade playdough without cooking
This was what I used. I just bought the own-brand versions and they worked great – no need to spend loads!

What you need to do:

Throw all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix them together.

In a different bowl mix all the liquids. How much food colouring you use is up to you, more will make a more intense colour (obvs). I added quite a bit to ours – you can always add a little bit later if you’re not happy.

Then pour the liquids onto the flour and mix it all together. You can use a spoon or your fingers, although it can be quite clingy at this stage so a spoon may be best.

This is the point where you can add some more colouring if you want. Make sure you get all the sticky little bits off the sides of the bowl.

When it all starts to come together (only after a minute or so) transfer it onto a flour-dusted surface. 

Now you have to knead it for a few minutes. This part is pretty important so keep going until you are really happy with the consistency. 

If it’s a little sticky still, add some more flour to the board and if seems too dry you can wipe it with a little more water. Don’t add too much though as a little goes a long way. You don’t want to be playing the water-flour balancing game (I played this before and lost)!

That’s it! See, I told you it was easy!

You should then store it in plastic airtight containers and it can last for at least 6 months if you don’t leave it out after playing with it. If it starts to dry up a bit you can add a little more water and knead it to keep it going for a while longer. 

It’s so simple to make though, that you can easily just whip up another batch!

The Best Recipe for Homemade Playdough Without Cooking – Some Tips

A lovely stack of homemade playdough
Here’s what the recipe for homemade playdough created

Well we’ve made the dough – that was easy, but if you want to make things a little more interesting you could try some of these tips:

Get your kids involved in the making process. You can teach them about weight and measurement and they’ll just love to get all messy! Plus, it’s great that they’ll be able to play with something they actually made!

Once you’ve finished making the dough you could use it to let your children develop their pre-writing skills. With these free playdough letter mats they’ll be able to practice their letter formation and recognition – all the way from A-Z! You can get them for free by clicking on the image below!

Free Printable Playdough Letter Mats From A-Z

You could also add scented oils or dried spices if you want a more sensory dough. These can be great if your child likes playing shops or bakeries!

If you want to make the playdough even more sensory you can also add different textures such as: 

  • rice 
  • lentils 
  • couscous 
  • sand 
  • sawdust
  • sea salt 

These will make the dough feel really different. If you make a couple different batches it can be great for language development as you can challenge them to compare and explain exactly how each one feels and how they are different from each other.

You could also introduce other elements into their playdough playtime – like buttons, sticks, leaves, stones, googly eyes, beads, feathers, marbles… you get the idea! 

Take Their Playdough Play to the Next Level With These Handy Tools:

Playing with playdough can be really beneficial for the development of fine motor skills. Your children will develop hand strength, dexterity and coordination just by fingering, mashing, smashing, molding and pummeling this soft, silky dough. 

But using tools can be a great way to take this even further – especially if they are at an age where they are learning to write. Here’s some ideas of a few implements you could add to their play:

Disclosure: Please bear in mind that as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you – this helps with running costs and makes this site possible.Thank you.

Well I hope you get to make some of this wonderful playdough and your children get to let their imaginations run wild and create all kinds of wonderful things.

If you enjoyed this recipe please share using the buttons below and if you want to join the Nurtured Neurons Family then you could also subscribe!

If you end up making this dough I’d love to hear how you get on, or if you have your own special recipe or any tips or tricks I’d love to hear them in the comments below. Thanks for reading and,

Let’s nurture those neurons!

Other Free Printables And Kid’s Activities You Can Do At Home:

5 2 votes
Article Rating

Leave a Reply

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
My Anxious Life
4 years ago

Absolutely love this, I’m definitely going to make this at home with my 4 and 2 year olds. We’ve always bought Play Doh but it never seems to last well and this is so much cheaper (and you get the fun of making it!)

4 years ago

I love making playdough rather than buying because it never lasts long anyways….My kids never put it away. Thanks for the recipe!

Hannah Read
4 years ago

Oooooh, this looks great! So easy to make and no costly ingredients – a winner in my books!

Tamra Elizabeth Cater
4 years ago

I didn’t even consider adding spices or other sensory additions! Cool idea! I do love your snail! 🙂

4 years ago

I’ve always loved playdough! And now I know how to make it in my own kitchen! Thanks for sharing.

4 years ago

Is it 8 tbsp of flour? That doesn’t seem like that much! Most call for cup fills of it!

3 years ago

So I don’t have tartar or lemon juice on hand, do I have to use those or is there something I can replace it with?

Nurtured Neurons

Access all the activities today