How to Make Play-Doh for Kids


Children love to create sculptures out of Play-Doh, but because it is not oil-based, it has a tendency to dry out easily. Since pre-made cans of Play-Doh brand dough can be costly when purchased in larger amounts, many may opt for non-drying, oil-based clay. Unfortunately, oil-based clays are often petroleum-based and more toxic than Play-Doh. Luckily, play dough, similar to the brand-name product, can be created very easily at home, and can be made in larger batches to ensure that your children will have enough play dough to last them through many sculptures.

Things You'll Need

  • Flour
  • Salt
  • Water
  • Food coloring
  • Bowl
  • Rubber gloves
  • Newspaper
  • Plastic wrap
  • Combine 2 cups of flour and 1 cup of salt in a large bowl. Use a spoon to mix the two ingredients together thoroughly. Gradually drizzle in 1 cup of water, and use your fingers to mix the substances together well. This is an opportunity for little children to help out in the process of making the dough. Continue to mix the substances with your hands until the mixture becomes elastic and smooth.

  • Lay out sheets of newspaper on a flat surface, such as a kitchen table or counter top. Place the dough onto the newspaper. Put on rubber gloves to protect your hands, and put rubber gloves onto any child that will be working the play dough. Press in the middle of the dough, and add 10 drops of your favorite color of food coloring. Squeeze the play dough between your fingers to completely incorporate the food coloring into the dough. Form the play dough into a ball. Wrap the dough ball in plastic wrap until use.

  • To make more colors, repeat the entire process, making sure to combine two parts flour, one part salt, and one part water. Incorporate 10 drops of a different color of food coloring into the dough. This process can be used to create the entire rainbow of play dough colors. Homemade play dough will dry if left out in the air, so make sure to always wrap it in plastic wrap before and after use.

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  • Photo Credit colorful clay image by Karin Lau from salt image by Andrey Rakhmatullin from coloured clays image by Joe Houghton from
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