Make Perfect 10-Minute Play Dough at Home

Homemade Play Dough | Southwest Michigan Kids

We have a love-hate relationship with play dough in our house. The kids love it; I hate it. It will keep them busy for hours, which is awesome, but then someone has to pry smoothed play dough off the surfaces of our house and that person is always me. Plus our 2-year-old wolfs it down on the sly, and what are the ingredients in store-bought play dough anyway? I'd rather not know.

Enter Pinterest and its multitude of at-home play dough recipes, some with hair conditioner and cornstarch, others colored with Kool-aid, all quick, easy and conveniently made with stuff in your cupboards and cabinets.

My favorite recipe is one made with cream of tartar, flour, salt and water on the stovetop, but we are out of cream of tartar. I had to find a new version to make today to busy those little idle hands while I got some stuff done around the house.

This recipe does not make the soft cloud-type play dough, but it feels pretty darn close to the stuff you can buy at the store. Give it a try and let us know what you -- and the kids -- think.

Homemade Play Dough | Southwest Michigan Kids

10-Minute Play Dough

Makes: four golf-ball sized chunks


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1/3 cup table salt

  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

  • 3/4 cup water

  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar (or lemon juice)

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

  • food coloring

  • essential oils for scent (optional)


- Dump all the ingredients into a pot on the stove and heat over medium heat, stirring constantly until combined and the dough pulls away from the sides of the pan to form a ball, about 3-4 minutes

- Remove play dough from pot and let it cool on the countertop for a minute or so

- Divide into four even balls and add food coloring, then knead until combined

- If using essential oils, use 1 drop per ball


- Kids can help with dumping the ingredients into the pan, adding food coloring and kneading the dough

​- Keep in an airtight container (save those old play dough cans or baby food containers)

Adapted from Stay at Home Educator

Homemade Play Dough | Southwest Michigan Kids

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