There is something very therapeutic about playing with play dough. With that said, I know play dough drives some parents crazy because no matter how hard you try you always seem to get it on the bottom of your shoes and track it around the house. But I feel the benefits far outweigh the mess.


The Benefits of Play Dough

  • Helps to strengthen little fingers, hands and wrists
  • It’s fun.
  • It is one of the best open ended  toys I know – playdough can be anything – food, animals, bowls, shapes etc
  • It helps to foster your child’s imagination.
  • It helps children develop self esteem -there is no right or wrong and the child has the opportunity to gain mastery over their environment.
  • It is a great release for tension or angry feelings – squeezing, punching, poking are all acceptable if done to playdough.

Things to Use With Play Dough

  •     Popsicle sticks
  •     Cupcake papers
  •     Small wooden or plastic animals
  •     Old muffin tins or baking trays
  •     Rolling pin
  •     Birthday candles
  •     Trays
  •     Plastic figurines
  •     Cookie cutters
  •     Plastic containers
  •     Old garlic crushers
  •     Leaves and twigs
  •     Plastic knives, forks and spoons
  •     Plastic tea set
  •     Old potato masher
  •     Colored matchsticks


Homemade Play Dough Recipe

This is my all time favorite play dough recipe – it does use boiling water so I usually make this dough without my daughter’s help.


  •     3 cups boiling water
  •     3 cups flour
  •     1 1/2 cups salt
  •     4  Tablespoons vegetable oil
  •     4 Tablespoons cream of tartar
  •     food coloring, optional (I’ve even colored my daughters playdough with a little beet juice)


Mix all ingredients except for the flour in a large bowl. Once well mixed, add flour. Stir continuously until the dough mix leaves the sides of the bowl. When well blended, remove from bowl and knead on floured board. Careful! The dough will be HOT – especially in the center. Until it cools, this is a job for an adult.  If the dough is too sticky, add more flour (I nearly always do).  At first it will seem undercooked, but as you knead and sprinkle with flour, you will find you have made a nice, soft play dough. Store in an airtight container. I never refrigerate my dough as putting it in the fridge makes it sweat and it goes sticky.

Things to Add to Dough:

  •     Glitter
  •     Rice for texture
  •     Vanilla or a few drops of essential oil for scent

This dough is non-toxic, but I would discourage children from eating play dough. (Of course it’s not edible with the added glitter or essential oils.)