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How to Make "Play Do" - Homemade Playdough Recipes

Cara is a mother of two young children and has taught second through fifth grade.

Making a dinosaur out of our Jello play-dough!

Making a dinosaur out of our Jello play-dough!

Learning With Playdough

Playdough is a great tool to use for instructional purposes. Not only does it provide a natural way for children to explore, but it also delves into using each of the five senses, provides an opportunity for conversation with your children, and practice with shapes, numbers, and letters.

By using cookie cutters that are different shapes, letters, or numbers, your child will be able to practice identifying these objects, build words, and explore her creativity all at the same time. If you decide to make your own playdough, it also provides an opportunity to learn vocabulary, math, and cooperation skills.

You will also use words like knead, ingredients, combine, mixture, and more. Children hear these words as you use them in real-world situations and will be far more likely to use and apply them on their own. This will help to build reading success. Studies have shown that the biggest indicator to reading success is the vocabulary base that a child has as they enter and continue through school.

Math concepts are shown as you measure and pour the various ingredients, children begin to have an introduction to the basic ideas of measuring, fractions, and even estimation skills. Imagine that all of this learning is hidden by fun!

The Five Senses and Playdough

Add in other forms of texture, smells, and visual effects to stimulate all five senses.



edible playdough; mix in m&ms, peanuts, oats


beads, string, people or animal figures


glitter, color


sound of cookie cutters, plastic scissors, tolling pins


Jello, various extracts to intensify the scents

Thinking about playing with playdough brings back such fond memories. Children of all ages delight in the opportunity to get creative with cutting, sculpting, and shaping various things out of playdough. We all know that you can easily go to the store to buy brand-name playdough. However, if you are looking to make large quantities of playdough and don't want to spend a fortune or are looking to create an opportunity to involve all of your child’s five senses, here are a few recipes to help you out.

Play-dough Tools and Supplies

Basic Playdough Recipe


  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil


Mix the flour, salt, and water in a bowl. Add a small amount of oil (this keeps the dough from hardening.) Knead the play dough a little then let the kids each take a turn.

You can use some of the variations in the table above to help you make the basic playdough more interesting. Why not add some brightly colored beads or some glitter? Or how about a drop or two of lemon or peppermint extract?

Edible Peanut Butter Playdough


  • One 18 oz. jar of creamy peanut butter
  • 6 tablespoons of honey
  • ¾ cup non-fat dry milk


Mix ingredients together. Knead it with fingers while forming the dough into desired shapes.

(For those with peanut allergies, try using soy nut butter.)

Jell-O Play-dough


  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ cup salt
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 (3 ½ oz. package) of Jell-O


Mix all ingredients together and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the consistency of mashed potatoes. Let cool and knead with floured hands until dry. Store in airtight container after the mixture is cooled.

Note: If you decided to make play-dough sculptures using this recipe, you will be able to paint them after they have air dried.

Using and Storing Your Playdough

Playing with your new playdough is very exciting. Break out all of the wonderful tools that you have to make the learning experience even more fun. You don't have to have anything fancy. Just a rolling pin, a plastic knife, match box cars, and some plastic action figures or animals can elicit a world of imagination in your child!

When you are ready to clean up your new creation, find an airtight container to store it in. This can be a plastic container with a lid or even just a zip lock plastic bag. As long as air does not penetrate to container, your playdough will stay fresh.

Gift Ideas

If you are looking for an easy and inexpensive gift to give to some young people in your life, why not make some playdough? Imagine their surprise as they open up the package and find that it is not just regular play-dough but smells like cherries or is mixed with beads. What a wonderful surprise for them!

Place the playdough in a decorative container and attach some cookie cutters with a ribbon. Your thoughtful gift will be a hit!


Kenneth C Agudo from Tiwi, Philippines on May 19, 2013:

wonderful ;-)

Denise Handlon from North Carolina on January 06, 2013:

My darling daughter, after all our (my) chats about the HOTD you sneak up and get one! LOL This is so perfect. You really must have been biting your tongue during our latest conversations. Congratulations! I'm so glad that something positive has fallen your way these last few days! Keep moving forward...

Mike Robbers from London on January 06, 2013:

That smell of playdough is directly associated with childhood memories :) This is fantastic, an uncooked recipe is great because younger kids can still participate in the whole process!

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on January 05, 2013:

Congratulations, awesome hub and video. Great work. Voted up.

Naomi's Banner from United States on January 05, 2013:

This is awesome! Enjoyed the way the children worked together to accomplish their task. So sweet! These recipes all seem very easy and it was obvious that the children enjoyed what they were doing. Thanks so much for this video. I can't wait to try this with my grandkids.

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on January 05, 2013:

this is so much fun. Homemade play dough is the best. Congratulations on hub of the day.:) Sending angels your way :) ps

Cynthia Calhoun from Western NC on January 05, 2013:

Thought I'd come back by and tell you CONGRATS on HOTD! It's cuz it's awesome!

CZCZCZ from Oregon on January 05, 2013:

Excellent Play Do recipe, I will have to forward this to my brother as my little nephew goes through Play Doh by the bucket fulls.

Sarah Johnson from Charleston, South Carolina on January 05, 2013:

It's about time this award-winning article got Hub of the Day! Congratulations!

Marissa from United States on January 05, 2013:

Excellent hub and tutorial! My kids would love the edible dough recipe. I'll have to try that one soon.

Congrats on the Hub of the Day!

RTalloni on January 05, 2013:

Congrats on your Hub of the Day award for this delightful hub. Your children are just precious and watching them make their playdoughs was fun stuff. Your tips for the playdough are helpful, especially about using it as a gift. Neat hub, for sure!

Stephanie Henkel from USA on January 05, 2013:

Congratulations on your hub of the day! Your kids do such a wonderful job of demonstrating making the play dough-the video is great. Adding the jello to the play dough mixture is a terrific idea for giving it color as well as scent. It's nice to know the kids will be playing with something where you know for sure that the ingredients are non-toxic. Great hub, voted up and shared.

cardelean (author) from Michigan on August 21, 2012:

I'm so glad that this hub gave you a little trip down memory lane belleart. Thanks so much for your visit.

belleart from Ireland on August 20, 2012:

My grandmother used to make play dough for me and my sister..this brings back soo many memories! :)

She'd use food colourings and let us at some of her baking stencils! Best times down at my grandparents home!!!

cardelean (author) from Michigan on July 01, 2012:

Thanks Mama Kim8, I appreciate your kind comments! The peanut butter recipe is great for a playtime activity that leads into a snack. And I'm sure your playdough hub is great! :)

Aloe Kim on June 30, 2012:

Wow what an amazing hub! It puts my play dough hub to shame!! ^_^ I love the recipe using the peanut butter I'll have to try it very soon.

cardelean (author) from Michigan on April 10, 2012:

Actually Melissa they got it from preschool. But I'm pretty sure that the teachers got it from Madagascar! Thanks for stopping by to comment.

Melissa A Smith from New York on April 10, 2012:

I'm guessing your children got their 'stirring theme' from Madagascar.

cardelean (author) from Michigan on April 10, 2012:

Thank you so much Purple Perl for stopping back by to congratulate me again. It really means a lot to me. Have a fantastic day!

Esther Shamsunder from Bangalore,India on April 09, 2012:

cardelean, it gives me great pleasure to congratulate you once again,on your Grand prize win. Truly well deserved,the video is just too good!

cardelean (author) from Michigan on April 09, 2012:

Thanks K9! I really appreciate your encouraging words. Afterall, like many others who entered the contest, I (along with my kids) worked very hard to put this together. Have a great Monday!

Hub Hugs back!

India Arnold from Northern, California on April 08, 2012:

What a perfect choice as the KIA contest Grand Prize Winner! So many outstanding contributions, it must have been a difficult vote! But, when all is said and done, the cream ALWAYS rises to the top; and here you are Cara, right where you belong! Wonderful job! I am so proud of you and impressed at the same time. VERY well deserved. Just goes to show you what a great attitude, hard work, and real talent can bring-- others could stand to learn a thing a or two, my friend!

Super well deserved Congrats!!


cardelean (author) from Michigan on April 08, 2012:

Fantastic acaetnna! I hope that you get a chance to try them out. So glad that you stopped by to read and comment.

cardelean (author) from Michigan on April 08, 2012:

LOL Mary! They often do! My son is quite the comedian and often keeps us in stitches! Food coloring will work but the jello makes it fun because of the scent. Thanks so much for the congrats.

cardelean (author) from Michigan on April 08, 2012:

Thank you Gail!!! I was so pleasantly shocked! We do have a lot of fun together! :) I appreciate you stopping by again to congratulate me. :)

cardelean (author) from Michigan on April 08, 2012:

Thank you so much cat on a soapbox, I appreciate your time in stopping to congratulate me! The kids and I had a great time working on it together!

cardelean (author) from Michigan on April 08, 2012:

Thanks luckykarma! I appreciate your kind comments of encouragement and compliments on my kiddos! Happy Easter to you as well!

acaetnna from Guildford on April 08, 2012:

Awesome, I had a great recipe for play dough some years ago but I couldn't remember the recipe. I am so pleased that I found this hub of yours. Thank you.

Mary Hyatt from Florida on April 07, 2012:

Congrats!!!!! This Hub is great. Your kids just stole the show. They are precious. I could watch your kids all day and listen to them sing. My kids and I used to make play dough, but I think we used food coloring instead of Jello. Congrats again.

Gail Sobotkin from South Carolina on April 07, 2012:

Wow!!!!! I just saw that this won the grand prize and I'm so thrilled because it's such a fantastic hub!!! Way to go Cara, Grace and Alex. You make a great team.

Catherine Tally from Los Angeles on April 07, 2012:

Congratulations on your well-deserved contest win! Your presentation is excellent,and your kids do a great job. The whole video comes together with clear instructions and proves how easy it is for kids to make and enjoy playdough. I love the gift ideas too!

luckykarma from Queensland Australia on April 07, 2012:

Hi Cardelean, Wow! you took me back with WOW and kept me there! deserve the prize and it is an inspiration for us all, you have beautiful children. Well done! Hapy Easter to you all!

cardelean (author) from Michigan on April 07, 2012:

Thanks Peggy! I think they are but I am a little biased. ;) They love cooking and in fact we've been doing a series of hubs about kids cooking so they have become quite the experts! They are just as excited as I am about the win. They have been telling everyone! I'm so appreciative of your kind comments, congrats and share. Have a great weekend!

cardelean (author) from Michigan on April 07, 2012:

No problem! Trust me, it happens to the best of us! :)

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on April 07, 2012:

Your kids are so cute and it is obvious that they are used to helping in the kitchen ( "I like to stir it, stir it" ) which is great. A big congratulations on the winning entry for this contest. Your kids must also be very pleased that they were the stars of the show. I'm still smiling after watching your video. Voted up, useful and tweeting.

Lenzy from Arlington, Texas on April 07, 2012:

OOps. Sorry about the spelling of video. I guess my fingers fell short of my brain speed. Lenzy

cardelean (author) from Michigan on April 07, 2012:

LOL, yes it is a little deceiving. Thanks so much for your comments. We had a great time making the play dough and the video. They keep asking when we are making more!

cardelean (author) from Michigan on April 07, 2012:

Thanks so much! I really appreciate the congratulations! I appreciate your kind feedback and the sharing with others!

Lenzy from Arlington, Texas on April 07, 2012:

I was wondering about how a playdough recipe hub would be a big winner. Now I know why. You did a great job in engaging all of the senses and you and your children did a wonderful job on the vido. Super job. Lenzy

sunbun143 from Los Angeles, CA on April 06, 2012:

Am I the first to find out? Other than you, I hope....CONGRATULATIONS on your grand prize win for the know-it-all contest! I am so happy for you and am glad the winning hub was a great how-to having to do with kids...I am biased because I am always looking for fun and educational ideas to do with my son, and this is PERFECT! Congrats again and thanks for the hub! Will be sharing...

cardelean (author) from Michigan on April 06, 2012:

Thanks Purple Perl. I appreciate your kind comments. I hope that parents are able to try some of the recipes with their kids!

Esther Shamsunder from Bangalore,India on April 06, 2012:

Beautiful children to a creative mom! I enjoyed this hub! Excellent for all parents.Congrats on a useful hub!

cardelean (author) from Michigan on March 22, 2012:

We had a lot of fun making it. Thanks for your comments.

Danette Watt from Illinois on March 21, 2012:

I remember making play dough for CJ when he was little. I think it's a great activity for kids and also a great thing for kids to play with. As you said, there are all sorts of learning kids can get from playing with play dough

cardelean (author) from Michigan on March 20, 2012:

Thanks, I appreciate the congrats and kind words anglnwu!

anglnwu on March 20, 2012:

Had fun watching your kids do the demonstration in the video--very cool. Congrats on your win--well-deserved.

cardelean (author) from Michigan on March 20, 2012:

Thanks Melvoy. It's really just something I've started working on. With each one I learn a little more. The jello makes the bright colors and smells sooo good too! Congrats on your win last week. It will be a race to the finish line!

cardelean (author) from Michigan on March 20, 2012:

They will love it, let me know how it goes. Thanks so much Alissa!

cardelean (author) from Michigan on March 20, 2012:

You did know that Gail! So funny that you asked that because when I found out I told the kids and told them that we'd have to do something special with our winnings! Thanks for stopping back by.

cardelean (author) from Michigan on March 20, 2012:

Thanks Steph! My kids and I had a great time doing the whole project. Thanks for the congrats, same to you! I am in great company in regards to the winners!

Yvonne Spence from UK on March 20, 2012:

Congrats on the weekly win!

I am in awe of your video-making skills - and your play dough making skills. I made play dough when my kids were little, but didn’t get such amazing colours that you have, and I’ve never heard of peanut butter play dough before.

Alissa Roberts from Normandy, TN on March 19, 2012:

What a fantastic hub! I never knew there were so many fun recipes for making play dough. Definitely going to have to try one with my boys. Love the video - your kids are precious! Congrats on your win!

Gail Sobotkin from South Carolina on March 19, 2012:

Just learned this hub is a winner (but of course I knew that the first time I looked at it).

Are you going to share the winnings with the little stars?

Stephanie Marshall from Bend, Oregon on March 19, 2012:

I am soooo inspired by your how-to video! Not only by how easy this awesome play dough recipe appears to be, but because I have not used the video feature in a hub yet! Wonderful job! Congratulations on the win, too. Best, Steph

cardelean (author) from Michigan on March 19, 2012:

Yes Mary my kids had a blast making it and continue to have fun playing with both kinds of the playdough! Thanks for the congrats, it was a wonderful surprise!

Marcy Goodfleisch from Planet Earth on March 19, 2012:

Those kids in your photos look like they're having a ball! I wish I'd known about these recipes when my kids were little; they'd have loved every minute of messing with the goo.

Voted up, useful and interesting. And congratulations on winning one of the weekly awards for the competition!

cardelean (author) from Michigan on March 15, 2012:

LOL, yes they LOVE the camera! I'm glad that you found it useful and well written. Hopefully it will inspire other teachers or parents to create this for their students or kids.

Dianna Mendez on March 14, 2012:

When I was a preschool teacher, we made playdoh in the classroom as a science experiment and it was always hit. Playdoh is such a great sensory experience for children. Love your video, your kids are so adorable and very good actors. Great hub topic, well written, enjoyable and useful. Vote way up!

cardelean (author) from Michigan on March 14, 2012:

Wow Maddie "frickin' fantastic!?" I guess that means you liked it. :) Thanks for your super kind comments. We love spending time together and I have super awesome kids. LOL, isn't that song great? They came home one day singing that after making cookies at preschool. Now it's sung with EVERY stir of the spoon!

cardelean (author) from Michigan on March 14, 2012:

We have great fun in the kitchen randomcreative! Glad you enjoyed it.

Maddie Ruud from Oakland, CA on March 14, 2012:

This video is frickin' fantastic! Not only does it illustrate how to make the play dough, but it also demonstrates your wonderful parenting! I hope others learn, not only from your recipes, but from the encouragement you provide your kids.

P.S. I like to stir-it, stir-it, too!

Rose Clearfield from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on March 14, 2012:

Awesome video and great recipes! Your kids are wonderful kitchen helpers.

cardelean (author) from Michigan on March 14, 2012:

Thanks Mom, I look forward to hearing more about what you have to say! ;)

cardelean (author) from Michigan on March 14, 2012:

Yes Doc, I really didn't bribe them to look like they were having fun, lol. All of the enthusiasm is genuine!

cardelean (author) from Michigan on March 14, 2012:

I hope it brought back some good memories for you GDRshop!

cardelean (author) from Michigan on March 14, 2012:

You're welcome pippap. I'm glad I was able to take you for a trip down memory lane!

cardelean (author) from Michigan on March 14, 2012:

It was fun! My mom used to make peanut butter play dough for us too and we had a great time eating it. We never added anything to it that I can remember though.

cardelean (author) from Michigan on March 14, 2012:

Great question! I let it cool in the pan for a couple of minutes. It was still too hot for kids but ok for me to handle for another couple of minutes. Thanks, I must have been a baker in another life! :)

cardelean (author) from Michigan on March 14, 2012:

I love having you as my fan Gail! :) Thanks for the votes up and I know I would love that as a gift if I were a kid.

Denise Handlon from North Carolina on March 14, 2012:

Outstanding teamwork shown in these two videos. Voted up and across. I have much more to say, but I'll save it for when I visit. :)

When are you posting these 'cooking with kids' tutorials on YOutube???????

Glen Nunes from Cape Cod, Massachusetts on March 13, 2012:

Great video! The kids are obviously genuinely having fun.

GDRshop on March 13, 2012:

i used to do this a looooonnng time ago =)

pippap from Surrey, BC on March 13, 2012:

Brought back memories of making playdough for my kids. Thanks.

Cynthia Calhoun from Western NC on March 13, 2012:

Beautiful! What fun! I used to make peanut-butter play doh when I was a kid for the sole purpose of eating it. :D What a fun hub for parents to share with their kiddos.

Rachel Vega from Massachusetts on March 13, 2012:

Fun! How long does it take to cool? Cute video and you knead like a pro!

Gail Sobotkin from South Carolina on March 13, 2012:

Bravo! Bravo! Loved watching Grace and Alex in this wonderful how-to video.

This is an awesome hub with so many ideas for fun activities with "Play Do".

Also loved the gift idea at the end of the hub. Can't imagine any kid who wouldn't like getting this "Play Do" in a bright colored pail.

Voted up across the board.