One of my earliest memories is making play dough in kindergarten. Actually, my earliest memory is trying to eat the play dough we made. My classmates and I would take turns trying it and I remember we loved it.
My kids are no different. When they see play dough they want to eat it but conventional play dough has a very strong chemical smell and I was really worried about having it near my children, especially around my youngest because she will try to eat anything that crosses her path.
About a year ago I came across Eco Kids and Wee Can Too and loved it. They make non-toxic play dough (as well as other things like finger paint) and I started buying it for my oldest. She spent a great deal of time playing with it while I nursed my newborn.
These are her favorite:
Now that my second kid is one and trying to eat the play dough I decided it was time to make my own. I worry less when she’s playing with stuff I’ve made and although this play dough is not meant to be eaten, if she tries it I wouldn’t worry too much since there isn’t anything toxic in it.
Natural play dough is not only easy to make but if you have older kids they can help you make it. My 3 year old loves helping me prepare it and once it’s ready both my girls play with it together. It’s a perfect way to keep them entertained for hours!
It is also very cheap to make which works out great because my kids love mixing the play dough and we end out with one giant brownish ball every time. So once they mix it all together and don’t want to play with it anymore we usually get rid of it and make a new batch.
Natural play dough recipe
You have to use these ingredients for each color play dough you want to make.
- India Tree Natural Decorating Colors
- 1 cup organic flour (I usually buy the Whole Foods store brand)
- 1 cup water
- 1-2 cups organic cornstarch
- ziplock bags (you will need one bag per color play dough you want to make)
- 1 tbsp. cream of tartar (I personally haven’t added this but my friend swears it prevents the play dough from molding. Our play dough doesn’t last long enough for us to be concerned about mold.)
- 2 tbsp. salt
Mix dry flour, cream of tartar if you’re using it, and salt together in a bag. Make one bag of dry ingredients for each color of play dough you’ll be making. So if you’re making 3 colors, you will need to mix those ingredients in 3 separate bags.
Bring 1 cup of water to a boil over medium heat. Add in the food dye. Start by adding a little bit and keep adding until you have the color you want.
Once you’re done mixing the water and food coloring, transfer the colored water into a ziplock bag with the dry mixture and seal it. It will be hot so make sure you just set it aside and wait for it cool.
Repeat these steps for each for each additional color you want to make.
As it cools, mix the flour mixture and colored water in each ziplock. I usually just mix it around with a spoon.
Once it’s cool, remove the mixture from the bags one at a time. Beware, it will be sticky.
Place the mixture in a bowl with one cup of cornstarch and mix well.
Now start adding the second cup of cornstarch, little by little, until the play dough is no longer sticky. Make sure you keep mixing the dough while you’re adding the additional cup of cornstarch. You might not need to use that entire second cup, which is why you should mix it in slowly.
You can also use flour if desired, but cornstarch will make the play dough incredibly soft.
Note: If the play dough is still hot when you do this step it may get really sticky. Wait until the mixture in the ziplock bag is completely cool before proceeding to the cornstarch step to avoid one big sticky mess.
Once you’ve done this with each color the play dough is ready.
Give it to your little ones to play and sit back and relax!