Easy home-made play dough (it’s OK to play with your food!)

When you’re stuck indoors all day long and you need something fun to keep kids occupied, a ball of colourful home-made play dough is always a hit. Tried and tested by Claire from our Words & Pictures Team, who makes this fun dough recipe when she helps at her son’s school, it’s ridiculously easy (and quite therapeutic) to make, and uses ingredients that bakers might have in their cupboards already. It’s also much cheaper than anything you can buy online!

Play dough, made in minutes

This ‘recipe’ comes together satisfyingly quickly, and you don’t need any fancy kit – just some measuring cups, a big mixing bowl, a jug and a wooden spoon. Children will love helping to measure and mix the dry ingredients (you might want to kit them out with an apron to keep their clothes clean), but they’ll need a grown-up to be in charge of mixing in the boiling water.

What you need

  • 2 cups plain flour
  • ½ cup salt
  • 2 tbsp cream of tartar
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 to 1½ cups boiling water
  • A little food colouring

What you do

  1. Mix the flour, salt, cream of tartar and oil in a big mixing bowl.
  2. Carefully measure the boiling water into a jug and stir in some food colouring, a little at a time – how much you use depends on the shade you’re going for. The more you add, the more vibrant the colour will be.
  3. Pour the water into the mixing bowl and stir until everything’s combined (it will still be sticky at this point), then leave until it’s cool enough to handle.
  4. Place the dough onto a clean surface and knead it for a few minutes, keeping at it until it feels ‘just right’ and is no longer sticky – you can add a little more flour if you need to.

And now for the really fun part!

Arm kids with a mat to work on and a cookie cutter or two, and this home-made play dough will keep them entertained for hours. Pop it in an airtight container and it’ll stay perfectly playable – and every bit as fun – for weeks and weeks.


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