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How to make playdough: 4 great recipes for you to try at home

Sensory fun for everyone!

By Rebel Wylie

Good old fashioned playdough is guaranteed fun for all ages.

Less messy than its home science counterpart – slime, playdough has long been a favourite of child care centres. But what many parents don't realise is how simple it is to make at home too.

Cooked, uncooked or cloudy, a good playdough recipe is something every parent should have in their arsenal.

How to make cooked playdough

Making playdough over heat gives you a great texture and stores easily for play later on.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1 cup salt
  • ¼ cup cream of tartar
  • 2 cup water
  • 2 tbs oil
  • food colouring

Method:

Place flour, salt, cream of tartar, water and oil into a saucepan and mix well over a low heat.

The playdough is ready when it begins to pull away from the side of the pan, forming a ball.

Remove the pan from the heat, and remove the playdough from the pan and allow to cool.

Once the playdough has cooled down to a comfortable temperature to touch, knead the dough until it becomes smooth.

Divide your smooth dough mixture into smaller balls for however many colours you would like to make. Using your finger, make a small indentation in the top of a ball and add several drops of the food colouring, begin kneading again, adding more colouring if you desire a stronger colour.

Repeat for each colour.

Hot top #1: Add a drop or two of your favourite essential oil for a great smelling dough.

Playdough is a fun sensory activity for all ages. *Image: Getty Images*
Playdough is a fun sensory activity for all ages. Image: Getty Images

How to make no-cook playdough

If you'd rather the kind of recipe that involves whacking all of the ingredients in a bowl and mixing, this one is for you!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1 cup salt
  • 1 tbs oil
  • 1 cup cold water
  • food colouring

Method:

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl, push the blended ingredients to the outer edges of the bowl, making a well in the middle.

Add the liquid ingredients and mix until well combined. Remove from the bowl and knead until smooth.

Divide your smooth dough mixture into smaller balls for however many colours you would like to make. Using your finger, make a small indentation in the top of a ball and add several drops of the food colouring. Begin kneading again, adding more colouring if you desire a stronger colour.

Hot tip #2: Playdough will dry out if left long enough so make sure to store it in airtight containers or Ziploc bags. Dried playdough can sometimes be revived by kneading a few drops of water in to soften it again.

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How to make playdough using conditioner

A quick and easy playdough recipe that will leave your skin feeling great!

Ingredients:

  • 800ml hair conditioner
  • 400g cornflour
  • Food colouring

Method:

Place ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.

Remove from bowl and knead until it feels smooth.

You can leave the food colouring out and add it later to divided amounts if you wish to make more than one colour.

Hot tip #3: Play with the ingredient amounts until you get the consistency you desire.

Hair conditioner play dough uses only three ingredients. *Image: Getty Images*
Hair conditioner play dough uses only three ingredients. Image: Getty Images

How to make cloud playdough

Light and fluffy, cloud dough is a sensory wonder and a favourite for all ages.

Ingredients:

2 cups plain flour
¼ cup oil (baby oil or canola oil both work well)

Method:

Place ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.

Remove from bowl and knead until it feels smooth.

Because this is an oil-based dough, regular food colouring will not work well. Try using chalk power to give it some bright, fun colour.

Light and fluffy, cloud dough is a favourite amongst kids of all ages. *Image: Getty Images*
Light and fluffy, cloud dough is a favourite amongst kids of all ages. Image: Getty Images

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