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Toddler Talk: DIY Play Dough

Play dough and toddlers—it’s something that transcends generation and gender as a childhood staple.

But rather than run out and buy pre-made play dough from the toy store, I’m about to share the best recipe I’ve ever used to make a homemade version. (And, shhh, it’s an even better consistency than the pre-packaged stuff.)

Not only is it easy and entertaining (a good afternoon project on a rainy day!), it’ll save you money—especially considering you probably have most ingredients in your kitchen.


4 cups flour

2 cups salt

4 cups water

4 tbsp. cream of tartar

6 tbsp. vegetable oil

Food coloring (I use the color gels found at craft stores because they have such strong color pigments.)


1. Cook ingredients over medium heat

Add all of the ingredients into one big pot (which toddlers can easily help measure and dump), and continuously stir on the stove. Keep stirring until it stiffens up, although it’ll still look lumpy.

2. Knead the warm clay

Transfer the play dough to a bowl and knead until it’s soft and smooth. (If you’ve never kneaded soft, warm clay, you don’t know what you’re missing.)

3. Play!

This recipe makes a pretty big batch, but it comes out so perfectly soft and squishy that I wouldn’t mess with the measurements too much. (And extra homemade play dough makes excellent birthday or holiday gifts.)

After making this, I swear you’ll never buy the store-bought stuff again.

And the kids wouldn’t want you to.

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