Homemade Playdough Recipe
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The Best Homemade Playdough Recipe

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Today, I’m sharing the homemade playdough recipe that I made for my kids 40+ years ago. My daughter teaches pre-school and uses this recipe as well. Kids love playdough!

I bet you can hear the squeals when you ask your kids and grandkids if they want to make it and then play with it, right? It’s every kid’s favorite thing to play with.

The nice thing about this recipe, you can make it with supplies you have in your pantry. If you aren’t stocking unsweetened KoolAid now, you may want to grab a few packets the next time you go to the grocery store.

You will want to choose several different flavors and colors so you can make several color varieties and store the playdough balls for your kids and grandkids. You will love how wonderful this playdough smells.

Today we made some green playdough for my daughter’s pre-school to celebrate the holidays. Of course, any color works, and you can have fun making different varieties for different holidays and special occasions.

For example, if you have a birthday party for one of your kids or grandkids, you could make the playdough match their favorite color. If we have a disaster, you can always make playdough for the kids as something to take their minds off of the challenges at hand and fill some time until things return more to normal.

Don’t forget the cookie cutters, they love playing with different shapes as they “play” with their playdough. Oh, and mini rolling pins are always a big hit!

My other recipe, How To Make Playdough

The Best Homemade Playdough Recipe

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Homemade Playdough Recipe

Step One: Gather Your Ingredients

Gather your ingredients. This is such a simple recipe! Four ingredients, plus the water, gotta love it!

Homemade Playdough Recipe

Step Two: Reminder-Use Unsweetened Kool-Aid

Here’s a reminder to buy only UNSWEETENED Kool-Aid.

Unsweetened Kool-Aid

Step Three: Boil the Water

Bring the water to a boil and set it close by to be used in step six.

Boil the Water

Step Four: Use Oil in the Mixer Bowl

I like to put the oil in the bottom of the mixer bowl because it helps keep the mixed ingredients from sticking to everything.

Homemade Playdough Recipe

Step Five: Add Dry Ingredients

Add the flour, salt, and KoolAid to the mixing bowl.

Dry Ingredients

Step Six: Pour Boiling Water on Dry Mixture

Next, pour the boiling water over the mixture in the mixing bowl. Be careful not to burn yourself with a splash!

Add Boiling Water

Step Seven: Beat the Ingredients

Beat the ingredients until thoroughly mixed. At first, it will look grainy and lumpy. Keep beating the mixture.

Homemade Playdough Recipe

Step Eight: Mix Until Thickend

As you beat the mixture it will look sticky, and then the mixture thickens up and is now playdough.

Homemade Playdough Recipe

Finished Product

Store the playdough in heavy baggies, pint-size mason jars, or airtight Tupperware-type containers.

Homemade Playdough Recipe

Homemade Playdough Recipe

5 from 3 votes
Homemade Playdough Recipe
Heidi’s Homemade Playdough Recipe
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
0 mins
Total Time
20 mins
Course: Activity
Cuisine: American
Servings: 6 kids
Author: Linda Loosli
  • 4-5 cups white flour, if it's too dry, it will be crumbly.
  • 1 cup salt
  • 6 tablespoons VEGETABLE OIL (other oils do not work as well)
  • 4 packages UNSWEETENED KoolAid
  • 4 cups boiling water
  1. Bring the water to a boil, place the oil in the bottom of your mixer. I do that to help keep the dough from sticking to the bowl. Add the flour, salt, and KoolAid to the mixing bowl. Next, pour the boiling water over the mixture in the mixing bowl. Beat until thoroughly mixed, it will look grainy and lumpy. Keep beating the mixture. It will then look sticky, and then the mixture thickens up and is now playdough. Store in heavy baggies, pint mason jars, or airtight Tupperware-type containers.

Where did Play-Doh start?

I quote, Wikipedia “Play-Doh is a modeling compound for young children to make arts and crafts projects at home. The product was first manufactured in Cincinnati, Ohio, United States, as a wallpaper cleaner in the 1930s. Play-Doh was then reworked and marketed to Cincinnati schools in the mid-1950s.”

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Is playdough different than modeling clay?

Playdough or Play-Doh as manufactured tends to crumble. This recipe is actually better than the original Play-Doh in my opinion because it doesn’t dry out as fast. Modeling clay is oil-based and is perfect for children older than 2-3 years old. Modeling clay is hard to clean up, it sticks to everything. Playdough crumbles and you can clean it up rather quickly.

What makes playdough so awesome for kids?

It’s extremely soft and is perfect for little fingers and hands, and it’s cheap to make. The clean-up is so easy. Some people think they need to buy the latest toy(s) or electronic gadgets to keep their kids and grandkids happy and occupied. I watched the group of kids at my daughter’s pre-school today as they got involved using her homemade batch of playdough. I was amazed at how they found creative ways to use the mixture, the shapes that came to life, and the easy time to clean it up and put it in various containers.

How long will the playdough stay soft?

If you store this recipe in an airtight container, it will last for months. If stored properly, you won’t be needing to make multiple batches of the playdough, just get it out of your storage area, pull it from the container, and away you go.

Do I need food coloring to make this recipe?

This is why I LOVE this recipe, the KoolAid not only gives us a yummy fragrance, but also color without having to use a whole bottle of food coloring. With the wide variety of colors/flavors available from KoolAid, you have so many choices to fit the occasion you have planned. It can be made more of an adventure if you get the kids involved in making it before they start playing with it. Double the fun from start to finish. It’s a win-win for me.

Can I make this Gluten-Free?

No, but you can use this Gluten-Free playdough recipe, The Best Gluten-Free Playdough Recipe

Final Word

Please let me know if you have made your own homemade playdough recipe, I would love to hear. Please be prepared for the unexpected, we must be ready for what comes our way. Stay safe, stay well. May God Bless this world, Linda

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  1. 5 stars
    Wish I had this recipe when my kids were little. The boys especially would have loved it. There sister was a girly girl and didn’t like getting herself messed up. Oh the tales I could tell about her but she would kill me if I did on a public site. She’s touchy about the stories.

  2. Kool Aid vs food coloring question. Does the Kool Aid stain hands, clothes, furniture when playing with the homemade playdough?

    1. Hi TB, great question, it does not stain anything. I used my hands to make the mounds for the picture, nothing green on my hands. We let the kids play with it on the kitchen table which is washable, with no stains. It’s a great recipe! Linda

  3. Interesting that the dyes in the Kool-aid did not cause any issues with clothing. I can remember the red dyes being almost impossible to get out of my son’s clothes when he was small and drinking lots of Kool-aid.

    1. Hi Terry, oh I remember the red food coloring and the red KoolAid, not good, it always stained everything. I will have to test the red KoolAid when I make it for Valentine’s Day. I guess anything is possible. Now I want to go make some Strawberry flavored play dough, not this week. Maybe next week. Linda

  4. My grandsons are gluten free, so I substituted with King Arthur 1:1 as you had recommended. However, the dough was extremely sticky and too wet. I kept adding more – and more – gluten free flour. In the end, I used twice as much flour as your recipe stated, but the play dough remained very sticky.. It seemed to me perhaps there was too much water. I wonder if the amount of water should be 2 cups instead of 4 cups? Please advise, and thank you.

    1. Hi Debbie, it’s 4 cups for sure. That’s interesting that it was still sticky with twice as much flour. The more you beat it the less sticky it becomes. I may have to buy some King Arthur 1:1 and try it myself. I know you can’t make bread with that 1:1 but you can make cookies and sweet bread. What elevation are you? I’m totally puzzled. Linda

      1. Ultimately, I added more gluten free flour, more oil, and more salt to achieve a pliable (but not sticky) dough. My grandsons loved it and played with it for hours! I will also check out the Trader Joe’s recipe you suggested – thank you.

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