Last Updated on June 29, 2021 by Sarah
Looking for a super easy homemade playdough recipe without cream of tartar?
This 5 minute homemade playdough is better than the real thing in my view. My Little Lady agrees (which is what counts, as she’s 6 and I’m well ‘mmm’ quite a bit older!)
Anyway, me and my Little Lady recently got stuck into some half term slime experiments and one was a homemade play dough recipe without cream of tartar (you can of course add cream of tartar if you want for extra elasticity, but to to be honest, I’m not sure how many of us naturally have it knocking around in the cupboard?) We don’t anyway!
This simple (but very effective!) homemade playdough works fine without it and uses just 4 ingredients you’ll almost certainly have kicking around:
- food colouring (if you don’t have any in the house, you can still make the homemade playdough, it will just be an off white, beige colour)
- salt (optional, as a preservative)
As well as being loads of fun, I find playdough a bit of a creative play rockstar – it’s got so many great benefits for young kids – my top 5 favourites are:
- Develops fine motor skill development: all the squishing and squashing is great for strengthening little ones muscle tones and also helps dexterity in their hands and fingers – an essential area of physical development for writing, drawing and other skils.
- Helps kids learn – playdough is a great introduction to simple science, maths and literacy – helping kids to explore explore shapes and problem solving and even simple letter or number formation.
- Helps social and emotional development – kids love to talk about and show you what they’ve made, plus playdough can be a great soothing tool for kids to safely let off a bit of steam with some energetic kneading and rolling.
- Encourages creativity and imagination – playdough is a real winner for make believe and free, open ended play, which is so often lacking in a lot of today’s one dimensional branded toys.
- Helps develop hand-eye-co-ordination
Playdough Fun Fact!
Did you know Play-Doh was first sold as a wallpaper cleaner? (I’m serious!) People used it to remove soot and dirt from their wall by rolling a piece across the surface. It didn’t actually become available as a toy until 1955, when they also introduced colour. Who’d have thought!
Bizarrely, I’ve avoided making homemade playdough until very recently – I think I assumed it could never be a contender for the real thing.
It’s so much more naturally squidgesome (not a word but it should be) than the real thing and it literally takes minutes to rustle up a lovely batch of colourful, tactile, super sensory play dough.
Another big benefit is that kids can make it with you (like this edible paint).
It’s a simple no-bake recipe too, so there’s no heating involved.
Here’s how to make it in 5 minutes (or less!):
Easy homemade playdough recipe without cream of tartar
Ingredients for your homemade playdough
- 2 cups plain flour
- half to one cup warm water
- food colouring
- 2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil (or any sort of edible kitchen oil)
- half a cup of table salt (this is optional, but acts as a preservative and adds a bit of extra texture and body to the dough)
How to make your homemade playdough
Step 1 – Add the flour, oil and salt (if using salt) to a mixing bowl and stir
Step 2 – Add a few drops of food colouring to the cup of warm water.
Note: the actual play dough will end up a slightly lighter shade than the water, so if you want a rich coloured playdough, add an extra drop or two.
Although the intention here obviously isn’t to tuck into (and eat!) your playdough, if you’re still not keen on using run of the mill food dyes, which usually contain a host of artificial ingredients, you could try making your own natural food colouring with this recipe from Bigger Bolder Baking. Otherwise Wilton are a popular brand that give good results.
Step 3 – Add a couple of tablespoons of coloured warm water to your bowl and start kneading. Slowly add more water as required until you get a playdough consistency.
I added too much water the first time I made a batch of homemade playdough, so I recommend starting slowly with the water and working up. You’ll soon get a feel for the right consistency when you’ve made a batch or two.
Knead the dough for a couple of minutes to get a good and pliable ‘non sticky’ consistency. If the dough feels too sticky still just add in a bit more flour and give it another knead.
Step 4 – Wash and repeat for your next batch
So there you have it – an easy homemade playdough recipe without cream of tartar. There are of course a bunch of other homemade playdough recipes out there – but I’m a big fan of keeping things simple – especially when it works as good as this.
How long will my playdough last?
Left out your playdough will start to harden after a day or so (ours started to lose its vibrant colour a bit too), but if you pop your homemade playdough into small plastic containers and store them in the fridge, they should last a few weeks, especially of you add the salt.
Although with a recipe this simple, making a new batch from fresh only takes a few minutes. And most kids love the sense of achievement of playing with something they’ve made themselves too.
Ideas for added creative ‘playdough’ fun
For some added creativity (and sensory fun for toddlers), you can also grab a container and fill it with bits and bobs that your child can use in conjunction with the playdough.
This can help open up a whole new world of possibilities and creative play for little ones.
Some things we’ve used with playdough in the past include:
- plastic shape cutters
- shells or small pebbles
- leaves, twigs and acorns
- googly eyes
- pasta shapes
- small fir cones
- miniature figures and animals
- flamingo cocktail sticks (these are obviously a bit sharp so need to be age appropriate if used, but my Little Lady loved poking these into squidgy playdough)
- colourful beads
I hope you have fun with this easy homemade playdough recipe without cream of tartar and wish you much happy squidging and creating…
Drop me a comment below if you try and it and let me know how you got on.