Classic Play Dough Recipe (no stove needed!)

Child playing with play dough - cook - createPlay dough is an absolute classic play recipe and was a definite favourite in my own childhood.

This version of the recipe was given to us by a lovely Kindergarten teacher. It’s quick and easy to make using basic kitchen ingredients. We love this recipe because you don’t need to cook it on a stove top and it lasts for ages (some of our batches have lasted more than a year!) 

You can make the basic recipe even more interesting by adding extras such as dried lavender, glitter or even spices. We make a ‘Christmas’ version by adding red and green glitter and a couple of tablespoons of ginger! It smells very ‘Christmassy’.

Child playing with play dough and dinosaurs - cook - createSo soft to play with and easy to use, play dough is great fun for kids (and adults!). Your kids might like to squish it, roll it into long strips and practice using scissors to snip pieces off, shape it into little play scenes or anything else they can think of. Play dough cupcakes are always a popular choice at our house!

Mr 2 currently loves rolling out balls of play dough into long strips then drooping them over his pouting top lip like a moustache. He thinks it’s pretty funny to leave dinosaur footprints and mini car tracks in the play dough too.

Depending on the age and interests of your child, you might like to set out items such as cookie cutters; buttons; plastic dinosaurs; pipe cleaners; googly eyes; cupcake cases; flowers; shells; or other items from nature and let them get creative.Play dough cupcakes and dinosaurs






Classic Play Dough (no stove needed!)


  • 2 cups plain (all purpose) flour
  • 1 cup salt
  • 2 tablespoons cream of tartar
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 ½ cups just-boiled water
  • Optional extras such as: food colouring, glitter, spices, crushed lavender, rosemary or lemon zest.


  1. Combine flour, salt, cream of tartar together in a large bowl.
  2. Add vegetable oil and mix through.
  3. Add in any extras at this stage, such as food colouring and glitter.
  4. Add just-boiled water and mix through. An adult will need to do this step and you may need to allow mixture to cool slightly before getting littlies involved.
  5. Stir ingredients together in the bowl to form a dough, then tip it out and knead for a few minutes. The food colouring should distribute more easily though the dough during kneading. Then, you’re ready to play!


This recipe makes approximately one kilo (2.2 pounds). It can be halved to make a smaller batch or split the full mixture between two bowls to make two different colours.

Cream of Tartar can be found in the baking section of supermarkets. You can leave it out of the recipe, but the play dough won’t last as long.

If your mixture is too sticky, add a little more flour.

If your mixture is too crumbly, add a little more oil.

If stored in an air tight container or zip lock bag as soon as you’re finished playing, your play dough should last for months. Some of ours have lasted more than a year!

Before storing, ensure play dough has completely cooled to avoid it going mouldy.

Keep in a cool, dry place and avoid storing in the refridgerator as the moisture in the fridge can make the play dough go mouldy.

Play dough with items such as lemon zest added may not last as long as a batch of the basic play dough.

Keep a close eye on littlies if using buttons or other small items that might present a choking hazard.

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