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Quick and Easy Homemade Playdough Using Healthy Ingredients

Victoria is a stay-at-home mom, author, educator, and blogger at Healthy at Home. She currently lives in Colorado with her family.


My kid loves playdough. Every year, someone manages to purchase him some from the store, and it comes in a variety of tubs and colors. I like playdough as it gives my toddler a chance to be creative, mold things with his hands, and discover what happens when he squeezes, smushes, cuts, smashes, and stuffs it in his hands and with his tools. He also learns about colors, sorting, and mixing colors. It's great stuff.

But at the same time, I don't like it smashed into my carpet, in all of the lines on my coffee table and dining table, on the floor so my infant and dogs can eat it, and in every nook and cranny of the house. That stuff drives me crazy. Too many times I've just tossed it all in the trash can. I hate it. I do. But boy does my little one love it and ask for it all the time.

So we came up with a recipe to make it ourselves. I still don't like it, but one bonus is that because it's made from good ingredients, and even dyed with natural food dyes, I don't mind my dogs, my toddler, and even my infant getting ahold of some and eating it. The all-natural ingredients are those that we would use in many of our recipes anyway, so it's not as big of a problem.

I think because it smells good and tastes good, my dogs get most of it before it can smash into the carpet, and don't leave much on the floor or table to worry about. It makes playdoh a little easier to cope with as somehow my toddler likes to spread it to the four corners of the house, from the kitchen table. Who knows!

Now you can have your own great playdoh recipe to make with your kids, and even better you can color it any way you'd like with the foods you already have in your refrigerator or pantry. Let's see how!

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

2 min

1 min

3 min

About a cup of playdough


  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup pink Himalayan salt
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup naturally colored water


  1. In a small pot on the stove, gently heat about 1 1/2 cups of water. Some will evaporate with heating.
  2. Decide what color you'd like your playdough and add a few tablespoons of the appropriate food item to the heating water. (See tutorial below.) We used blueberries.
  3. In a medium bowl, add all of your other ingredients and stir.
  4. When your water is ready, strain out the food item and pour about a cup of the colored water into your bowl. The longer you let it cook on the stove, the darker the color will be.
  5. Mix all ingredients together well and pour back into the heated pot.
  6. Stir over low heat, just until it starts pulling away from the sides of the pan. It maybe took ours about 30 seconds.
  7. Store in an airtight container or bag when not in use.

Flavoring/Coloring Your Playdough Naturally

There are so many great colors in the foods you already have in your kitchen, especially if you are willing to get creative. Check out your spice cabinet, your fruit and vegetable bins and even pantry for some pretty cool colors. Each these may need to be used in different concentrations (or amounts) to achieve the colors you are looking for, and the longer you cook your ingredients the stronger the color will be, meaning the more water that evaporates makes your color that much more concentrated.

See some of the best items for each color you are trying to achieve below:

  • Pink: strawberries, raspberries
  • Red: beets, tomato
  • Orange: carrots, paprika, sweet potato
  • Yellow: saffron, turmeric, onion skins
  • Green: matcha powder, spinach, broccoli
  • Blue: red cabbage + baking soda
  • Purple: blueberries, purple sweet potato
  • Brown: coffee, tea, cocoa
  • Black: activated charcoal

There's no reason why you can't have a variety of colors in playdough just like the store offers, but don't expect your colors to be quite as vibrant as the ones you'll find in the store. They achieve those radiant colors using chemicals and dyes. You will be using food. They will be beautiful, and the playdoh will likely be tasty nonetheless.

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Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures. My little one wanted to help, I had a baby on my chest, and it went so fast! I'll have to get some pictures next time when I have a little less help from both of my kids.

I love that my toddler was able to use it before it even cooled down completely and he really enjoyed it! I caught him putting it in his mouth a couple of times and didn't worry too much. I understand. It was colored with blueberries, which are his favorite. And if he and the dogs do end up eating it all, we can quickly make some more. Maybe next time I'll flavor it with carrots and broccoli.

It was still a humongous mess, and it's currently on top of the fridge to give mommy a break from sweeping, but he has a lot of fun playing with it and it's a hundred times better than the processed, neon-colored version, with all of the same perks as the regular playdough.

© 2018 Victoria Van Ness


Victoria Van Ness (author) from Fountain, CO on August 27, 2018:

Thanks Dianna! He's so used to being my model, he knows just when to pause so I can get a nice picture of what he's doing. haha

Victoria Van Ness (author) from Fountain, CO on August 27, 2018:

Thanks Dianna! He's so used to being my model, he knows just when to pause so I can get a nice picture of what he's doing. haha

Dianna Mendez on August 22, 2018:

What a sweet little fellow in the photo. Looks like he is really into the playdoh. I remember making it with students and the fun it was to use as learning tools.

Victoria Van Ness (author) from Fountain, CO on July 30, 2018:

Oh! I'm so excited. I can't wait to hear all of my son's childhood memories in the future. Thank you!

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on July 27, 2018:

Fantastic and what memories. My mom was a great cook and we did not really go after toy type stuff unless you count my Boy Scout utility knife and self made bows and arrows and a shovel or hammer.

She loved making this for me. I ate it I admit. and when rolled into a ball and set out for a day it was great for catch. Oh the snakes I devoured.

Thanks for this and my boy and I will have great fun making it.

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