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Playdough Recipe and Activity Ideas

This is the recipe that we use in nursery. We cook our dough however there are some non-cook dough recipes available online. The children love making this with us in school so they will be expert helpers at home! Playdough is a great play activity for strengthening finger muscles and for developing fine motor skills.


Playdough Recipe

1 and a half pounds of flour

1/2 pound of salt

8 tablespoons of cream of tartar

1 and a half pints of water

2 tablespoons of cooking oil


You can add some food colouring if you would like a certain colour (not essential).




1. Weigh out all ingredients using scales.

2. Add your dry ingredients first- flour, salt and cream of tartar.

3. Next add your wet ingredients- water, oil and food colouring if desired.

4. Mix as you add.


Now its time for the Adult job:

5. Cook the mixture on a low heat and continuously stir the pot.
6. When the mixture is becoming hard to stir, tip out onto a chopping board as food colouring may stain your counter. The mixture will be very hot so be careful.

7. Knead the mixture until it resembles soft playdough. Add additional flour if it is a bit sticky.

8. Leave to cool before playing with it. Have fun! :)



Simple Play dough recipe BBC



This super-easy playdough recipe is the perfect way to spend a rainy afternoon inside. It's quick enough to hold a young child's attention and you only need a few store cupboard ingredients. Little hands can play with the results straightaway, so there's immediate gratification for all involved! 


Makes 1 coloured ball
Prep 10 minutes



You will need

  • 8 tbsp plain flour
  • 2 tbsp table salt
  • 60ml warm water
  • food colouring
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil 




1. Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl mix together the water, a few drops of food colouring and the oil.

2. Pour the coloured water into the flour mix and bring together with a spoon.

3. Dust a work surface with a little flour and turn out the dough. Knead together for a few minutes to form a smooth, pliable dough. If you want a more intense colour you can work in a few extra drops of food colouring.

4. Store in a plastic sandwich bag (squeeze out the air) in the fridge to keep it fresh.







When your playdough is ready, please don't worry about needing lots of playdough tools and cutters at home. The children usually love playing with the dough by itself- rolling it, stretching it and exploring how it feels.


Why not look around the house and see what you can find? In school we add feathers, buttons, children's knives and forks, straws, shells, pipe cleaners, real baking trays etc.



Here are some links to additional online playdough resource ideas:




Information on the benefits of playdough play: