Crafts for Kids: Homemade Play Dough

colorful clay image by Karin Lau from

Things You'll Need

  • Large bowl
  • 3/4 cup salt
  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 3 3/4 cup water
  • Air-tight container
  • 2 packages flavored drink mix
  • 3 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 cups baking soda
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • Pan
  • Spoon
  • Plate or cookie sheet
  • Kitchen towel
  • Fine sandpaper
  • Tempera paint
  • Paintbrush

Entertain your children or have them practice their measuring skills by making homemade play dough. This inexpensive activity uses everyday ingredients you already have in your kitchen cabinets. Children can follow a simple salt dough recipe or experiment with making colored play dough. You can also make dough that will allow the clay creations to harden so they can be painted. Homemade play dough lasts for weeks, and when it begins to get too sticky or crumbly, you can whip up a new batch. Recipes can be doubled for children to make at a party or in the classroom.

Salt Dough

Mix 1/4 cup salt and 1 cup flour in a large bowl.

Pour in 1/4 cup water, a little at a time.

Knead the dough with your hands until it is stretchy.

Add more flour if the dough is sticky. Add more water if the dough clumps together.

Store the dough in an air-tight container.

Colored Dough

Mix 2 1/2 cups flour, 1/2 cup salt and two packages of flavored drink mix in a large bowl.

Add 3 tbsp. vegetable oil and 2 cups boiling water.

Stir the mixture until it begins to cool and form a dough.

Knead the dough with your hands until it is stretchy.

Store the dough in an air-tight container.

Hardening Dough

Mix 2 cups baking soda, 1 cup cornstarch and 1 1/2 cups water in a pan.

Heat the pan over medium heat until it boils, stirring constantly.

Remove the mixture from the heat when it begins to thicken. Remove the mixture from the pan and set it on a plate or cookie sheet.

Cover the mixture with a damp kitchen towel and let it cool.

Spread cornstarch on a table and place the dough on it. Knead the dough with your hands.

Let finished creations air dry to harden them. Turn them every 12 hours to allow all sides of the clay object to harden.

Smooth the clay creation with fine sandpaper.

Paint the clay object using tempera paint, if desired.


  • Ensure that the dough has cooled before kneading it with your hands to prevent burns.