Play Dough: Homemade With Natural Ingredients

Posted on Jan 27 2014 - 9:11pm by megganmamma

It can be really hard flying long haul with a toddler.  Joshi (almost 22 months) is full of beans and loves being active.  Of course he does – he’s got the whole world to explore!  While that’s wonderful, it doesn’t bode well for being confined on a long-haul flight.  

This week we’re flying 14.5 hours from Australia to South Africa, followed by a two hour transit and then another 1 hour hop.   Plonking him down in front of a movie or ipad is not an option for us because we’re those crazy “no-telly for kids” type parents.   So,  just in case he gets a bit of the old cabin fever, I’ve been busy putting together a bag of goodies for him.  I’ve loved doing it and I’m pretty excited about pulling it out on the plane. 

Today, inspired by my friend Jane’s suggestion, I decided to make some homemade play dough to add to the bag.  I really like the idea of making my own play dough and knowing exactly what’s gone into it – then I don’t have to be concerned when he starts chowing it down.

Joshi loved it.  He played with it for at least an hour.   So did we.   I’m sure he’d have played longer, but when he started making play dough rocks to throw around the apartment I took it away…  hopefully he won’t want to throw it across the airplane cabin.

Happy play-dough-making friends!

Play Dough Recipe


  • 2 cups flour (I went with white unbleached)
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1 cup salt
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 Tablespoon cream of tartar (powder)
  • food coloring (I went with natural)
  • a few drops of essential oil (I chose rosemary)


  • Put all the ingredients (except the color and essential oil) in a pan on a low heat and stir continually.
  • After 10-12 minutes the mixture starts to dry and peel away from the sides of the pan.  If it’s still sticky, cook for longer.
  • Allow the dough to cool enough so that you can handle it and then give it a good kneading, adding a few drops of colouring and essential oil (I used 6 drops of oil and then split my play dough into 3 batches adding 4 drops of colour to each).

Apparently the play dough lasts for months, so long as you keep it in an airtight container and in the fridge.

play dough

Hmm, what do we have here?


play dough

Cookie-cutters add to the fun


play dough

You can make a few different colours but don’t expect them to stay separate


play dough

Where did his neck go!


play dough

The ‘Nigella’ shot


play dough

Of course he tried to eat it


play dough

Not his favorite snack – salty essential oils


play dough

Love the concentration


play dough

A rolling pin adds to the fun – preferably a kiddie-sized one rather than this huge one


play dough

All packed and ready to throw around the plane


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4 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Jane January 28, 2014 at 12:48 am -

    Love it!!! So much fun for all the family. Don’t worry about it getting thrown around, once it dries you can just vacuum it up.

    I had green play dough rubbed into my cream carpet and now there is no sign of it. (I guess it may depend on the type of colouring you use!)

    Enjoy the fun and the trip xxx

  2. Stephanie February 25, 2014 at 1:32 am -

    At last! I used to make this 30 odd years ago for my children, and have been looking for the recipe so that I can make it for my Grandkids..Thank you!!

  3. Bron March 18, 2014 at 4:48 am -

    I have to make play dough but all i have is flour, salt, oil and water.. i made the dough left it in the fridge and the next day it was liquid, what am i doing wrong, my daughter needs it for school tomorrow. 18/3/14.

    can any one advise.

  4. Trisho March 28, 2014 at 4:00 am -

    Sooooooo CUTE 🙂