The Best Playdough Recipe for Perfect Playdough Every Time

Face Playdough mat
Fine Motor Control

A playdough recipe to make your life easier!

I have never met a child who doesn’t like playdough! However, I have met many teachers and teaching assistants who have had playdough disasters when making it, me being one of them. There is nothing worse than putting out beautiful balls of dough thinking that everything is just fine and then your children coming to you one by one with sticky fingers of dough. With just one look, you know that you’ve got a mammoth cleaning job on your hands and not just the children.

I found the playdough recipe below about ten years ago and I have never had a disaster since.

Mix all of the dry ingredients together.

Stir in the cooking oil.

Add food colouring to the cup of water.

Add the second cup of water and mix thoroughly.

Stir really well to remove as many lumps as possible.

Place in the microwave and cook for a total of 4-5 minutes, stirring after each 1 minute interval.

Don’t worry if yours takes longer as all microwaves vary. Allow the dough to cool, wrap in cling film and place in a sealed container in the fridge.

Click the picture above to get a copy for yourself

Playdough Recipe No Cook

Once I found the above recipe, I didn’t dare change a thing as I didn’t want to return to the disasters that I had previously. However, some of my colleagues who are braver than me did make an adaptation which doesn’t seem to affect the quality. Instead of adding cold water, they add hot water, making the playdough recipe no cook. Made in this way, you don’t need to microwave the playdough mixture.

Children will love to get involved with making the dough. Use the illustrated recipe cards below with the children. They will recognise the purpose of print and can use the illustrations to support with the playdough making process. This is an important step towards them being able to understand what reading is all about and towards them being able to do it for themselves.

Playdough recipes make playdough

Fine Motor Development

Playdough is great for developing children’s fine motor control. It allows them to use all of the muscles in their hands, developing strength and dexterity. It also helps with hand eye coordination giving lots of practice in the hands and the eyes working closely together. Both are skills that will be needed when a child starts to use a pencil to write. The more opportunity children have to play with playdough, the greater their pencil control will develop.

Dough Disco

Dough disco was invented by Shonette Bason Wood combines dough and music, making it even more fun. Every child is given a small ball of dough and are taken through different moves while yours or their favourite song plays. There are a whole range of moves that encourage children to get their fingers, hands and arms moving:

  • Squeeze it – Simply squeeze the ball of dough in each hand.
  • Squash it – Squash the dough flat.
  • Roll it – Roll the dough into a sausage.
  • Ball it – Turn the dough into a ball.
  • Pinch it – Use the thumb and first finger to pinch the dough.
  • Take each finger for a dance – Take each finger in turn to move around on the flattened dough as if dancing.
  • Dive into the playdough – Dive the fingers into the playdough, either one at a time or as a group.
  • Put your fingers on the dance floor – Take all the fingers for a dance on the flattened dough.
  • Play the piano – Use the fingers to play a piano
  • Make a pizza – Pinch the outer layer of a flattened piece to make a crust.
  • Make a dough-nut – Make a circular shape and push the finger through to make a hole.
  • Make a hat – Place the dough on top of each finger to make the fingers look like they are wearing a hat.

Children need to be encouraged to do the moves in both hands as this will support the left and right brain development as well as improve strength in both hands.

If you are not confident to deliver your own dough disco initially, there are a number of videos to get you started.

Playdough Pack

When children start school in September, they are often encouraged to think about themselves as this is likely to be something that they are most familiar with. The playdough mats below encourage children to think about their features as they need to use the dough to make eyes, noses, mouths, hair etc. They perfectly complement a topic on Ourselves.

The small cards illustrate a variety of techniques that the children can try. Once the children have mastered these techniques they can be applied to different projects in a range of ways.

Printable Playdough Mats
Playdough Techniques

If you would like to purchase the whole pack which consists of the adult recipe, children’s recipe, 7 faces and the playdough technique cards then click here.

Sensory Playdough

There are many different things you can add to your dough in order to make it a more sensory experience –

  • mint
  • lavendar
  • ginger
  • cinnamon
  • vanilla extract

and there are many more ideas out there.

Playdough and The Early Years Curriculum

The great thing about using dough is that children don’t even notice that they are learning because they are having so much fun. It can be incorporated into most areas of learning, depending on what you are doing. My free playdough cards support with a whole range of mathematical concepts – number recognition, matching quantity to numeral, counting, number formation, pattern, subitising and number sense. All you need to do is subscribe to get your free pack.