Homemade playdough recipe (taste-safe and baby friendly)

What is a childhood without playdough?! Have you been considering introducing it to your baby, but you’re worried they’ll just eat it since everything they get their hands on ends up in their mouth?

I think we can all remember the taste of playdough. Eating it seems be a right of passage for most kids. Commercial playdough, though, contains preservatives, fragrance, lubricant, and several other synthetic ingredients that are certainly not designed to be consumed.

We know you’re time-poor and possibly sleep-deprived, so the thought of making it yourself isn’t very appealing. We totally get it, so that’s why this recipe contains simple ingredients that you probably already have, plus it’s super easy to make. There is no cooking involved and takes about five minutes to prepare – but provides hours of fun!

While it’s non-toxic and taste-safe, it is preserved with lots of salt, so your baby hopefully won’t like the taste of it anyway. Always supervise your little one with playdough, as with anything they can put in their mouth, it can be a choking hazard.

Homemade playdough recipe (taste-safe and baby friendly)

This playdough recipe makes one small batch, so feel free to make two or three batches at a time if you want multiple colours or you have older children who are keen to join in.


½ cup of boiling water

½ cup of plain flour of choice

1 tsp cream of tartar

¼ cup of salt

1 ½ tsp of oil of choice (vegetable, olive, or melted coconut)

3-4 drops of food colouring (optional), or see ideas below for making natural dyes



  1. While waiting for the kettle to boil, combine your dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Pour boiling water into a measuring jug and add food colouring.
  3. Add the oil to the water, and slowly stir into the bowl of dry ingredients.
  4. Continue mixing until it forms a ball.
  5. When it’s cool enough, you can knead it on a floured board or bench. If it’s too sticky, add more flour and a couple of drops of oil. If it’s too dry, add a little more water until you get the desired consistency.
  6. Store your playdough in a ziploc bag or airtight container in the fridge.

Ideas for natural dyes for playdough

If you’re feeling creative, or you’d just rather not use artificial food colouring, here are some natural alternatives to making your playdough colourful:

  • Turmeric creates a vibrant yellow colour. Add ½ to 1 tsp of the powder to the boiled water in Step 2.
  • Matcha green tea creates a delicate, natural green colour. Add 1-2 tsp of the powder to the boiling water in Step  2.
  • Blueberries create a beautiful pastel purple/pink colour. Instead of boiling the kettle, boil the water in a saucepan, adding a small handful of blueberries and simmer until the water changes to a deep pink/purple colour. Strain off blueberries (you can give them to your baby once cool) and use the water as you would in Step 2.

Tips for playing with playdough

There’s no need to go out and buy plastic playdough cutters and accessories. Instead, to inspire their imagination and provide a wonderful sensory experience, you could use some of the following loose parts:

  • Nature-inspired playdough: Go for a walk in the garden and pick flowers, leaves, and herbs to play with in different ways. Pinecones, sticks, and shells are also fun parts to add to playdough.
  • Food-inspired playdough: Get out some kitchen utensils, dried pasta, jar lids, cupcake cases, and cookie cutters,  to mix things up and challenge their creativity.
  • Random materials playdough: Simply add any of their toys or household items. For example, blocks, plastic animals, egg cartons, milk bottle lids, straws, hair combs, and toy cars.