Marissa Gallant
Youth Education Manager

If you have preschool age children at home, chances are you go through a lot of playdough. Next time you find yourself out of your favorite colored dough, save some money, reduce your waste, skip the store, and try this simple no bake playdough recipe.

Playdough provides many creative play and learning opportunities for your little ones. It is the perfect consistency for improving hand strength, which translates to important school skills including holding a pencil and using scissors. It also provides a creative outlet, is the perfect accompaniment to many preschool themes, and can even be used as a visual math tool to help with comparing, adding, subtracting and fractions.

 You will need:

  • Measuring cups
  • Food coloring
  • Mixing bowl
  • Mixing spoon
  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ cup salt
  • ½ cup water
  • Gloves (optional)

To begin, gather your supplies. Set out your mixing bowl and measuring cups.

Combine 1 cup of flour, ½ cup of salt, and ½ cup of water and mix well. You will need to use your hands once the dough starts to form. Continue to knead until everything is mixed. If your dough gets too sticky, add some more flour. Too dry? Add more water.

Once your dough is fully mixed and is the right consistency, get ready to add some color! Remove your dough and leave all together or split up into a few sections to create multiple colors.

Make a small indent into the center of each ball of dough and add your desired colors. For pastel colors add 2 to 3 drops of food coloring. For bright vivid colors you may need 6 to 8 drops.

Knead each of your balls of dough until the food coloring is entirely mixed. Try creating your own shades by mixing dyes and experiment with primary and secondary colors. The food coloring can temporarily stain your countertops or hands so wear gloves if you want to limit your cleanup time.


Once your colors are filly mixed, your playdough is ready for use! For added fun, create permanent sculptures or shapes using your dough. Place on a backing sheet with parchment paper and bake in the oven at 200° until the dough has hardened. Thin pieces may take 30 to 45 minutes while thicker pieces may take up to 3 hours. Make sure you don’t burn your masterpieces and check in on your sculptures every 20 or 30 minutes.

When you are done with your dough for the day, put it in a Ziploc bag or a mason jar to prevent it from drying out. Store in your refrigerator to keep it fresh even longer. Your recipe will last up to 4 weeks!

Have fun!