With gift-giving season in full swing, I’ve been on the hunt for ideas for fun, inexpensive gifts my kids can give to their friends. I didn’t want to waste money on cheap, packaged toys that kids would soon break or throw away, or with more sugary sweets. Plus, my kids are in the ‘helping’ phase so they love having a hand in the things that I make or do. One of the things I loved playing with as a kid was play dough, so I set out to create our own recipe! This is the best homemade play dough ever!
It is so simple to create, and what kid (or adult) doesn’t love playing with it? We went with a Christmas theme for the holidays, by coloring our play dough red, green, and brown, and using fragrances that were seasonally appropriate. You could easily modify these elements to make this a year-round craft.
Why You'll Love Play Dough Recipe
• Essential Fun – This recipe incorporates essential oils, so playing with the dough can also be a great pick-me-up for kids. Eucalyptus is a great germ fighter, as cold and flu season is upon us. Peppermint is energizing and helps kids to focus. Plus they smell amazing!
• Ingredients you can trust – This fun dough is made entirely of ingredients you understand, and probably have lying around your house, so you can feel good about your kids playing with it.
How to Make Play Dough Sets
First, distribute warm water into 4 separate bowls. Each bowl will get ⅓ cup of water. Stir 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil into each bowl.
Next, you'll want to put food coloring into 3 respective bowls. The fourth bowl does not get any dye. Give each a stir.
Next, tickle those senses with some fragrances! Fragrance the dye mixtures with essential oils. Pine goes with the green dye, cinnamon goes with brown, peppermint goes with red, and eucalyptus goes into the plain bowl. I recommend 4-5 drops of oil per bowl, but you may want to start with less and experiment with how strong you like the scent. Add glitter, if desired.
Stir in 1 cup flour and ¼ cup salt into each bowl until dough forms. Adjust as needed, adding more flour if the dough is too moist, or more water if it is too dry.
Then you'll need to knead dough on a lightly floured surface for about 3 minutes, or until smooth.
Do this to all the dough colors and voila! You have homemade play dough!
Take a look at how pretty these are, and wait till you smell them!
You can also give these to friends. If packaging for gifts, it is a great idea to use themed cookie cutters, like these stars, and then wrap the dough in cellophane bags.
These are a fun gift for your children's friends too! Non candy, and a fun fine motor skills activity as well.
- 1 ⅓ Cup Warm Water
- 4 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil
- Food Coloring brown, green, red
- 4-5 Drops Pine Essential Oils
- 4-5 Drops Cinnamon Essential Oils
- 4-5 Drops Peppermint Essential Oils
- 4-5 Drops Eucalyptus Essential Oils
- 4 Cups Flour
- 1 Cup Table Salt
- Christmas Cookie Cutters
- Start by distributing warm water into 4 separate bowls. Each bowl will get ⅓ cup of water. Then stir in 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil and food dye into each bowl. One bowl will get green dye, another will get red, the third will get brown and the last will get no food coloring.
- Once you have your bowls of colored solutions, add about 4-5 drops of pine essential oil to the green solution, 4-5 drops of cinnamon essential oil to the brown, 4-5 drops of peppermint to the red and 4-5 drops of eucalyptus to the plain water solution. Feel free to use as little or as much scent as you wish.
- This is the time to add glitter if you want sparkly play dough. Adding it to the water will help contain the glitter for less mess.
- Now stir in 1 cup of flour and ¼ cup of salt into each of the bowls until a dough is formed. If too wet add a bit of flour or too dry add a splash of water little by little.
- Continue to knead on a lightly floured surface until dough is smooth. About 3 minutes. Use a cookie cutter to make it more fun!
- Enjoy with friends and family or even turn this into a gift for the holidays.
• Replace oils for your kid’s needs. If you’re making these to play with at home, as opposed to making them for a gift, you can add whichever essential oils your kid would most benefit from, as playing with this dough can be a great way to de-stress. Orange is great for the kid who had a bad day. A wellness blend would be nice for kids who have the sniffles. Lavender is a good choice for kids with anxiety. There are endless options.
• Store in an airtight container so that these do not dry out!
Looking for more fun activities for the kids? Try these: