Make the day more fun with this super simple Playdough Recipe. It only requires two ingredients, you can make it in minutes, and it’s a great sensory activity for the kids to do at home!

pink ball of homemade playdough

Playdough Recipe

Keeping kids occupied and engaged can often feel impossible and while I’m fairly mess averse when it comes to kids activities, I do love giving my kids the opportunity to get their hands messy at times.

And yes, we do buy playdough, but making it at home is a fun and new activity for most kids—that sort of doubles as a science experiment too!

TIP: You can make this with added color or plain—however suits you!

Uncooked Playdough

This recipe uses cornstarch so there’s no need to cook it. This means you don’t have to do much prep work to have this activity ready for the kids. I like to have a big container of cornstarch on hand to use in this activity.

ingredients-in-playdough-recipe

Ingredients You Need

To make this homemade play dough, you’ll need the following ingredients. (And yes, I realize that using conditioner is pretty random, but this is a great use for an old bottle of something you might have in the bathroom closet!)

  • Cornstarch
  • Hair conditioner
  • Optional: Food coloring

TIP: You’ll need to add a bit of water to the dough too, but otherwise, you really only need the two main ingredients!

playdough-in-mixing-bowl

Step-by-Step Instructions

Here’s a look at the simple process involved in making this recipe. Scroll down to the bottom for the full information.

  1. Add the ingredients to a large bowl. (Big is better here to prevent the cornstarch from getting all over the counter.)
  2. Start to knead with your hands, slowly adding water until it forms a dough. It will take a few minutes to make the dough come together.
  3. If the dough seems too dry or stiff, add a few more drops of water.
  4. Add food coloring if desired and play!

TIP: The consistency should be similar to playdough when it’s ready, with a slightly lighter overall feel.

playdough-in-sensory-bin

Can I make this cornstarch playdough with my kids?

Sure! I recommend putting the ingredients into a big plastic bin and letting them make a mess as they help you make it. When we do it, I usually make the dough, then divide the batch in half and let each of my girls knead in their color of choice.

toddler-hands-with-pink-playdough

Can I do this project with a baby?

It is a little messy so you’d want to try to wait until the kiddo is old enough not to just put everything into their mouths, but I started doing this with my littlest one when he was 13 months and he loves poking it! (I usually skip the food coloring in the part I give my little one simply because his hands are harder to wash.)

How do you make playdough without cream of tarter?

This recipe doesn’t use it at all, so you won’t need to worry about it! (It’s not something I ever have on hand either.)

How to Store Homemade Playdough

To save this to use again, place the playdough into a plastic storage bag, remove as much air as possible, and seal. If it feels a little stiff the next time you go to use it, knead in a few drops of water until it softens up.

playdough-in-storage-bags

Best Tips for Success

  • Add the water slowly and work it in like you were kneading bread until you have a soft ball of dough.
  • If the dough is still crumbly, continue adding a small amount of water at a time.
  • Add food coloring to make it colorful or leave it out. (It will get onto the kids hands, but a bath will take care of any that seems hard to get off!)
  • Use conditioner with a neutral scent or choose something unscented.
  • I’ve also heard that a lot of people have had success using body lotion instead of conditioner.
  • To store, place the playdough into a plastic storage bag, remove as much air as possible, and seal.
  • If it feels a little stiff the next time you go to use it after storing it in a bag, knead in a few drops of water until it softens up.
  • You may also like Salt Dough Ornaments, Graham Cracker Houses, and Master List of Free Kids Activities.

I’d love to hear your feedback if you try this recipe! Comments are very useful in helping more people to find my content, so I really appreciate each and every one.

pink-ball-of-homemade-playdough
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5 from 2 votes

2-Ingredient Playdough Recipe (Without Flour!)

Use any natural conditioner with a scent you and the kids don't mind, or use an unscented one. This makes enough for two kids to play with, so you can divide the recipe in half to make a smaller amount. (This is not edible.)
Prep Time10 mins
Total Time10 mins
Course: Play
Cuisine: N/A
Yield: 2 balls
Cost: 5

Materials

  • 2 cups corn starch
  • 1/2 cup hair conditioner
  • food coloring (optional)

Instructions

  • Add the cornstarch and the conditioner to a bowl.
  • Mix together with your hands and gradually add 1/2-1 cup water as you mix and knead until it forms a ball of dough.
  • Add 1-3 drops of food coloring to color the playdough if desired. (The food coloring will get on hands as its mixed in, but it will wash off eventually!)
  • Play!

Notes

  • Add the water slowly and work it in like you were kneading bread until you have a soft ball of dough.
  • If the dough is still crumbly, continue adding a small amount of water at a time.
  • Add food coloring to make it colorful or leave it out.
  • Use conditioner with a neutral scent or choose something unscented.
  • I've also heard that a lot of people have had success using lotion instead of conditioner.
  • To store, place the playdough into a plastic storage bag, remove as much air as possible, and seal.
  • If it feels a little stiff the next time you go to use it after storing it in a bag, knead in a few drops of water until it softens up.

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Comments

    1. For a few days you can. Store in a plastic storage bag and seal, removing as much air as possible.

  1. Wanted to share this recipe with my virtual families but in the description narrative and directions on the “recipe card” it says “add water” This recipe calls for cornstarch and hair conditioner. No water??? Confusing to read. Will have to share another site’s recipe.

    1. Water isn’t always listed as an ingredient in crafts or recipes since it’s assumed that everyone has it, and it’s simply added in Step 2 after you add the other ingredients, but I appreciate your feedback.