You’ve probably seen those sensory clay kits selling for $25-40. Years ago, I signed up for a subscription and a few months in, realized I was spending way too much on playdough. There had to be a more affordable option, so I decided to try to make one. Years later, I’m a mom to a toddler and preschooler, and my kids love sensory jars and playdough. We use them at restaurants, on planes, and they keep my kids busy at home, too. These sets are always a hit and are a great way keep kids engaged and busy. This homemade playdough is soft and isn’t as beautiful as some of the ones that come with those fancy sensory kits (haven’t even tried to make it beautiful) but my kids love it. 


The Best Homemade Playdough Recipe and How to Make Sensory Jar


At first, I ordered a few little baubles and embellishments on Etsy to use with the store-bought playdough she already had. And sometimes, I do just buy dough. But I decided to try my hand at a homemade play dough recipe, with simple, natural ingredients. And it was so easy! just whip up a quick batch of playdough and put everything in 16 oz. airtight container – easier than storing in a huge box. My kids love sensory play and these mini sensory kits are great for playing at home or on the go. I use a mix of random pieces I find on etsy or at craft stores, and love my sister’s shop for sensory pieces

Sensory kits and jars are great for young children. They keep kids engaged and can be themed to whatever their interests are. These make for great party favors, too! Sensory kits are the perfect on-the-go toy, or are great for a rainy day. I keep some in mini jars to bring to restaurants – my kids love this fun sensory activity and for good reason.Small children love tiny things and these are always a hit. 


Here’s everything I used to make playdough sensory kits

Etsy is by far the best resource for baubles and embellishments for these sensory kits, but I’ve gotten a few things on Amazon, too. You can use your own store-bought playdough, but making it and coming up with custom colors was the best part. 


The best homemade playdough recipe

This is a simple recipe that uses simple ingredients from your local grocery store, and you only need a few things you have at home. I tried a few different recipes and played with ingredients, and this was by far my favorite recipe. 

4 cups flour
1 cup salt
8 tbsp. cream of tartar (two small jars)
4 tbsp vegetable oil
4 cups water
gel food coloring (just add one or two drops of food color to start)
optional: add essential oils for fun and seasonal scents

Mix the flour mixture in a large bowl.
Mix wet ingredients in a large bowl.
Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix the two together.
Cook playdough in a large pot over low to medium heat until mixture looks like playdough. 

Yes, this easy recipe is that simple. 

Remove from heat and let the mixture cool. It will feel a little gooey but will get better with a little kneading. Place the mixture in a plastic bag and add food coloring. I recommend wearing rubber gloves to avoid staining your hands, and kneading within the bag to contain the sticky mess vs mixing in the pot. Keep kneading until dough forms and then enjoy your homemade dough – it’s so much fun.

Place your own play dough in an air-tight container and add sensory pieces to the jar if you’re looking to make a sensory kit. 


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