Make Homemade Scented Play Dough

I love this play dough recipe because it come together quickly, and because even a toddler can help out with some of the steps. That means double the play: half the fun is in making it, and more fun is to follow once the play dough is complete.

The first part of the recipe is definitely a grown-up step, though. In a saucepan, combine the following:

1 cup water

1 cup flour

1/2 cup salt

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 tablespoon cream of tartar

Cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly. It will begin to stick together and pull away form the sides of the pan, and that’s when you know it’s ready. Knead a few times as the play dough cools down, adding a little extra flour as needed.

Once the play dough was cool enough for Veronika to handle, I divided it into two portions and set them down on wax paper in front of her. Now you can customize it, in terms of both scent and color! We made one portion that had a few drops of vanilla extract and red food coloring…

…and a second version that had almond extract and yellow food coloring. I was delighted to find that the recipe is incredibly forgiving, too. I accidentally spilled out way more almond extract than needed, and worried the dough would become sticky and unworkable. But with a little kneading, it was still just fine!

Veronika was involved in all these steps, first smelling the extracts, and then picking the colors. Then I invited her to get her hands right in there. “I’m getting red!” she said with delight, peeking down at her hands.

We’d already had so much fun, but now playtime could begin! Veronika quickly brought of lots of plastic toys, and delighted in seeing their footprints.

We decorated a play dough snowman, made play dough tea party cookies, and more.

You can store the play dough in an air-tight plastic bag so it doesn’t dry out between uses. That said, no sooner had I packed it away than Veronika was asking me to take it out again!

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