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Sensory Play Dough Recipe

A batch of no-cook homemade sensory play dough takes about 10 minutes to create, and will give your kids hours and hours of entertainment and indoor play on bad-weather days.

No food coloring? No worries – plain white is beautiful and highlights the nature tid-bits better than colored dough will.

Oodles of recipes exist for playdough. Gluten Free, Salt Free, no-cook, stovetop slow cook.

I’ve tried quite a few, but in the end, I just go with the one that uses what I have on hand.

Sensory Playdough

I prefer to use Coconut Oil and much less salt that most playdough calls for. I keep it in the fridge, and only store it for a month before I toss it.

Without the salt it doesn’t last as long, but it’s not as drying, and all that lovely coconut oil makes for soft, moisturized hands!

Coconut allergy? Try olive oil.

Heading to the store for ingredients? Glycerin is that super special ingredient that makes for shiny playdough….but, I rarely have it on hand.

Sensory Playdough

Make Sensory Play Dough at Home

Sensory Playdough

Sensory Playdough


  • 4 cups flour
  • 4 Tblsps Cream of Tartar
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 2-3 cups of boiling water (add in at least 2 cups then up to 1 additional cup a bit at a time until the dough feels just right)
  • *optional* Food Coloring Options (pre-packaged food coloring, pure cocoa, tumeric or cinnamon)
  • *optional* Glycerin (5-6 drops for shine and a more silky texture)
  • *optional* Essential oils (for older kids past the taste-testing stage)


    1. In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients.
    2. On the stovetop, bring water to a boil. Add in the coconut oil. 
    3. Pour boiling water/ coconut mixture into the dry ingredients and mix with a heavy duty spoon. When it's too stiff to stir, let it cool a little, set it on parchment or an old cutting board, and knead until ingredients are well combined. 


Playdough is pretty forgiving. Feel free to mess around with it until you find the best ratio of ingredients for your family! 

If you are using a dry colorant like turmeric, add it to the dry ingredients. If you are using a liquid colorant, add it to the water after it boils. 

You may want to use kitchen prep gloves to keep your hands from staining until the colorant is thoroughly mixed in.

Add in the Glycerin and Essential oils near the end of the kneading process. Just a few drops will do! 

Store the dough in the refrigerator. Take it out an hour before play. 

Need More Ideas Beyond Sensory Play Dough?

We know that some days are just nearly impossible to get outside in. We’ve gathered some fun ideas to bring the outside, INside for special exploration. Check them all out here!

Bring the Outside Inside

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