Best. Play Dough. Ever.

If you’ve followed Charley’s Circus on Instagram for any amount of time, you’ve probably seen our favorite thing to make in the kitchen – Play Dough!! That’s right, move over gluten-free cookies and brownies, we love mixing up a pan of homemade play dough.


Many parents wonder when is an appropriate time to introduce the childhood magic of play-dough. Most child experts would recommend waiting until your child stops putting eeeverrryyythiiiiing in their mouth, which varies from child to child but is generally around age 2. Since Charley was old enough to play, we’ve enjoyed using this recipe for the BEST PLAY DOUGH EVER. It’s soft, it lasts forever, it’s easy to make, it smells good, AND IF your kiddo decides they want a taste after all, it’s non-toxic too! We’ve literally never bought Play-Doh from the store because it just doesn’t compare.


  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup salt
  • 2 tsp Cream of Tartar
  • 1 TBSP Vegetable Oil
  • Food coloring (optional)
  • Child-safe Essential Oil (optional)
    (Our favorites are Lemon or Lavender!) 

There are many variations of this recipe floating around the internet, but I originally found the recipe on Pinterest thanks to this mom’s awesome blog –>

We decided to add essential oils to our recipe to give it a little something extra.


  • Add flour, water, salt, cream of tartar, and vegetable oil to a sauce pan and mix well over low to medium heat using a spatula.
  • If you choose to, add food coloring and essential oil of choice once dry ingredients begin to moisten.
  • Continue stirring, making sure dough doesn’t get too hot, until it begins to stick together. *hint – sometimes the color changes in the areas where it’s finished, this will be a clue it’s almost done!
  • Remove dough from pan and place on wax paper or a plate, and let cool.
    • Note – It may be sticky, but don’t worry! Once it cools and you work it in your hands, the texture will be perfect!
  • Store in a sealed container. It will last months and months!

Occasionally I’ll ask Charley if she’d like to make more play-dough (DUH) and I let her choose what new color to make. I let her pour each ingredient in the pan before we heat it (which I take care of)! She loves being involved in the process, and I love that she gets to experience making something so amazing from scratch!
Recently, we made 6 different batches to send to my nephews in Japan for Christmas.
We seriously love it that much!!

We SO hope you enjoy… and if you try it or figure out any new variations, let us know!


Charley’s first time playing, 20 months old ❤
“Do you want to build a snowman?”


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