DIY Playdough Recipe to Calm Kids Down

Do you have a go-to playdough recipe?

Here’s an easy playdough recipe with essential oils- smells amazing, is ready in about 10 minutes & is calming for kids.

play dough recipe

No- Cook Calming Play-Dough

This easy play-dough recipe smells amazing, is ready in minutes & is calming for kids.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time0 mins
Total Time10 mins
Keyword: DIY Playdough, easy play-dough recipe, homemade play-dough, Playdough


  • Large Bowl
  • Measuring cups, 1 Cup, 3/4 cup
  • Measuring spoons, Tablespoon
  • Whisk


  • 2 Cups Flour plus extra for dusting in case the dough is too sticky (up to 1 cup extra).White all purpose flour has a nice consistency, but fine pastry flour is the softest.
  • 1 cup Salt
  • 2 TBSP Cream of Tartar
  • 2 TBSP Oil Canola or olive
  • 1 Cup Hot Water add more as necessary for desired consistency
  • 30 drops Lavender Essential Oil Please use caution when using essential oils around children.
  • 10+ drops Food coloring I divide the prepared dough and roll it into separate balls & make multiple colors


  • Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl & blend together dry using a whisk.
  • Add the oil
  • Stir in 2 cups of hot water gently, but do not fully incorporate it with the whisk. Leave about half of the dough dry & stop mixing with the whisk.
  • Do the rest of the mixing by hand. Kneed the dough until a smooth, if it doesn't get smooth add another tablespoon (or 2) of oil.
  • Other Adjustments…
    If you stir too much it will get goopy, sticky or yucky. If this happens just dust it with a little flour & kneed it until a smooth dough forms.
    If you need more water it will look dry and flaky like a pastry crust, add another ½ cup of water and kneed until a smooth dough forms.


This is NOT an edible recipe!

The finished play-dough will last about 2 months if stored in an air tight container or resealable bag.

Kids Activities with Playdough:

playdough recipe

Fine Motor Play

I start fine motor play with NO tools and just let kids warm up the muscles in their hands. Then I introduce tools like:

I recommend crayola’s my first scissors for cutting practice. There is no metal so they are safe for even the littlest hands and they look and work just like real scissors!

Multi- texture tools are great for focused independent exploration time. Kids preschool and up enjoy the free exploration and benefit from the fine motor skills acquired.

Once it starts to dry out and not stick well it’s time to make a new batch. Divide the finished playdough ball in half and use different colors or store half in a ziplock bag for later use.

Play Invitations

Invite kids to play and explore with a fun theme like pirates, animals or counting!

We used our Play-Doh number set from ages 2-4. It’s a hands on sensory counting experience.

Other Indoor Play Ideas:


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