making frugal & simple beautiful

soft and wonderful essential oil play dough

soft and wonderful essential oil play dough

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Growing up, my mom always had homemade play dough for me. I remember cooking it with her on the stove top, reading the recipe out of a thin, fun, idea book for kids that had a cute picture of children playing in the yard on the front. That book got pretty well loved and that play dough recipe remained my favorite through the years.

I taught preschool for quite a few years and made many, many pots of play dough, trying different recipes, always measuring them next to this one, and never being quite satisfied. They were always to dry, or too sticky, too oily, or crumbly. Not just right!

So, years ago, I decided to try to find the old book for myself. I believe it to be long out of print, but I found a copy on Amazon for a few dollars. When I went to look it up on Amazon, it said “you purchased this item in 2010.” Ha! You can find it here –> A Mother’s Manual for Summer Survival. It’s a sweet book, filled with simple ideas for keeping your kids busy with good, clean fun!

Needless to say, this homemade play dough has some sentimental ties for me. No wonder I love making this with my girl. I’ve never met a child that didn’t love play dough, and this homemade play dough has such a soft, squishy texture, that it’s irresistible!





The Best and Softest Homemade Play Dough

(with essential oils)

2 cups flour

1 cup salt

4 teaspoons cream of tartar

2 cups water

2 tablespoons cooking oil

food coloring and essential oils of choice


Stir all ingredients together in a saucepan, except coloring and essential oils. (Unless you are only making one color, then you can add coloring now.)

Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until dough starts to follow spoon and appears cooked through.

Turn out onto counter, allow to cool a bit, and then knead. Knead, knead, knead! It will get softer as you do. Divide into sections. Press a cup into it with your thumb and add desired colors to each section, kneading in carefully. Now add essential oils if you desire.

Store in a plastic baggie, or airtight container. This play dough will last for months!

Sometimes when this is freshly cooked, it will appear to form a dry crust as it sits on the counter. Don’t worry, after it is kneaded, and stored in an airtight container, it will become very soft and smooth.

In my most recent batch, we decided to make 4 colors, with 4 different scents! We made pink with Thieves oil, green with lime oil, blue with peppermint oil, and purple with lavender oil.