The Perfect Kid-Friendly Activity for Snow Days: DIY Play-Dough!

Last Update: September 28, 2022

Colder weather and shorter days are the perfect excuse to curl up with a good book or movie—unless you have kids. If that’s the case, then it’s time to get creative!

Making your own play-dough is fun for the whole family and doesn’t require a lot of special ingredients or equipment. You can use regular food dyes, but all-natural, one-ingredient colorants—made from beets, spirulina, or turmeric—may make you feel a little better about any impromptu taste-tests after your little ones get their hands on this enticing dough. If you want sparkle—just add glitter!

Another bonus of making your own play-dough is you know exactly what’s in it. While the dough is technically edible, eating it isn’t recommended due to the high salt content. Fortunately, that also means it’s not very appetizing, so one adventurous bite is unlikely to turn into two!


What you need

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup salt
2 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
2 cups cold water
1 tablespoon coconut oil
Natural food coloring
Glitter (optional)


In a large pot, combine flour, salt, cream of tartar, cold water, and coconut oil. Once the mixture is mostly smooth, warm the pot over low heat, stirring the whole time. When the dough begins to thicken and clump together in the center of the pot, remove from heat and let rest until it’s cool enough to handle.

Remove dough from the pot and turn out onto a clean countertop or silicone mat. Knead dough until it feels smooth. Separate into balls—one for each color you want to make. Press your thumb into one of the balls, forming a shallow bowl. Add 8 drops of natural food coloring into the hollow indent (more for a darker hue) and knead to spread throughout the dough. Repeat this process for all of your colors. Next, add the glitter, if using. Start with 4 tablespoons of glitter per ball of dough—you can always add more if you really want your dough to glimmer!

Store dough in an airtight container to keep it moist. If it begins to dry out, adding a few drops of water and kneading should soften it up—this should work a few times before you have to make a new batch!

Photo credit: Paul Delmont

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Melinda Gross

Melinda writes about health, wellness, and food for the Thrive Market blog. She started her career as a financial journalist in NYC and has written for Where Magazine, Worth, Forbes, and When she's not reading or writing, she enjoys working out, sketching, and playing with her daughter and mini-dachshund, Goliath.

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