Homemade No Cook Almost Organic Play Dough & Cookie Cutter Creativity

I am starting a new series on Toddler Activities from today. Since this is the first post in the series, I am posting it as a regular blog post. Henceforth, posts in this series will be available under my newly created “Toddler Activities” tab accessible from the homepage.

So here’s a confession. I had no idea that Cream of Tartar is different from Tartar Sauce. Given TJ’s new found fascination for play dough, I decided to make some at home. When I set out to look for recipes, every single one of them asked for Cream of Tartar. So the next time we were at our local grocery store, I made sure I asked an employee for that ingredient, except I asked for Tartar Sauce and was duly directed toward where to find it. Smug with happiness, I came home all ready to make some home made play dough whenever we would be stuck at home looking for things to do.

This past Wednesday, with TJ recovering from a fever and cold and Baby E napping, we were indeed stuck at home and so I got excited about making the play dough at last. Unfortunately, upon realizing that I, in fact, did not have the right ingredient, I couldn’t bear to see the disappointment on TJ’s face – I had already promised him play dough – so I started looking for recipes that did not use cream of tartar. Surely, the wise folks on the Internet would know.

Shout out to Sarah from Stay At Home Educator. After sifting through the many search results, I came upon her recipe for Scented No-Cook Play Dough that did not use cream of tartar and decided to make it. I did modify it a little bit:

Note: Please read Sarah’s original recipe for more detail, helpful tips, and other instructions.


* Water – 3/4th cup minus 3 Tbs of Organic Lemon Juice
(one way to do this is to first fill your measuring cup with the three Tbs of lemon juice, THEN add the water to make a total of 3/4th)
* Organic Lemon Juice – 3 Tablespoons
* Organic Flour – 1 cup
* Kosher Salt – 1/4 cup
* Organic Vegetable Oil – 1 Tablespoon
* Food Color of your choice – Depends on how strong you want your color to be (I used 2 generous squeezes) I used Wilton’s Gel Food Coloring (NOT an affiliate link)


1. Pour the water and lemon juice into a microwaveable bowl and microwave for about 3 minutes depending on the wattage (mine is 1100) or until just boiling.

2. Separately, in another bowl, mix the flour and salt together.

3. Add/Squeeze food coloring into the hot water/lemon juice mix and stir gently.

4. Add the colored liquid into your flour/salt mix gently. The liquid may be hot so be careful please!

5. Knead the flour like you would to make rotis or chapatis. I used my hands but you can use a spatula if that works better for you.

6. Add the vegetable oil slowly (adding oil also helps get the flour off your hands).

7. Sarah’s recipe is perfect so no matter what, do not add more flour or water. Keep kneading till you form a nice round ball of your desired color. Like I said, this is a perfect recipe. Please follow it exactly as she writes or use my modifications.

8. You’re all done. The dough thus created is easy to roll, really soft, not messy, and fun to shape. Enjoy!

So, what do you do with all this Play Dough? Here’s where I hit a massive creative streak! I had a brainwave to use cookie cutters to shape our homemade play dough and what fun we had!! Try it sometime!

Using cooking cutters to shape and mold our play dough allowed us to spend over an hour on this activity. More importantly, having never played with play dough as a child myself, (growing up in India, flour  was used exclusively for chapatis – or rotis, etc. – and not for play. In fact, we didn’t even know it could be used as play), I enjoyed this activity too. I think I was more excited than TJ to do this activity.

So, how do you go about using cookie cutters for this activity? Really simple –

  1. Roll out the dough ball with a rolling pin and make a nice flat sheet of it. Think cookies.

img_20161012_104522044-collage2. Use your desired cookie cutter shape, place the sharper side onto the dough and “cut”.


3. You have your dough cookie! TJ’s favorite cutter was the fire engine shape. He entertained the others and tolerated some others but the fire engine was a clear winner.


The other cool thing about this activity is that if your kid does mess up the shape, you can simply roll it out again and redo. This was a lot of fun!!

What activity do YOU enjoy doing the most with your kid? If you have a link, please feel free to post it too. I am always looking for more things to create 🙂







A former Communication Studies professor turned a somewhat reluctant stay-at-home-mom (SAHM), I blog about my adventures raising two multiracial kids. I write about parenting and living a multicultural Indian-Canadian-American HinJew life with honesty, a few tears, lots of laughter, and gallons of coffee.
Blogger at: www.thephdmama.com
Follow me: @thephdmama

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  1. Never thought about making my own dough before but I might give it a go. Sounds like you had fun ☺

    1. Oh you should definitely try it. Not that store bought stuff is expensive but at least with homemade ones, you know exactly what has gone into it. If you child does happen to eat some by mistake, it isn’t such a big deal. Thanks for visiting.

  2. Me again. I forgot to put #MessandPlay ?

  3. I love play doh. I haven’t made any yet though, I rather foolishly bought some tubs ready made not realising that I could just make some myself for half the price with stuff in my cupboards! Robert is just starting to get into playing with it himself. One thing I do is I make lots of little balls and start lining them up in a line with him watching, he sees what I am doing and if I put one out of line he moves it to the other end. We’ve only got one cookie cutter at the moment but ‘ll be adding to my collection soon! Thanks for linking up to #MessandPlay.

    1. I got a great deal on my cookie cutters (there’s like a 100 of them, I think) sometime last year in a post-Christmas sale. Be on the look out. They are so much fun. Thanks for starting this linky.

  4. Wow, so simple! How long did it hold up? Did you save it? 🙂

    1. It depended on how thick we rolled the dough but obviously not too long because it is, after all, dough. Ha ha. He loved making the fire struck shape from the play dough the best.

      1. Oh okay, so more of a one time thing 🙂

        1. That’s right. The beauty of play dough is that you can keep making it over and over again. Hope you get to make it and enjoy the process.

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