“Therapeutic” Play Dough Recipe

November 3, 2015·

Lilly absolutely LOVES playing with play dough. It’s one of her favorite activities! Her preschool teacher told me she always asks to get the play dough out.

I’ve played around with a few different “at-home” play dough recipes before, but this one is, BY FAR, my favorite. And, to make it even more fun, I added some essential oils to the play dough for a fun aroma! This is a great recipe to do with your kiddo(s) as a little activity with LOTS of fun to be had afterwards.

This would also make a GREAT DIY / homemade gift, especially for the holidays! You could make red or green play dough and make it festive. Instead of storing in a Ziplock bag, you could put it in maybe a large wide-mouth mason jar or cute plastic storage container with some ribbon around it.

I hope you give this a try!

DIY Therapeutic Play Dough Recipe with Essential Oils

"Therapeutic" Play Dough Recipe (1)


*NOTE: Feel free to double the recipe to make even more! This recipe makes just enough for one kiddo to play with. 

  • 2 cups of flour (I used all-purpose flour)
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1/2 cup of salt (I used sea salt)
  • 1/8 cup of vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon of Cream of Tartar
  • 8-10 drops of desired essential oil (I used Grapefruit and get my essential oils here)
  • Food coloring (optional, I like this all-natural kind)

"Therapeutic" Play Dough Recipe (2)


Combine the ingredients (flour, water, salt, vegetable oil, cream of tartar, and food coloring… everything EXCEPT THE ESSENTIAL OIL!!!!) in a large saucepan (non-stick works well) and stir until most lumps are gone.

THEN, heat the ingredients over medium heat and keep stirring until the Play Dough has formed one big clump. This involves A LOT of stirring… it’s about 5-10 minutes of stirring. This is a great time to get the kiddos to help (obviously teaching them to NOT TOUCH THE HOT PARTS OF THE STOVE 🙂). Once the play dough starts to form, it will happen quickly! It will go from all liquid to thick dough…

Remove from heat, add in 8-10 drops of your desired essential oil. I asked Lilly what color she wanted her play dough and since she wanted pink, I thought grapefruit essential oil would be a great oil to use with pink play dough! It has such a light, fresh, and citrusy aroma. You can’t help but feel happy when you smell (and play with!) the play dough. You could honestly use almost any essential oil that you like!

Next, knead the oils into the play dough and work it all together by hand on a flat surface.

Finally, let the play dough cool and store in a large Ziplock bag. I prefer to store the play dough in the fridge because it seems to last longer! It doesn’t look pretty, but it’s functional!

"Therapeutic" Play Dough Recipe (3)

Here are some other essential oil options and ideas you could consider:

  • Lavender would be a GREAT oil to use with purple play dough
  • Peace & Calming would be a great oil blend to use with green play dough
  • Orange essential oil with orange play dough
  • Lemon essential oil with yellow play dough
  • Gentle Baby essential oil blend with any color!

What do you think? Will you give this recipe a try? Have you made play dough for your kiddos before? 


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