5 Easy Recipes to make Dough and Clay with Young Children

Let’s have fun with food.  These recipes are for to make dough and clay. Kids love to help in the kitchen.  My kids help when I cook dinner.  He has his own apron and knife set.  If your child has their own cooking set that will encourage them to want to help in the kitchen.  With these recipes, they can help make dough and then play with it!




*All the recipes below use food.


Since kids love to get messy and help in the kitchen let them do both while making dough and clay.  Here are some fun recipes to make dough and clay on days off, rainy days or when you are stuck inside.  Anytime is a great time to make dough.


You can also try How to make Gingerbread Play Dough.

 Easy Recipes to Make dough and Clay in under 20 minutes. Make dough with young children.

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The best time to make these recipes is when the weather is bad.  Kids get cooped up in the house and want something to do.  Spend time making these recipes together and then let them play.


If your child has any sensory sensitivity, try small batches and see what they are willing to touch.  Start just by touching the ingredients, then move to make the dough and hopefully holding and playing with the dough.  Small steps are best when children have a sensitivity to touching different textures.


This is what I do when I work with students.  A helpful tip is to roll the dough into small balls and work on the child picking up the balls first.  I do this and have the child just pick up the balls to clean them up.  That way they are touching the material and feel ok because they are also putting it away. Keep trying to reach success. After some time I see all the children being able to hold and squeeze different textures.



  • Goop–

2 cups salt

1 cup cornstarch

1 cup water

Dough Recipe
Finished Dough

Cook salt and ½ cup water for 4 minutes on medium heat.  Remove from heat.  Add cornstarch and ½ cup water.  Return to heat.  Stir until mixture thickens.  (Only need about 1 minute.)  This will feel slightly grainy.  It’s easy to put fingers in, make holes, shapes and figures.  Store goop in a plastic bag.


Here is my son, age 6, kneading the dough and making a snowman. The picture of the dough in the pot is how it should look.

Dough Recipe
Dough Snowman


  • Clay Dough-

add 3 cups flour

3 cups salt

3 tablespoons alum powder

Combine dry ingredients and slowly add water, a little at a time.  Mix well with a spoon.  As mixture thickens, continue mixing with your hands until it has the feel of clay.  If it feels too dry, add more water slowly.  If it is too sticky, add equal parts of flour and salt.




  • Play Dough-

2 cups flour

1 cup salt

1 cup hot water

2 tablespoons cooking oil

4 teaspoons cream of tartar

Few drops of Food coloring


Colored play dough.  Make dough at home

Mix all ingredients together well.  Knead until smooth.  This dough may be kept in a plastic bag or covered container and used again.  If it gets sticky, more flour may be added.




  • Oatmeal Dough—(this one can be painted)

2 cups oatmeal

1 cup flour

½ cup water

Combine all ingredients.  Knead well.  This dough has a very different texture, is easily manipulated, and looks different.

Finished projects can be painted when dry.



  • Coffee Clay

2 cups used coffee grounds

½ cup salt

1 ½ cups oatmeal


Combine ingredients and add enough water to moisten.  Children like to roll, pack and pat this mixture.  It has a grainy feel.  This is not good to make for ornaments or hand keepsakes.  It smells great.


In conclusion, these are all simple and easy to make.  Kids will love helping make dough and then getting their hand's dirty playing with it.  Put on those aprons and try making one of these on the next rainy day.  Get messy and have fun!


Write below which dough your children liked the most.  I'd love to hear from you.


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  1. Cassie says:

    Rachel, lovely idea and recipes. Thanks so much for this post for making homemade play dough. Looking forward to doing these with my toddler !
    Cassie @delightful motherhood

    1. ExploreKidTalk says:

      I’m so happy to hear you liked these recipes to make dough. It’s a good reason to get messy and have fun.

  2. I loved homemade playdoh when I was a kid. This has a bunch of different recipes that I have never seen before. Some of these look like a lot of fun. A great resource for fun activities for kids.

    1. ExploreKidTalk says:

      Thank you! I tried to write recipes to make dough that people haven’t tried before. Children love to get messy and make these. Have fun.

  3. Migleskr says:

    Lovely post. I don’t have kids, but I would love to try this amazing dough recipes with my niece! 🙂

    1. ExploreKidTalk says:

      I’m glad you like them. Your niece will have a lot of fun if you do some of these with her. Enjoy making dough together.

  4. Rosemary says:

    Thanks for the tip I am always looking for ideas to keep my grandchildren entertained. 🙂

    1. ExploreKidTalk says:

      I’m so glad you liked these fun recipes to make dough. Your grandchildren would love them. Look around you can find tons of things to do together with your grandkids. 🙂

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