Calming Homemade Playdough

Emotions have been running high for both my 3 and 5 year-old, so I decided to whip up a few different calming homemade playdough recipes that would help calm raging tempers and lift our spirits.  My kiddos were transformed from whiney and clingy to cheerful and cooperative as they played with this dough for an hour while I leisurely made dinner. With results like that, I know I’ll be reaching for this homemade playdough often!

For more playdough fun, check out our super awesome Playdough Mats in our shop!

Super Calming Playdough

Making the Playdough

To make the homemade playdough, my kiddos measured all the ingredients into a pot, whisked it until smooth,  and then passed it to me to cook for a few minutes over low heat.

The key to making these doughs soft and squishy is to stir it constantly while cooking and to remove the pot from the heat before the dough looks completely cooked.  I turn off the heat when the dough still has a few pretty sticky spots.  As the dough cools for a few minutes in the pot, the sticky spots will disappear and you can turn the dough out on a counter to knead it until smooth.

Calming Lavender Playdough

To make lavender playdough, you’ll need to mix together and cook:

  • 1.5 cups of flour
  • 6 T of salt
  • 3 T of cream of tartar
  • 2 T of oil
  • 1.5 cups of water
  • dried lavender flowers (optional but provides texture)
  • 10 drops of lavender essential oil
  • purple food color {a few drops}


Harmonizing Rose Playdough

For the rose playdough, you’ll need:

  • 1.5 cups of flour
  • 6 T of salt
  • 3 T of cream of tartar
  • 2 T of oil
  • 1.5 cups of water
  • rose petals {dried ones keep better in the dough}
  • 10-15 drops of rose essential oil
  • pink or red food color {a few drops}


Uplifting Citrus Playdough

And for the mood lifting citrus playdough, grab:

  • 1.5 cups of flour
  • 6 T of salt
  • 3 T of cream of tartar
  • 2 T of oil
  • 1.5 cups of water
  • zest of one orange and one grapefruit
  • 10 drops of orange essential oil
  • orange food coloring {just a few drops}


Playing with the Playdough

Once the playdough cooled, I handed it to my two crabby kiddos and let them take the lead.  They decided to play pizza shop and make up pizzas to fix our bad moods.  First order up was a calming lavender pie with harmonizing rose toppings.


I don’t know if it was the squishing of warm playdough or the relaxing herbs and essential oils we used, but my kiddos happily played together for a good hour without a single disagreement.  Everything is coming up roses in this house, at least when we’re playing with these mood lifting playdoughs!


For more squishing and kneading fun, be sure to check out all of our  Playdough Mats!

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  1. kristie

    This sounds wonderful. I can’t wait to try it. How long does this playdough last?

    • Noirin Lynch

      We’ve had ours for a month and it still smells great. I store it in a plastic baggie or tupperware and it stays nice and squishy. I have used other homemade doughs for a few months without them going bad but since this one has dried flowers in it I don’t think it will last much more than a month or so. I hope this helps!

      • kristie

        Thanks so much! I’m going to help my niece (when she has surgery) with my great-niece and nephew (3 1/2 and 2 years), and I’m looking for fun things to do with them. I love your blog. Thanks for being so generous with your great ideas.

  2. Nicole Mouchka

    This is great! I have a stressed out anxious teen and I plan to whip up a batch for her! Thanks so much!

  3. my blog

    Many thanks, this website is really handy

  4. Lee

    Lovely idea! Is it safe to use with little ones (safe to eat should some go into the mouth?)

  5. Nadia

    Thanks for posting the recipe! Just curious if you’ve ever tried more ‘natural’ food color such as beets or turmeric, blueberry juice, etc. to dye the play dough?

    • Ashley

      Hi Nadia,
      We haven’t tried it yet, but we’d love to hear about it if you give it a try!
      Ashley // Happiness Ambassador



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Hi, I’m Malia.

I LOVE helping Pre-K, Kindergarten and First Grade teachers save time, stay inspired and give EVERY student bigger results. I’m so glad you’re here!