This easy and homemade play dough recipe is made with body lotion and corn starch and provides the framework for a fun activity for children of any age. It is simple to put together, and fun to play with. Learn how to make playdough with this easy tutorial – even a toddler could do it!
Homemade Playdough Recipe
Recently, I’ve been trying to come up with some fun toddler-friendly activities to help occupy Jack throughout the day. Unfortunately for Jack, he has a not-so-creative mama, and most of my ideas keep his attention for about 1.3985 seconds. However, I’ve had a few successes, and I hope to share those with any other moms of toddlers looking for simple activities to occupy their toddler.
For awhile, I’ve been avoiding play dough. I feel like it gets everywhere, finds it way into the carpet, and, I hate how it makes my hands feel so dry…am I the only one?! Regardless, I decided it was time to let Jack play with play dough — it’s like a rite of passage for a child.
There’s tons of homemade play dough recipes out there, and I wasn’t sure which one to make. I came across one (I can’t remember where!) that used corn flour or corn starch, along with hair conditioner. It seemed really simple, and I was curious if it would work. However, I didn’t really want to use our hair conditioner (we’re almost out, and it’s kind of expensive) so I rummaged through the cupboards until I found something I thought might be a good replacement — a big container of Suave Body Lotion that I used for another project awhile back. I don’t usually use a lot of body lotion, and when I do, it’s usually something from Bath and Body Works. I feel like conditioner and body lotion are similar in consistency, and thought it was worth a shot!
As you can see, it did work! I’ll admit, it was a bit messy at first to put together (especially when I made the mistake of putting the corn starch on the edge of the bath tub, and Jack thought that was a signal for him to knock it over…I’ll just let you picture that scene), and I was a little worried that it wasn’t going to work…but it did! It took a little trial and error to get the proportions right, but in the end it turned out really well. And, best of all…it didn’t make my hands all dry — actually, it made my hands nice and soft, and Jack’s too.
Obviously, since there’s body lotion in this…I wouldn’t recommend letting a kiddo use it who has a tendency to eat anything that looks remotely like food (or just doesn’t know any better!) However, this is some of the best play dough I’ve used, and I think Jack had a lot of fun. It kept him occupied for at least 30 minutes (which is a big deal for him, haha.)
How to Make Homemade Playdough
- 1 part body lotion, I used about 1/2 cup
- about 2 parts corn starch, I used about 1 cup, maybe a little more
- Food coloring, optional
- Place corn starch in a medium to large bowl (just so it doesn't get everywhere) and then add body lotion.
- Add 2-3 drops of desired food coloring.
- Mix with hands, kind of like you are kneading bread. It will be pretty sticky at first, but keep mixing it until a firm dough starts to form. If this doesn't happen after about a minute, add in a little more corn starch. You don't want it to be sticky when you are done.
- Store in a plastic bag, and have fun!
Originally written in 2014; updated in May of 2018.
Katie is a Colorado-native, BYU graduated, and most importantly, wife to one and mother to three beautiful boys. She is passionate about sharing her experiences with others – especially about pregnancy, breastfeeding, cooking, and crafts. She is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. She loves spending time with her family and helping others find joy in family life.