Christmas Play Dough Recipe

fall 2013 23824 Days of Christmas Recipes & Activities – Day Six

Christmas Play Dough Recipe

We made play dough.  More specifically, we made “cookies.”  Anthony was convinced that the dough was cookie or pizza dough, so we went with this description of our dough making experience.  I had to add in that they were PRETEND cookies to make sure that he knew not to eat them.  Although it’s natural, and he can eat everything, I’d be worried about him choking on a bean or a kernel of popcorn.  This was so much fun, and made me wonder why we don’t make play dough more often.  I got right into the spirit of things, and set up an awesome play dough table for Anthony.

We made 5 different colors play dough; yellow, white (ivory), brown, green and red (which looked kind of pinkish).  I used Wilton gel food coloring.  It is so easy to use, and makes a much better color than the liquid stuff from the grocery store.  You can buy these food colorings in the crafty/cake decorating section of Walmart.  They are cheap and last a while, and are great for other uses – like in the bubble bath 😉

Each play dough had a different smell too!  The yellow smelt like maple syrup (maple extract), the white smelt like vanilla, brown smelt like gingerbread, green smelt like eucalyptus and the red smelt like peppermint!

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I set out beans, popcorn, and buttons for Anthony to decorate with.  It is all I had around the house, but you could add things like; ribbon, glitter, beads, string, sequins – whatever you’d like to add to decorate your pretend cookies.  In addition to the toppings for the “cookies”, I set out cookie cutters in all different Christmas shapes, a crochet hook to make lines and holes and a baby rolling pin.  This way, Anthony could design and make his cookies in whatever way he wanted to!

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My mom bought me a vinyl table cloth a couple years ago, and it’s just been sitting in my linen closet.  But… with all of these crafts and decorating activities that we have been up to lately, the vinyl table cloth is PERFECT.  Things wipe right off of it, and best of all, it protects our kitchen table.  Thanks mom!

Play Dough Recipe


1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup water
½ cup salt
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tbsp vegetable oil
food coloring
essential oils, flavor extracts, fragrance oils


  1. Add food coloring and extract or oil to water, and stir.
  2. Add remaining ingredients to pot, and pour water over.
  3. Turn on heat to medium-low and while constantly stirring, cook for about 5-6 minutes, or until the dough forms a ball and pulls away from pot.
  4. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  5. When cool enough to handle, knead with hands until smooth.

The recipe is really simple to make, and if you just make sure that you add some hot water to the pot as soon as you remove the play dough, cleanup is a breeze too.  Alternatively, you can make this dough in your stand mixture.  To make dough this way, bring water to a boil, and then add food coloring and extract or oil.  While water is boiling, mix flour, salt, oil and cream of tartar in a stand mixer with a dough hook.  Slowly drizzle water in, and allow the dough to knead on a low speed for 5 minutes.  This is a good method when making big batches.

Some Fun Color and Scent Combinations for Christmas

  • Sugar cookie fragrance oil and white/ivory food coloring
  • Peppermint extract and red food coloring with glitter
  • Cocoa powder (1/4 cup substituted for ¼ cup flour in original recipe)
  • Almond extract and ivory food coloring
  • Chai Tea – steep 1 chai tea bag in water before making play dough and color with maroon

Really, you can use any oils and colors you would like!  Have fun with it, and enjoy spending time with your kids creating “cookies”.

Only 13 more sleeps until Christmas!



Christmas Recipes, Activities and Crafts
Christmas Recipes, Activities and Crafts

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