This great activity is by Luise Spangenberg from SOUTH AFRICAN MOM

Before Christmas I posted about making Christmas ornaments and handprintswith homemade dough. Today I am sharing my favourite play dough recipe with you – one that stays soft and smooth and can be played with without drying out for long periods of time. And it lasts for 6 months +!

I have tried a bunch of different recipes on Pinterest – cornstarch and conditioner (silky smooth to start with, but dries out very, very quickly!); cooked salt dough, no-cook salt dough, and more and I’ve found our favourite one.

All you need is:
2 cups flour
1/2 cup salt
2 Tbsp cream of tartar (In the baking isle of the store)
2 Tbsp cooking oil
1 – 1 1/2 cups boiling water
*Food colouring (optional, gel colouring gives the most vibrant colours)
*Essential oils, food essence or ground spices (optional for adding scent)


In a mixing bowl add 1 cup of boiling water with the salt and your food colouring if you want to add colour. Sir in the rest of the ingredients until it combines. If it is too crumbly, add some more water, little by little until it comes together. It won’t form a smooth ball just yet, but it should come together. Turn it out on your countertop and knead it until it forms a smooth ball. If it is too sticky, add a little flour until the consistency is just right.


You can store it in an air tight container for quite a long time. Mine usually lasts about 6 months before I make a new batch. You can store it in the fridge, but my last batch has been out in room temperature for about four months and there’s nothing wrong with it. In fact, I haven’t had to throw out a batch yet, except for when we forget to store it and it goes hard!

Strangely the texture seems to improve over time instead of deteriorate. That’s also a big win in my books! (The bright pink clay in the pictures is about 4 months old, the rest is fresh)



  • You can add the food colouring to plain dough balls and knead it in, but this is very messy and does colour your hands. Adding it to the water before mixing eliminates this problem, but if you wish to make a few balls with different colours, that’s probably the way to go. Use kitchen or latex gloves to prevent staining your hands!
  • I like adding the salt to the water, because I hate having salt crystals in my dough. I like it silky smooth and by dissolving it in the water beforehand there is no chance of gritty crystals in my dough.
  • I have made it without cream of tartar, but it isn’t as smooth and doesn’t last very long.
  • If you leave it out for a bit too long and the edges have become hard, just knead it a bit and put back in the bag or container and leave it – it will become soft again! If it is rock hard or you can’t knead it at all, then it’s a lost case, though. For this reason I always take out only a piece for the kids to play with so that all doesn’t go hard if we forget to seal it after playing.
As you can see, little hands love this dough!
What’s your favourite play dough recipe?


South African Mom-01     Guest Writer Stamp-01

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