STEAM Activity, Craft Activity: Make Homemade Playdough

What Kids Learn From This STEAM Activity

The STEAM activity, Craft activity, Make Homemade Playdough is a fun and educational activity for kids. They learn about mixing ingredients and how they can change from powdery to doughy. Kids can explore colors, shapes, and textures while creating their own designs and sculptures, boosting their creativity. Discussing the role of each ingredient (flour, salt, cream of tartar) can also be educational.  Kids also practice math skills by measuring ingredients. It’s a hands-on way to learn about science, technology (using recipes), engineering (adjusting ratios), arts (creating with playdough), and math all while having a great time. Plus, it encourages problem-solving and critical thinking as they experiment and play.

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What We Need For This STEAM Activity

  • All-Purpose Flour: You’ll need 2 cups of all-purpose flour, which serves as the base for the playdough.
  • Salt: Use 1/2 cup of salt, which not only adds texture but also acts as a preservative.
  • Cream of Tartar: You’ll need 2 tablespoons of cream of tartar. Cream of tartar helps improve the elasticity and texture of the playdough.
  • Cooking Oil: Use 2 tablespoons of cooking oil (vegetable oil or canola oil work well). The oil adds moisture and makes the playdough soft.
  • Boiling Water: You’ll need 1.5 cups of boiling water. The hot water helps combine the ingredients and create the right consistency.
  • Food Coloring: Optional, but you can add food coloring to achieve the desired color for your playdough. You can use liquid food coloring or gel food coloring. Start with a few drops and adjust until you reach the desired color.


How to Do the STEAM Activity Make Homemade Playdough


  1. Mix Dry Ingredients: In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt, and cream of tartar.
  2. Add Oil and Coloring: Add the cooking oil and food coloring (if desired) to the dry ingredients. Mix well to distribute the color evenly.
  3. Add Boiling Water: Carefully pour the boiling water into the mixture. Be cautious, as the water will be hot. Use a spoon or spatula to stir the mixture until it starts to come together into a dough.
  4. Knead the Dough: Once the mixture has cooled down enough to handle, transfer it to a clean surface and knead it until it becomes smooth and pliable. If the dough is too sticky, you can add a little more flour; if it’s too dry, you can add a bit more water.
  5. Add Scent (optional): If you want to add a pleasant scent, add a few drops of essential oil or extract during the kneading process and knead it in.
  6. Store: Store your homemade playdough in an airtight container or plastic bag when not in use to keep it fresh.

This homemade playdough can provide hours of creative play for children and is safe to use. Be aware that it’s not meant for consumption, so keep it away from very young children who may try to eat it.

Variations & Challenges

  • Scented Playdough: Add different extracts or essential oils to create scented playdough, and have kids identify and learn about various scents.
  • Art Projects: After creating playdough, use it as a sculpting medium for more complex art projects, such as creating miniature landscapes or historical scenes.
  • Structural Engineering: Challenge kids to build structures or bridges using playdough and other household materials to learn about engineering principles and stability.



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  • Isabelle

    Isabelle has been an entrepreneur for last 22 years in retail and educational industry. She is also a mom to a child in elementary school. She believes that when kids are curious and use their imagination, amazing things can happen. She is particularly interested in STEAM learning (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics). She believes when children are encouraged to develop STEAM skills from a young age, they gain valuable tools to tackle future challenges in a creative, imaginative, and innovative manner. She enjoys researching STEAM and craft activities, plays, toys and resources and share with parents. Isabelle

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