Play dough is such a classic, simple way to occupy kids (and some adults) in a way that stimulates imagination as well as fine motor skills. Not only that, but playing with play dough is a sensory activity that can calm and soothe cranky, overactive children and relax their minds and bodies. Few activities hold their attention as well as a soft, mushy ball of dough which they can sculpt, squeeze, and smoosh to their heart’s desire! Here are recipes for regular and gluten-free essential oil play dough that incorporate aromatherapy as an added benefit.

Regular Playdough

Ingredients

1 cup flour
1/3 cup salt
2 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 cup water, add a little more if you like your dough softer
1 tablespoon coconut oil or other vegetable oil
Food coloring (optional)
10 – 20 drops essential oil (use the suggestions below or come up with your own!)

Instructions

  1. In a small saucepan, add flour, salt, and cream of tartar.
  2. Slowly add water and coconut oil, and stir well to combine.
  3. Place pan on stove over low heat and continue stirring constantly. The mixture will begin to thicken.
  4. Before it gets too thick, add food coloring (of desired).
  5. When the dough thickens and begins to pull away from the sides of the pan, use a rubber spatula to remove it from the pan onto a piece of parchment or waxed paper to cool.
  6. When dough is cool enough to handle (after about 20-30 minutes), begin kneading on a lightly floured surface until a smooth, soft ball is formed.
  7. Flatten out your ball of dough and poke a few holes with your finger. Next, add your essential oils to the holes, and continue kneading the dough to completely incorporate the oils. 
  8. Once oils are incorporated, your play dough is ready for playing! 

Store play dough in an airtight container at room temperature and it should last several weeks, depending on how much it is played with!

Gluten-Free Play Dough

Ingredients

1 cup white rice flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup salt
1 tablespoon cream of tartar
1-1/2 teaspoon coconut oil
1 cup hot water
Food coloring (optional) 
10-20 drops essential oil (use the suggestions below or come up with your own!)

Instructions

  1. Combine all dry ingredients together in a medium saucepan.
  2. Slowly add coconut oil and water, and stir well to combine.
  3. Place pan on stove over low heat and continue stirring constantly. The mixture will begin to thicken.
  4. Before it gets too thick, add food coloring (of desired).
  5. When the dough thickens and begins to pull away from the sides of the pan, use a rubber spatula to remove it from the pan onto a piece of parchment or waxed paper to cool.
  6. When dough is cool enough to handle (after about 20-30 minutes), begin kneading on a surface lightly dusted with rice flour until a smooth, soft ball is formed.
  7. Flatten out your ball of dough and poke a few holes with your finger. Next, add your essential oils to the holes, and continue kneading the dough to completely incorporate the oils.
  8. Once oils are incorporated, your play dough is ready for playing!

Store play dough in an airtight container at room temperature and it should last several weeks, depending on how much it is played with!

*This recipe was adapted from the Celiac Foundation

Essential Oils for Play Dough

Calming 

7 drops lavender
4 drops orange
4 drops cedarwood
3 drops frankincense

Take 5

9 drops bergamot
5 drops spearmint
4 drops lavender

Uplifting

5 drops ylang ylang
4 drops bergamot
3 drops frankincense
3 drops lavender

Breath of Fresh Air

5 drops spruce
4 drops cedarwood
4 drops juniper
3 drops fir

Do you love play dough? What are your favorite essential oils to add to your tactile experience? Comment below and share with the community!


Looking for more ways to calm your child? Check out this post about Natural Remedies for ADHD.

For more great ways to use essential oils and loads of educational videos, come and Join The Club!