Soft Simple Play Dough

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This play dough recipe will quickly become your favorite because it only requires two ingredients!  It is also the softest play dough you will ever feel and leaves your hands feeling super smooth after you play.  Even better, it smells wonderful!  Sold?  Head to your local dollar store or grocery store for corn starch and hair conditioner, and maybe a table cloth…  Corn starch can be messy!!!


  • Cornstarch (2 parts)
  • Hair Conditioner (1 part)  I personally love the White Rain brand, for the smells (apple, rain, and coconut, and also for its consistency).  Every conditioner has a slightly different consistency, so you may have to adjust your measurements accordingly.
  • Measuring cups, such as 1 cup and 1/2 cup
  • Container for storage
  • Fork for stirring
  • Optional – food coloring

I often do this activity in a group setting, so I vary my “parts” accordingly.  Today I did it with C and G, so we had plenty to spare, and they even made two batches each.  We started with 1/2 cup of conditioner.  They measured it out and added it to their containers.

Then they measured out their cornstarch.  One big tip to this recipe is GRADUALLY adding the cornstarch to the conditioner.  The recipe will still work if you add it all at once, as many a kid I have made this with has done, but it comes together so much easier when added gradually.


Once all of the cornstarch is added and the dough begins to come together, take it out of the container and knead it.  If its still a bit sticky, tap it in some of the cornstarch that inevitably spilled 😉  If it is a little dry, add more conditioner.  Be sure to knead enough before you decide to add more cornstarch or conditioner.  And that is it!  You are now holding the softest, most wonderful smelling play dough.

We were having so much fun, that we decided to switch it up and add some color.  To do this, we added 5 – 10 drops of food coloring to the conditioner and stirred before adding the cornstarch.  Then we completed the recipe in the same way and we got these results:


Play dough is such a great tool because it just makes you feel so playful!  As soon as we finished, C said “can we take out our play dough tools?”  So not only did we have a blast making it, but it kept us busy for a while after we made it!  Play dough offers an invitation for people of all ages to playful and get messy.  I made this same play dough last week with a group of adolescent girls and others could hear their laughter from down the hall.  Many of them asked to make more than one type, and that classroom was COVERED in cornstarch, which they willingly cleaned because they had so much fun making the mess.  They also were excited to show it off, and show off how soft their hands were.

Having something in our hands, somehow, just makes us feel more at ease.  So what exactly is that somehow?  We all do certain things when we are nervous, bored, upset, to make us feel better.  Some of us chew gum, some of us bounce our leg, and some click their pen.  And some do all three 🙂 By accessing our senses, we can change our level of arousal – to help us wake up, calm down, or stay exactly where we need to be.  Using play dough, fidgets, or any FOCUS tool can help us to feel regulated.  So, might this be your tool?  Give it a try!!!

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