Homemade Natural Gluten-Free Playdough

I have fond memories of my mom making homemade playdough for me as a child, and I finally prepared some for my own little ones! First, I made a “conventional” (gluten) batch as a gift for friends (more on that here), and then prepared this gluten-free mixture for my own children.

They had fun squishing and rolling the dough, trying out cookie cutters and other kitchen tools to make fun textures and pieces.

I combined natural colors and essential oils for some fun scents! For our friends’ gift, I prepared an orange-colored dough, and added in some Sweet Orange Essential Oil. For my own children, I made a lavender-colored dough, and dropped in our favorite Lavender Essential Oil. (We’ve been brainstorming some other fun color/scent combinations, too, so have fun!)

Natural Gluten-Free Playdough

1/2 Cup White Rice Flour
1/2 Cup Arrowroot Powder
1/2 Cup Salt
2 Tbl. Baking Soda
1 Cup Water (or try Tammy’s idea of using tea for scent/color!)
1 tsp. Oil
Natural Food Coloring or Dye* (optional)
Essential Oils (optional), mine were from Mountain Rose Herbs

Whisk together flour, arrowroot powder, salt, baking soda, water, and oil in a saucepan. Add desired food coloring (if not using dyed water). Over medium heat, continue stirring the mixture (a sturdy heat-proof silicone spatula works well), scraping the sides/bottom of the pan (some will stick anyway).

Lumps will begin to form; continue combining the mixture as much as possible, and it will eventually form a sticky ball. Near the end of the cooking time, add in any desired essential oils, and continue stirring.

Once the dough ball forms, remove from heat, turn dough out of the pan, and let cool on a piece of waxed paper. Knead a few times, and let cool. It will have more of a “bouncy/gummy” consistency than conventional playdough.

Some dyes may stain countertops/tables, so prepare a place for children to play. (A piece of waxed paper taped down or a washable placemat works well.)

Once cool, store in an airtight container.

*Skip To My Lou has some fabulous suggestions for natural homemade playdough dyes here by Kate of Mini-Eco. I used a bit of the natural food colorings from India Tree, which I found on a super sale at a natural food store.

Some color/scent ideas:

  • Orange: Sweet Orange Oil
  • Purple: Lavender Oil
  • Green: Peppermint Oil
  • Pink: Rose Geranium Oil
  • Cream: Vanilla Extract
  • Yellow: Lemon Oil
  • Brown or Red: Cinnamon Powder
  • We’re still brainstorming a scent for blue…

When using essential oils, make sure to start cautiously, as some children may be sensitive to some some oils; use ones they’re already used to. If your children are of an age where they might still try to “taste” the dough, make sure to use food-quality oils.

Playdough is a simple childhood joy, isn’t it?

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