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Coffee Play Dough

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Made with real coffee grounds

Wondering what to do with the coffee grounds? Aside from compost, homemade exfoliate or an odour neutraliser, why not try making some play dough?

The waste from my fancy coffee machine always has me thinking of how else to use the grounds. As anyone with a coffee machine knows, the beans are expensive so just throwing the grounds directly into the bin seems a tad wasteful.

This recipe can be used for a cafe role play scenario or even as a substitute for dirt. Here’s how to make it:

You will need

  • 2 cups of plain flour
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • Table spoon of coffee grounds
  • 1 cup of boiling water (obviously don’t your littles do this part) that has been cooled.
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp of cream of tartar
  • Wooden spoon
  • Large bowl
  • Cup for measuring
  • Chopping board


  1. Add the dry ingredients (including the coffee grounds) to the bowl and stir in well
  2. Next add the olive oil. The mixture should start to bind together
  3. Gradually pour in the cooled boiled water. Then mix together – hands are best, but please check the temperature of the mix first before letting a little one do this!
  4. Keep adding more water until you get the desired ‘play dough’ texture – it should be too crumbly or too sticky.
  5. Add more water or more flour if needed.


After making the dough a couple of days ago, it has held up pretty well for dramatic play. Its a little drier than usual, so we’re adding a teeny bit of water each time we play.

We’ve paired the dough with a set of coffee shop printables I made for Z. I’ve been developing these for a while now and hope to make them available in the shop soon.

Want more?

Basic Play Dough Recipe

10 Activities with Play Dough

Spring Play Dough Recipe Card

Garden Play Dough

Sian Thomas

Sian Thomas

Sian is a trained teacher mama to three awesome children and wife to Greg. As a family of expats, they travel the world every couple of years for new adventures. Right now, they live in Vienna, Austria.

One thing Sian is super passionate about? Helping mums worldwide navigate the early years of parenthood.

You can join her on her brand new venture, This Playful Home, by visiting www.thisplayfulhome.com or clicking the email sign up button below!

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