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Play Dough Care Tips

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How to make homemade play dough last a little longer

Obviously, the whole point of play dough is that it is PLAYED with but that can also mean that it goes dry and crusty easily. Here’s a few tips that should help your homemade play dough last much longer…

Ingredients – what matters most?

After spending the first half of the year in Austria without being able to source cream of tartar, I can honestly say that it makes the biggest difference in the success of the play dough. We tried using lemon or lime juice instead but it just wasn’t the same. I’ve since started ordering cream of tartar from Amazon (is that crazy?!) and it’s made the biggest difference!Without cream of tartar, the dough would get crumbly fast, but now we have lovely soft, smooth play dough again – yay!


You’ve gone to the effort of making the play dough, you need to store in correctly! We tend to wrap ours in ziplock bags (which we reuse for new batches) then we seal the dough inside a container.

Generally speaking, keeping the dough in a cool dry place will be enough to make it last for up to 4 weeks. However, in the summer we have occasionally kept the dough in the fridge to stop it from going sticky.

Here we are using the IKEA GLIS container which is just brilliant for creating invitations to play too.

How to soften dry dough:

If your little one has been playing for some time with the play dough then it is likely to get dry. If needed at the end of a play session, we add a drop or two of water to the dough to revive it. Works like a charm!

Alternatively, wrap the dough in a damp paper towel overnight. Even play dough deserves a pampering every now and again!

How to prevent sticky dough:

When making dough, the best thing we’ve found is to knead it by hand to get all of the stickiness out. If you’re still finding the texture a little too much on the sticky side however, keep rolling into small amounts of flour until you get the right, ‘springy’ consistency.

We’ve found that dough goes sticky when its too hot so if you live in a hot climate, try storing the dough in the fridge to make it last longer. You can always get it out twenty minutes before a play session if you think it’ll be too hard for your little ones.

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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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