All Natural Autumn Playdough Recipe

fall coloured play dough

Photo credit: Tara Gratto

With Autumn upon us, I thought it would be fun to change up our playdough recipe to reflect the warmth and depth of the colours Fall brings.

Shifting Away From Conventional Playdough

As an educator and a mother, one of the biggest concerns I have about arts and crafts materials is their use of toxins and chemicals. A leading contender on my list of concerns is artificial food dyes.

Hands on learning is tactile. It’s up to your eyebrows in messy fun, it’s colourful, and it’s exciting. It also means children are covered in whatever they are playing with, in the case of dyed commercial playdough, all kinds of artificial chemicals. Chemicals for colour, chemicals for preservation, chemicals for scent, chemicals for texture, etc.

This lead me to making my own all natural playdough, which is easy, accessible and inexpensive!  With only a few basic ingredients you can make your own and it will be completely natural and truly non-toxic. There are tons of recipes out there-here is the one I used to create my Autumn playdough trio.

Basic Playdough Recipe with Natural Autumn Colour Adaptations

  1. Bring 1 cup of water* & ½ cup of salt to a boil until salt is dissolved.
  2. Reduce temperature
  3. Add 1 Tbs of Cinnamon (brown) OR 1 Tbs of Turmeric (gold) OR Beets (rouge)*
  4. Mix until colour is even throughout
  5. Remove from heat
  6. Add 2 tsp. of Cream of Tartar
  7. Add 2 Tbsp. of oil
  8. Slowly add 1 cup of flour and mix until smooth
  9. Allow to cool to the touch
  10. Knead, adding flour to reach desired consistency
  11. Store in an airtight container so it can be reused and compost when you’re ready to move on to a new batch.

* For rouge, I boiled beets in a pot and used 1 cup of beet water for the starter*

The best part about making your own colour is you can easily adjust the depth of the colour or smell by increasing or decreasing the ‘seasoning’ AND you know exactly what the colour is made of.  Everything I used here can be found in a pantry and although it wouldn’t taste all the great, it is all edible!

natural playdough

Photo credit: Tara Gratto

I hope you give this naturally non-toxic and biodegradable playdough a try because once you discover how easy it is, you will never need to purchase pre-packed dough again. In my next contribution I’ll be sharing ideas for where the Autumn playdough can take you, including some suggestions for using it to engage children in some outdoor exploration and play!

Do you ever make your own playdough? What do you use to colour it?