Easy No Cook Playdough

This Easy No Cook Playdough is made with hair conditioner and corn starch (aka corn flour). It comes together quickly and encourages imaginative play - awesome stuff! |TinkerLab.com

It’s been a while since we’ve made this spectacularly simple no cook playdough, and then I realized that the recipe hasn’t been shared here. I was first introduced to this easy no cook hair conditioner playdough recipe by Anna of The Imagination Tree, in her recipe for Creamy Coconut Playdough. Do check out her blog if you have or work with small children — it’s a gold mine!

The ingredients are beyond simple, they come together quickly, and the resulting dough provides children with wonderful sensory and imaginative world experiences. The texture is different from everyday playdough (see the link below to the Best Playdough Ever) – it’s stretchier and a bit stickier. If you’re short on time or have these basic ingredients on hands, this playdough could be for you!

One of my favorite things about introducing a new batch of dough to the kids is seeing how they interpret it. One day they’re interested in building a play bakery around it and another they turn it into horse stables.

This playdough won’t last for more than a day, so if you’re looking for a long-lasting play dough, you’ll want this recipe for the Best Playdough Ever (seriously – it’s that good).

So, without further ado…

This Easy No Cook Playdough is made with hair conditioner and corn starch (aka corn flour). It comes together quickly and encourages imaginative play - awesome stuff! |TinkerLab.com

How to make this easy, no cook playdough

Supplies:

  • 1 cup hair conditioner: I chose Tresemme Naturals Nourishing Moisture Conditioner (affiliate) for two reasons. One, it’s reasonably priced, and two, it’s silicone-free and dye-free, so I could feel okay with my kids and their friends playing with it.
  • 2 cups corn starch (also known as corn flour)
  • Optional: Liquid watercolors (affiliate) or food coloring

Just 2 Ingredients!! DIY Stretchy Hair Conditioner Playdough | TinkerLab.com

Steps

  1. Mix the first two ingredients in a bowl with a spoon. The mixture should not be sticky. Add a tiny bit more cornstarch if your dough feels sticky. Adjust as necessary.
  2. Add a few drops of food coloring or liquid watercolors. Mix.
  3. Form the dough into a ball and play!
  4. Add rolling pins, small toys, muffin tins, or popsicle sticks and encourage imaginative play. More playdough tool ideas can be found in this post, 3 Essential Playdough Tools and in Playdough Tool Ideas. 

A Note on the Scent

This no cook playdough has a lovely soapy smell. If you’re smell-sensitive, be sure to use a hair conditioner that you enjoy the smell of. I’m cost-conscious, and we made this another time with a cheaper conditioner. The dough turned out great, but I couldn’t escape the saturated, artificial smell of it, and could not wait to throw it out. Wah. I enjoyed the smell of this Tresemme conditioner, and as you’ll read in the Amazon reviews (link above), a LOT of people are happy with this product. Bonus: leftover conditioner can go right into your shower!

This Easy No Cook Playdough is made with hair conditioner and corn starch (aka corn flour). It comes together quickly and encourages imaginative play - awesome stuff! |TinkerLab.com

 

3 Essential Play Dough Tools (that you may already have)

Three essential play dough tools (that you may already have) | Tinkerlab

What are your favorite play dough tools? We have a bunch including cookie cutters, store-bought play dough presses, rolling pins, and popsicle sticks. Today I’m sharing three of our favorite play dough tools that you may already have lying around the house. And in case you don’t, I’ll share some Amazon affiliate links to these products.

We adore play dough and all its benefits. For one, children tend to lose themselves in its squishy, lumpy plasticity and come up with all sorts of inventive uses for it. Beyond the general fun of play dough, it also does wonders for flexing a child’s imagination and developing fine motor skills in little hands. This play dough post from The Imagination Tree is a great read if you need any convincing that play dough is worth having around.

Step #1: Get some play dough!

If you don’t already have a batch of play dough, you need to try our very favorite play dough recipe. Yes, you have to make it yourself, but the time invested is worth it, and for a fraction of the cost of store-bought dough you’ll have an enormous amount of the best play dough ever. This recipe used by every pre-school teacher I know, and can last for months if stored properly.

Once you have some dough, you’re ready to have some play dough fun.

Play Dough Tool #1: Cookie Cutters

Three essential play dough tools (that you may already have) | Tinkerlab

My kids love to see cookie cutter shapes take form in play dough. For successful creative invitation, set up a few “cookies’ of flattened dough and a couple cookie cutters. We also like to have a cookie sheet nearby to encourage make-believe cookie-making. Need cookie cutters? Here’s 50 Animal Cookie Cutters for less than $10!

Play Dough Tool #2: Crinkle Cutter 

Three essential play dough tools (that you may already have) | Tinkerlab

A reader recommended the crinkle cutter to as a good alternative to our favorite toddler-friendly knives. If you don’t already have one, we bought this one over two years ago and it’s still going strong. Crinkle Cutters can be found for under $6 and they come in handy for both play dough cutting and child-safe kitchen prep. My kids enjoy the zig-zag edge and gaining some control over this funky tool.

Play Dough Tool #3: Scissors

Three essential play dough tools (that you may already have) | Tinkerlab

This may very well be my favorite play dough tool. To help small children learn how to handle a pair of scissors, invite them to cut play dough rolls, or “snakes.” Play dough is such a forgiving and easy material to cut through, and before you know it your child will be a master with scissors. Our favorite brands are Crayola and Fiskars, and I’d recommend blunt tips for little people. If you’re buying scissors for a class or large group of children, this pack of Fiskars is a great deal.

Ooops…Play Dough Misstep

Play Dough mistakes! Don't use play dough on paper.

Last but not least, please take a note from my play dough failure book and do not put play dough directly on paper. I’m not sure if I was just short on sleep or truly out to lunch, but for some reason I thought it would be a good idea to set up this creative invitation of purple play dough on a white paper background, as opposed to camouflaged against the flower-patterned oil cloth. That may be true, but play dough also sticks quite securely to anything porous.

Note taken? Super!

More Play Dough Tools and Ideas

Recipe for Glowing Play Dough: This is one of our most popular posts

Melissa and Dough Model and Mold Play Dough Tools: The rolling pins from this set get used all the time

Play Doh Fun Factory: We really like the play dough press that comes with this

Pumpkin pie play dough recipe: The smell of this dough is divine

Masa play dough: A rougher texture than traditional play dough, but great if you have some masa lying around

What are your favorite play dough tools?