This easy DIY Christmas Cookie Play Dough Kit makes the perfect homemade gift this holiday season. Toddlers, preschoolers, and big kids will LOVE receiving their own holiday play dough set.
It’s been a while since we’ve shared a DIY post around here. Mostly because we’ve been busy chatting about 2 year old’s not listening and what to do with said 2 year old all day. All fun stuff, right?
But today let’s take a break from the *serious* (or seriously exhausting) side of being a toddler mom, and let’s take a deep breath and remind ourselves – Christmas is coming!!
I don’t know about you, but my kids (ages 2 & 4) just do NOT need more things. Although they may want more things, in reality, they have many amazing toys, books, stuffed animals, etc. The list goes on.
Now, this doesn’t mean I plan to Grinch it up – on the contrary – both girls have an Amazon wish list chock-full of the things they want, but as far as gift-giving goes this year, I have two basic rules:
- Give more things my kids can play with together
- Make more homemade gifts!
Homemade gifts? That sounds daunting! And expensive?
Fear not, friend. You, too, can make this Christmas Cookie Play Dough Kit easily and on the cheap. And along the way, I’ll provide you my best tips for how you can cut corners if needed, plus different variations on this homemade gift idea.
Ready? Let’s get started.
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How to Make Homemade Play Dough
First things first. The holidays are busy enough. If you don’t have time to make homemade play dough, don’t stress. You can easily substitute store-bought play dough and your little one won’t know the difference.
That being said, have you ever made homemade play dough? It actually comes together very quickly, with household staples, and the texture can’t be beat. Homemade play dough is extremely soft and squishy and actually stays that way longer than anything you can buy.
But like I said, you do you, and like Ina always says “store-bought is fine.”
Easy Homemade Play Dough Recipe + Instructions
Note: This recipe makes one “batch” of play dough. And it’s a pretty generous amount. I found it was easiest to make one color at a time. For example: to make the kit shown in the pictures, you’ll need to make this recipe 3 times – once with red food coloring, once with green and once with brown.
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
- 1/3 cup salt
- 1 cup water + a few drops of gel food coloring (more on this in the instructions)
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
In a medium saucepan, gently whisk the flour, cream of tartar, and salt. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (this is where you’ll put the warm play dough when it’s done).
Fill a liquid measuring cup with 1 cup of water and mix a few drops of gel food coloring into the water.
Pour the water into the saucepan with the flour, and gently mix. Add the vegetable oil. Turn the heat on the burner to medium-low and keep mixing.
I do not recommend using a whisk at this point. I would use a rubber spatula (that you don’t mind possibly ruining with food coloring).
Keep mixing! It will look like a weird, watery, lumpy mess – but trust me! It will come together.
When the play dough comes together, carefully remove from the pan and place on the parchment-lined baking sheet to cool. Clean off the pan and utensils before starting the next batch!
- Once you’re done you’ll have three different colors of play dough – and this recipe makes more than enough. I only included a little amount in each kit in order to make it last.
- If you don’t plan to assemble the kit right away, store the play dough in a zip-top bag with all the air squeezed out. This will prevent your dough from drying out.
- If you want to scent the play dough, you can add a few drops of essential oil at the same time you add the vegetable oil.
How to Assemble Your DIY Christmas Play Dough Kit
What You’ll Need:
- 3 colors of play dough (homemade or store-bought)
- Plastic bead box (I found these at Michael’s for $4.99 – picture below)
- Holiday-themed sprinkles
- Mini rolling pin
- Holiday-themed cookie cutters
- Ribbon, washi tape, or stickers for decorating
Note: I’ve linked to most of these products on Amazon for your convenience, however, you may find better deals at Michael’s with a coupon or at T.J. Maxx or HomeGoods.
Each bead box is different. Be sure to choose one with removable inserts so you can customize the inside of your box. Roll each color of play dough into a little ball. Place 3 balls side-by-side in the bead box. Below is a picture of the exact box I used (found at Michael’s).
Fill the bead box with different holiday-themed sprinkles and cookie cutters.
Close up the box, decorate the outside to look like a gift and ta-da! You’ve created the perfect homemade gift your little ones will love! And bonus – it’s sure to keep them busy for more than 5 minutes.
- I went with a Christmas Cookie theme for this play dough kit. Since homemade play dough is so soft, it really is like rolling out dough. You could easily switch up the theme of the box for Hanukkah (blue and white dough), or general holiday (black and white for penguins and snowflakes), etc.
Oh yeah – that’s play dough! It does really look like cookies though, right?
One rainy afternoon I gave my 4 year old some of the homemade play dough (I’m holding out on the gift kit until at least after Thanksgiving) and she played with it – I kid you not – for 2 whole hours!
You can see how we upgraded our Ikea Latt Table in this post. The tabletop is perfect for doing play dough.