LIFE IN LOCKDOWN | Day 6: Whip up no-cook play dough for the kids

One of the best things about this fuss-free play dough recipe is that there's very little to clean up afterwards

01 April 2020 - 00:00 By Sanet Oberholzer
Play dough is great for creative play and helping kids develop their fine motor skills.
Play dough is great for creative play and helping kids develop their fine motor skills.
Image: 123RF/maximkabb

It's day six of lockdown and no doubt your little ones are growing bored with the toys and gadgets they have on hand to keep them busy. You're also probably starting to feel bad about all that screen time you’ve been allowing.

We've got a simple solution: whip up a batch of  no-cook play dough. It is great for creative play and developing your childrens' fine motor skills.

The recipe (see below) comes from Toptots, a company that specialises in early childhood development and offers weekly parent and child workshops around SA.

Robyn Hyson, owner of Toptots Ballito, says:“We love this recipe because it is easy. There's no cooking involved and very little to clean up afterwards. It makes a lovely soft, pliable dough awesome for little fingers. As there are no nasties in it, it is completely taste safe for little ones.”

Make a few batches of play dough in various colours to get your childrens' creative juices flowing. If you want, pose different challenges such as making animals or fruits and vegetables. If you give the winner of each round a small prize, they're likely to dedicate a good amount of time and energy to the challenges.

If the play dough dries out after a few days, it’s not expensive to make again.



2 cups plain flour

4 tbsp cream of tartar

2 tbsp cooking oil

1 cup salt

A few drops of food colouring

A few drops of food-safe essence (optional)

1 ½ cups boiling water


  1. Mix all the dry ingredients in large bowl.
  2. Put the oil, food colouring and essence (optional) into a jug and add one cup boiling water.
  3. Add the wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix well.
  4. Add the other ½ cup of boiling water and stir well to make a soft, pliable dough.
  5. The dough needs to be kneaded well before use, and while it is still warm.
  6. Once cooled, store in an air-tight container.

From gripping series to watch to fun crafts to do with your children, we'll be adding a new activity to our 'Life in Lockdown' series every day. Keep an eye on for tomorrow's instalment.