Vanilla-scented ice cream playdough

Here’s a recipe for homemade vanilla-scented playdough in pretty ice-cream shades – together with some play ideas to encourage your kids to explore and learn.

no cook playdough recipe


Playdough is such a wonderful material for chidren to explore as there are so many ways for them to play with it. It’s an open-ended activity so it allows them to use their imagination and be creative with what they make. It’s very good when there’s a mixed age group of children playing as they can all join in a way that suits their age and interests. It promotes language development too if you’re sat chatting about what you’re making or co-operating over sharing materials.

You can add in other resources from time to time to spark ideas for new ways to play – maybe provide some matchsticks, lollypop sticks, cake cases, bottletops or feathers. You can also use a change of location to extend the play possibilities. It’s not a very messy substance, and cleans up fairly easily if you don’t leave it to harden. (Best on hard surfaces rather than carpet though.) It would be interesting to watch how your children use playdough in the garden, in the toy kitchen or in the dolls house.

I’ve been using this family recipe to make playdough for a while but a recent post by Jen over at the The Mad House suggested using essential oils in the mixture to add scent. I loved this idea but as  I wasn’t completely sure the children playing here would keep the dough out of their mouths I’ve used vanilla essence here instead. The addition of natural food colourings produces lovely ice cream-like shades which I much prefer to the lurid shop bought colours. I also like the texture of homemade playdough and it’s so cheap and easy to make. Give it a try and I think you’ll be making your own from now on.

Here’s the recipe – using a measuring jug instead of weighing scales to make it easy.

Warm 750ml of water in a large pan. Add 375 ml of salt, 750ml of flour, 45ml of sunflower oil, 30ml of cream of tartar and 10ml of vanilla essence.

Stir the ingredients together over a low heat. Use a whisk at first to get rid of any lumps and then a wooden spoon until the dough comes together.

Remove the pan from the heat and tip the dough into a large bowl. (If you want to make several different colours you can split the dough into separate bowls at this stage and add a different colour to each bowl. )

Add a few drops of food colouring and knead for a couple of minutes until the colour is evenly spread through the dough.

Let it cool a little and then it’s ready to play with. Store in an air-tight jar and it should last for at least a couple of months.

More playdough recipes

How about a chocolate playdough recipe? Valentine’s playdough? Outer space playdough?

Get the book!

play dough recipe

 Love play dough? Take a look at The Homemade Play Dough Recipe Book :: recipes and ideas for a whole year of play! 

31 comments to Vanilla-scented ice cream playdough

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