Homemade Holiday Scented Play Dough For The Little Ones In Your Life

I love playing with play dough. I have always been one of those artsy types of people; as a child, anything that my mom would suggest, that had to do with crafting, I was on board. There is a lot of talk though, about sensory play and how it can enhance the learning experience for the young child when you play to more than one of your child’s senses at a time (like smell and touch). By adding scent to the play dough, you are giving the child an extra brain workout! I am more inclined to believe that the workout is more for the parent trying to keep the kid from eating these delicious smelling handmade toys. (Nearly every time Silas and I have played with the play dough, he has tried to eat the “Hot Cocoa Brown” one. I can’t seem to keep him from wanting to try just one more time, in hopes that this time it might actually taste like the Tootsy Roll that it looks like!)

Every where that I looked for recipes, I was finding scented play dough made with Kool-aid and Jello, but I really don’t feel comfortable using either in my home, let alone my play dough. I have never been a fan of Kool-aid to begin with, but I did like Jello as a kid. After deciding on a more natural scented play dough, I finally found one blog that had the BEST idea for naturally scenting the dough, the blog is called Tammy’s Recipes. She uses different teas, spices, and essential oils to make each of her play doughs. I chose to follow suit and made my own with this wonderful idea!

You can mix this up sans the food coloring and then split the dough apart and roll your colors in, but I found that to be WAY more difficult than it was worth, and it used a LOT more coloring than putting the color in with the rest of the dough to cook it.


1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup salt
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 cup water or cooled tea (for flavors)
1 1/2 tablespoons oil (I used almond oil because I didn’t have any canola around, but I also hear coconut oil makes really great play dough)
Food coloring, as desired
essential oils and spices, if using


1)In a medium sauce pan, mix together all of your ingredients. I chose to mix in the scents, oils, and food coloring in with the rest of the ingredients, to make it easier on myself.
2)Heat mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly while it heats up. It will eventually start getting lumpy and then a minute or two more of stirring will produce a ball of dough.
3)Once you are sure that your dough is cooked enough, let the dough cool and then play away! Store in a sealed container when not in use and this dough will last for ages!

I re-purposed my old play dough containers! I made my own labels on the computer, glued them onto the containers, and filled with dough to give away as gifts to the little toddlers in my life!

To get the scents that I created I used a combination of the teas that I had on hand, essential oils, and spices from my personal spice rack. Some of the scents of this play dough, is so delightful that I wish I could in fact taste it (but don’t, it may be all natural but it’s LOADED with salt!)

ORANGE & SPICE This one is my all-time favorite!
Tea: Orange Tea
Essential Oil: 20 drops Sweet Orange oil
Spices: 2 tsp. ground Cloves

RED APPLE CIDER This one comes in a close second to my favorite!
Tea: Apple Cinnamon Tea
Essential Oil: none
Spices: 2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Tea: none
Essential Oil: 1 tsp. vanilla extract, 1 Tbsp. extra vegetable oil (to compensate for the chocolate powder)
Spices: 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa

Tea: Lemon Tea
Essential Oil: 20 drops lemon essential oil
Spices: none

Tea: Honey Vanilla Chamomile Tea
Essential Oil: 1 tsp. vanilla extract
Spices: none

Tea: Peppermint Tea
Essential Oil: 20 drops peppermint essential oil
Spices: none

Tea: Tazo Calm Tea
Essential Oil: 20 drops lavender essential oil
Spices: none

Tea: Green Ginger Tea
Essential Oil: none
Spices: 1 tsp. ground ginger, 1 tsp. ground cinnamon

There are so many different combinations that you could choose to do, just by using tea and essential oils in your play dough. You could come up with a cinnamon stick one, pumpkin spice, egg nog, and more.

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