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Play dough is fun and great for gross motor skills and development, but it is a problem for kids (and adults) with celiac disease or food sensitivities. Most play doughs contain wheat, including Play-Doh and Crayola Dough brands. And anyone with a small child knows that play dough can easily get squished under your nails, into your table, and into your carpet—where you or your children can be easily exposed to gluten all over again.
This homemade gluten free play dough recipe can be made with your kids, and unlike the commercial brands, it is also non-toxic and chemical free for the safety and enjoyment of all children. As an added bonus, making your own gluten free play dough costs a lot less than the store-bought stuff—with no added chemicals, packaging and manufacturing pollution!
Related: Homemade Gluten Free Finger Paint
Homemade play dough can dry out faster than store-bought varieties, especially if your kids leave it out on the table. You can revive dried-out, crumbled play dough by heating it back up over low heat and stirring in a tablespoon or two of water.
Homemade Gluten Free Play Dough
- 1 cup gluten free flour blend, or use rice, millet or other grain-based flour. Coconut and nut flours don't work for this.
- 1/4 cup sea salt, makes the dough unpalatable
- 1 tsp. cream of Tartar
- 1 Tbsp. sunflower seed oil
- 1 cup filtered water
- 3-5 drops natural food coloring, or to desired color. You could also make your own colors from turmeric, beet juice, berries and more.
- 2-3 drops lavender essential oil, optional, for scent
To Make Dough
- Mix the flour, salt and cream of Tartar in a saucepan.
- Add the oil, then the water, and continue to mix until thoroughly combined.
- Cook over low heat, stirring, until mixture is stiff and pulls away from the sides of the pan, about 3-5 minutes.
- Set aside until cool enough to handle, then knead gently on a work surface until smooth.
To Add Color
- Make a well with your thumbs in the middle of a ball of dough, and put the food coloring drops into the well. Pinch the well closed with surrounding dough, keeping the food coloring in the middle of the ball. Then, carefully begin kneading it until the color is evenly distributed throughout the dough.
- Store in an airtight container.
- While coloring your dough, you might want to use gloves on your hands and parchment on your countertops to keep them from being stained by food coloring.
- You will likely need to use more natural coloring than you would with chemical food dyes to get dark, rich colors.