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Festive scented playdough

We’ve had stacks of fun today making festive scented playdough. My 3.5yr old loved it and for that matter I did too.

We spent about an hour in the kitchen mixing up our christmassy potions and talking about where all the ingredients came from – it was wonderful. Where’s smellovision when you need it.

If you fancy having a bash, click on the ‘read more’ link below.


♥ Make up basic recipe, knead in ½ teaspoon of vanilla essence at end.


♥ Put a big handful of cranberries and a cup of water in a pan. Bring to the boil then gently simmer on stove for 20 minutes (until liquid has reduced to about half). Once cooled pour through sieve then follow basic recipe.


♥ Make up basic recipe then at the end knead in 1 teaspoon of allspice and a few drops of orange/lemon essential oil.


♥ Add 1 tablespoon of cocoa to basic recipe


♥ Make up basic recipe then at the end knead in about half teaspoon of almond essence and about ½ teaspoon of turmeric.


• This recipe is for a non-edible playdough.
• Almond essence contains nuts so be mindful of anyone who may be allergic to nuts.
• I can honestly say I have never had any problems with staining but please remember natural dyes can stainโ€ฆso make sure you wear a pinny and try to avoid using your best pots and pans!
• Donโ€™t let your little one/s anywhere near hot or boiling water.
• Finally, in my experience playdough always sticks to the pan. However if you soak the pan in cold water for five minutes it comes off in a jiffy.

24 thoughts on “Festive scented playdough

  1. I’ve been thinking of what gifts my children could make for their little friends. Some bundles of xmas scented playdough would be perfect! Thanks for the idea.

  2. Hi Rachel…….great gift idea……I keep meaning to put some printable labels on my site so people can package up their own playdough….!

    If anyone is interested leave a comment………

  3. I can’t find fresh cranberries here, but I do have a bag of Craisins that I moved with. Could I use those?

  4. LOVE it cant wait to get home and add this to my homade gifts this year! Id love labels- how would you package for gifts just a ziplock or??? Thanks again for the great recipies

  5. Hey Alison, I don’t reckon the craisins would work – you could try another fresh red fruit, such as strawberries or raspberries. Or maybe even cranberry juice??

    I have got an ace recipe for a couscous salad though which uses craisins…fantastic at this time of year as it tastes pretty christmassy. Perfect if you are in a hot country (or if not a great accompaniment for boxing day dinner). Anyway I’m rambling but trust me when I say it tastes divine.

    1 cup water
    1 teaspoon turmeric
    2 teaspoons ground coriander
    2 teaspoons ground cumin
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 cup uncooked couscous
    1 lemon
    A good few glugs of olive oil
    skin of 1 medium zucchini, finely diced
    1 small/medium red pepper seeded and finely diced
    Handful of almonds
    Handful of craisins
    Handful of chopped dates
    Handful of chopped mint
    Handful of chopped coriander

    ♥ In a small saucepan, combine the water, turmeric, coriander, cumin and 1 teaspoon of salt. Bring to boil. Add couscous, mix with fork and cover for 15 minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed.
    ♥ Put couscous in bowl – use hands/fork to fluff the couscous, breaking up any clumps.
    ♥ Zest and juice the lemon and add both to the couscous. Drizzle in the olive oil, then use a fork to mix well.
    ♥ Add rest of ingredients and mix well.
    ♥ Salt to taste.

    Better made the day before so all flavours can get to know one another.

    I reckon the tricky bit is adding the right amount of craisins and dates – in order to balance out the tartness of the lemon…yum yum…my mouth is watering just thinking about it!

    Happy chopping!

  6. Hi Katrina, No worries….glad you like. I’ll try and get some labels up in the next week….along with packaging ideas ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. I love this idea! But I do have a question. Why do you emphasize that it is “non-edible playdough”? When I looked at the basic playdough ingredients, it looks like it could all be eaten — perhaps not tasty, but not bad to eat. Am I missing something? Just wondering how hard to worry about keeping these wonderful scents out of my 2-year-old’s mouth. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks!

  8. Hi Ann. I say non-edible just to emphasize that it is not meant to be eaten….The ingredients are natural so it’s fine if they take a bite. I wouldn’t want my boys eating a whole ball of it though – mainly because of the high salt content. There are recipes out there for edible playdough – but I never fancied trying it.

    Both of my boys have been little shockers when it comes to eating playdough. My 3.5 year old is now fine. My two year old still enjoys the odd lick! We made this scented dough last week and they seem really happy just to play with it and enjoy the smells…..I don’t think the fact that it smells has made them want to eat it (any more than normal anyway). I’m rambling….hope I’ve answered your question.

  9. Hi Kate T! I have tried grass, spinach and nettles…none seemed to work. I just couldn’t get the strength of colour. I’ll endeavor to do more research. My printer has packed up….gonna get a new one asap….as soon as I do I’ll get the packaging ideas up.

  10. Scentsational ! No, really – am lovin’ the themed scents. I’ve not been able to come up with a satisfying natural green yet either. I’ll be sure to let you know if ever I land upon an answer.

  11. Hi CMom,

    Really glad it went well. My kids get so excited when we cook up a new batch…..I reckon it beats the shop bought stuff hands down!

  12. Hi Kate,

    Can’t wait to see pictures…..let me know as soon as they are up. Sounds like a great present. The tumeric is pretty amazing eh!

    My new printer turned up today so hoping to get some labels up by the end of the week. We are all ill at the moment so have been glued to the sofa more than usual – so over these winter bugs!!

  13. Hey Adrienne, that sounds great. I confess I have never heard of spirulina before. Gonna have to get some now though!! Green has been a very elusive colour indeed!! Glad that someone could finally come up with an answer. Canning jars sound great….I have also done the same before. I have been conducting a few tests this week and it seems that playdough will keep reasonably well in greaseproof paper (and greaseproof paper composts apparently) so hopefully another plastic free approach to wrapping. I have been designing some labels. Hoping to get them on the site by Friday – fingers crossed.

    Thanks once again for your research!

  14. Just stumbled upon your website via apartment therapy and I’m in love. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Such an amaaazing resource; my kids are going to be super happy!

    I was thinking, I wonder if broccoli would work for the green dough…

    Anyway, thanks!!

  15. Hi Heidi,

    Thanks for dropping by. Thanks for the compliments also.

    Not tried broccoli I have to confess…I’ll give it a blast and report back! Come by again soon

  16. I have used the little boxes from baby food for packaging homemade playdough. They are cute and perfect for adding a printed sticker.

  17. I have used pure spinach juice to successfully dye play dough green – you would need at least a tablespoon for this recipe, more if you want a darker green. Still experimenting ๐Ÿ™‚

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