Do your kids love picking dandelions? Extend the fun by using those dandelions to make a batch of naturally dyed play dough for them to play with! This easy homemade play dough recipe is a great way to make use of the dandelions that you have growing in your yard.
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Do your kids love picking flowers? Whenever we go for a walk, ours like to make little bouquets for us out of whatever flowers they can find.
As a result, we often get bouquets of dandelions… and much to our kids’ chagrin, they tend to die pretty quickly.
That got me wondering whether there was anything else we could do with those dandelions instead of letting them die. And given how much play dough we make in our house, it stands to reason that play dough was the first place my mind went.
My kids were really excited to help me make this because it gave them an excuse to run around the yard picking as many dandelions as they wanted. As for me, I loved the fact that this recipe provided a way to use up the whole plant (we usually save the leaves to make salad) and provided a natural alternative for dyeing play dough.
So if your yard is overrun with dandelions (it can’t just be us, right?) and you’re looking for a fun way to use them to entertain your kids, this recipe is a great way to accomplish that!
How to Make Naturally Dyed Dandelion Play Dough
Here’s what you’ll need to whip up a batch of homemade dandelion play dough—no artificial dyes required:
- 1 cup dandelions
- 2 cups all-purpose flour (optionally baked on a cookie sheet for 5 minutes at 350°F if you need the recipe to be taste-safe)
- ¾ cup salt (we buy ours in packs of three at Costco)
- 4 teaspoons cream of tartar (if you’re going to be making lots of homemade play dough, I recommend buying this item in bulk—it lasts forever and you’re sure to go through a lot of it!)
- 2 cups water
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1. Prep Dandelions
Start by gathering some fresh dandelions and removing their stems. This will make it easier to measure the quantity—you’ll need about 1 cup, but your measurements don’t need to be extremely precise. My kids were happy to do this job for me!
Once you’ve gathered all the dandelions you need, use a knife to separate the yellow petals from the rest of the head. There may be a bit of green mixed in and that’s totally fine.
2. Blend Dandelions & Water
Pour 2 cups of water into a blender and add most of the chopped dandelions.
I like to set aside 2-3 tablespoons to add in later, but I do so purely for aesthetic reasons because I like seeing larger bits of dandelion in the play dough. Feel free to use all of it during this step if that doesn’t matter to you.
Run the blender for 20-30 seconds, until most of the dandelion has been reduced to pulp and the water has turned yellow. You will be using this mixture as a natural dye for your play dough instead of using artificial dyes like food colouring.
3. Combine Dry Ingredients
In a medium wok or saucepan, combine 2 cups of flour, ¾ cup salt and 4 teaspoons of cream of tartar. If you set aside some of the dandelion during the previous step, stir it into the dry ingredients.
4. Add Water & Oil
Add the dandelion water and the vegetable oil, and stir them into the dry mixture until they are well combined.
5. Cook Play Dough
Turn on the element on medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture forms a ball of dough that no longer sticks to the pot or wok.
6. Knead Play Dough
Remove the dough from the pot or wok and set it aside to cool. Once it’s cool enough, knead it with your hands until smooth.
Then, it’s time to play! This DIY play dough was super soft and stretchy, and I loved that you could see little bits of dandelion in it.
I also loved that the play dough was naturally dyed and didn’t require any food colouring. This makes it great for kids who are allergic to yellow food dye, or simply for families who would rather use more natural means to colour their sensory activities.
How to Store Dandelion Play Dough
As with all our (non-edible) play dough, we usually store dandelion play dough inside a sealed sandwich or freezer bag with all the air removed. Storing it that way will ensure that it lasts for months!
Dandelion Play Dough (Naturally Dyed)
- 1 cup yellow dandelions packed
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup salt
- 4 tsp cream of tartar
- 2 cups water
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- Use a knife to cut off the yellow petals from each dandelion, discarding the stems.
- Set aside 2-3 tablespoons of dandelion petals (optional), then pour the water into a blender and add the remaining dandelions. Run the blender for 20-30 seconds, until most of the dandelions have been pulverized and the water has turned yellow.
- Combine the flour, salt and cream of tartar in a medium wok. If you have set aside some of the chopped dandelions, mix those in as well.
- Add water and vegetable oil and stir until combined.
- Cook on medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture becomes a ball of dough that no longer sticks to the sides of the wok. This should take no more than 5 minutes.
- Set the play dough aside to cool. Once it’s cool enough, knead it with your hands until smooth. Then, give it to your child to play with!
Related Play Dough Recipes
Love play dough? Check out these articles:
- Homemade Jell-O Play Dough (Smells Amazing!)
- Chocolate Play Dough
- Rose Petal Play Dough (Perfect for Valentine’s Day!)
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