Play Dough Time!

I love working with play dough.  It’s so versatile. You can build it, sculpt it, smash it down, squeeze it, roll it, shape it, cut it, press it, and otherwise have an awesome time. Another child life specialist showed me how to put play dough in a glove, tie it up, and use it as a stress ball/ diversion toy.  I use that trick all the time now, and the OT at our hospital likes it because it encourages kids to strengthen hands. While most appealing to younger kids, even older kids and parents will play with the dough once it is out on the table.  I’m including a recipe for gluten free cooked play dough below.  I love this recipe because it is safe for kids with wheat allergy and it still has a good texture and smushability.  It can take a little more work due to the cooking, but the dough lasts longer and is more pleasing to work with. I recommend using Kool-Aid or other sugar free drink mixes to color the dough as the scent makes it extra appealing.


Gluten Free Play Dough (cooked)


  • Creative expression and diversion
  • Fine motor manipulation


  • 1 ½ cups rice flour
  • ½ cup cornstarch
  • ½ cup salt
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 1-2 Tbs vegetable oil
  • Kool-Aid packets or food coloring
  • Pot/pan, wooden spoon or spatula
  • Ziploc bag or airtight container for storing


Gather materials. Mix food coloring or Kool-Aid packets with water. Mix all of the ingredients together in a pan.  Stir constantly over medium heat until the dough thickens considerably and begins to form a ball.  Remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes (just so it is easy to handle, but still warm).  Shape into a ball and knead for about 5 minutes.  You can add a little oil onto your hands to help you need the dough. Allow to rest and cool for about 10 minutes.  Store in Ziploc bag or air-tight container.


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