My Favorite Super Easy and Cheap Play Dough Recipe

Fall is my favorite season. And as a preschool teacher, it’s also the time to teach some of my favorite lesson themes. My absolute favorite? Apples!!



For my apple theme, I decided to make a few changes my favorite simple play dough recipe, and I’m so glad I did!

For the basic recipe, this play dough has only TWO ingredients. That’s right, I said two. And together they cost under $3 to make enough play dough for 20 children. And you don’t have to cook anything.

Yes, I am serious.

The ingredients?

Corn starch AKA the thing every preschool teachers need in bulk!

Hair Conditioner


Just mix them together, and it makes a fantastic play dough!! The texture really can’t be beat. Slightly firm, but oozes between your fingers like the cornstarch mixtures often do, but without the gooey mess than results from playing with just cornstarch and water. Other great benefits? It smells fantastic! You can use any scent of conditioner you like, so this can be more than just apple play dough! It can be anything you want! You could even use two different types to create your own scents. It’s also very gentle on your skin, so children with sensitivities can most likely play with this dough without issue. (But please test first, of course.)

I added red food coloring and a bunch of cinnamon to my batch to make this really awesome apple play dough! So fantastic, and my students loved it!

Until recently, I thought this dough had one major downfall…. during play, it tends to dry out quickly. This can be remedied by adding a bit more conditioner, but I thought it meant it wouldn’t be able to be stored. I had the students throw their lumps of play dough away when they were finished, but I kept mine in a baggie to bring home and take pictures of so I could share this with you guys!


Much smoother when it’s fresh, but still fun!!

And then I forgot and left it in my purse for three days or so. (Note: My purse smelled fantastic!)

I put it on my hallways shelf, and forgot it for another several days.

I was sure it was ruined and I’d have to make a new batch to photograph, but low and behold… It’s still play dough!!

It’s not as much fun after a week or so, but I’m sure if I added more conditioner even at this point, it’d be perfect again. I wish I could have gotten some photos of how it oozes through your fingers but stays intact, but you will have to try it yourself to see!


Ooh, squishy squishy!


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About Ashley

Ashley is the newest writer for One Little Mister. She is a 25 year old preschool teacher and first time mother to son Garrett. Her interests include breastfeeding, crafting, researching child growth and development topics until all hours of the night, drinking lots of coffee, and talking about cricket on twitter.


  1. mommasbacon says:

    OK, the hair conditioner threw me! I’m going to have to try this recipe! Thank you.

  2. What a great idea!
    Thank you for sharing.
    Play dough is so expensive when bought in the shop.
    We will try to make some…

  3. Always looking for some a great playdough recipe!! my boys will eat it if it smells too good :)

  4. This does look really easy to make! My grandsons would love to squish their little fingers all in this!

  5. Melia McVay says:

    i will need to get some cornstarch and try this, much easier then the cook kind.

  6. candy kratzer wenzel says:

    Thanks for the recipe. I always wanted to make this with and for my kids.

  7. I am a Teacher and love to make play dough for my students. I have never heard of using corn starch and conditioner mixed together! So easy and I bet it does smell great! I am going to try it! Thank you.

  8. Caroline Shelton says:

    This is wonderful! I already have corn starch, and of course who doesn’t have conditioner? This is perfect for those bottles that didn’t really work for my family’s hair!

  9. I have never heard of a play-doh recipe like this before! I will need to try this.

  10. Marcia Lee says:

    I can’t begin to count how many times I went to get out the play dough and most of it was dried out, or stuck in the crevices of the play dough accessories. Now I’m a grandmother and I think I would like to have a stash of my own homemade & cheap play dough. Thanks for the recipe.

  11. I like your recipe. My neighbor recently tried making snow for her grandchildren. I know she used corn starch, but I’m not aware of what else. Since Play Dough is a big hit in her home with the kids, I’ll gladly pass your method on before she tries to make more snow.

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