Jello Play Dough

Here’s how to make jello play dough using jello powder. The dough has instant bright colors and smells amazing – great for sensory play.

Jello Play Dough - homemade play recipe for kids

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Play dough is BIG in our house at the moment. My son just can’t get enough of it. I love making my own too, so this week I’ve been experimenting and have made some jello play dough.

I tried out a variety of recipes and made my own adjustments, and this is my preferred recipe.


  • 1¼ cup AP (plain) flour, plus extra for kneading
  • 2 tbs salt
  • 1 tbs cream of tartar
  • 1 3oz (85g) pack Jello*
  • 1 tbs olive oil (or any other cooking oil)
  • 1 cup warm water
* I tried using sugar free Jello – the pack size (0.3oz/8.5g) is actually one tenth of the sugar version but makes the same quantity of Jello. It worked just as well when making Jello play dough, perhaps it was even slightly less sticky!
  1. In a medium non-stick saucepan combine the first four ingredients and stir well.Jello Play Dough - homemade play recipe for kids
  2. Add the oil and water and stir again – it may well be lumpy at this point.
  3. Put the saucepan over a low-medium heat and stir until smooth.
  4. Keep stirring until the dough pulls away cleanly from the side of the pan and forms a clump.Jello Play Dough
  5. Turn out the dough onto a silicone mat, plastic chopping board or similar. The dough will be HOT.
  6. Once the dough has cooled it is time to knead it. The dough may well be super sticky so add some extra flour as required. Knead the dough until it is smooth and forms a ball.
  7. Place on parchment paper (baking paper) and leave to cool completely. Then wrap the dough in the paper, seal in a resealable bag and place in the fridge.

When I was kneading the dough one thing was immediately noticeable – it smelled AMAZING! The Jello flavours I used were strawberry, lime, berry blue and black cherry. YUM. The berry blue flavour dough looked quite odd pre-kneading but was my favourite smell of the four – I think it reminded me of some sickly treat from my childhood!

Jello Play Dough

I gave the Jello dough to F and he seemed immediately happy with it. He enjoyed the new range of colours (we’ve just been using mixed-up Glitter Dough for a few weeks!). Over the course of the next few days we had some great dough play sessions. I continued to store it in the fridge as the chilliness of the dough makes it less sticky.

But how does it compare to my normal homemade dough?

Pros: The sensory element – it just smells fantastic
Instant bright colour – no messing about with food dye bottles
Smoother and softer texture
Cons: Slightly more expensive to make
Stickier to make, stickier to handle – although the sugar free version was better
Some children may be more likely to try eating it because it smells so good?!! ;-)So as you can probably tell, I can’t decide whether I prefer this version. I guess I’ll just keep the recipes in rotation and continue to make different types!

Homemade Play Dough Ebook