This homemade calming scented playdough recipe is one of my favorite things to keep on hand. It helps encourage kids to use play as a tool to calm themselves down! Made with lavender essential oil, this quick and easy play dough recipe can help worked-up kids relax, all while they have fun too.
If you’ve ever wondered how to make your own playdough, this recipe may be exactly what you’re looking for! It’s a slightly different recipe than my original homemade playdough, but it’s just as simple!
Calming Scented Homemade Play Dough Inspiration
My four-year-old has so much energy that sometimes I’m taken aback. You wouldn’t think much would surprise me since Luke is the youngest of my four kids (three boys and one girl), but he does.
A typical day will find him running and running and running some more. Then he chases the dog. And catches chickens. He’s a busy boy.
With my other three children in school all day, it’s just Luke and me at home during the day. He has preschool two afternoons a week, but that still leaves lots of time to fill.
It’s surprisingly challenging to find things for him to do because, as the youngest, there’s always been someone for Luke to play with. So I end up being his go-to playmate, and as I’m a very busy playmate, that doesn’t always work so well from his point of view.
I have a full-time job working from home, managing this site, writing, and doing photography. It’s not easy balancing everything. I haven’t figured it out yet, and I admit that Luke watches more TV than he probably should. But I try to give myself grace and take each day as it comes.
But anyway, one activity Luke enjoys with and without me is homemade playdough.
A Variation On A Classic
My recipe for homemade playdough is still my most popular post here. In fact, I’ve been blown away by how many people have tried it and loved it!
Today, I have a slight variation of our homemade playdough recipe that I’m excited to share with you. Because it’s A-MAZING. It’s even more awesome than the original, which is hard to believe.
We call it Calming Essential-Oil Scented Playdough.
This simple version of homemade playdough helps my active boy calm down and relax. All I have to do is whip up a batch of this playdough, which is easy to do even for busy moms because it takes less than 10 minutes to make. No joke!
And Luke will calmly play for HOURS. He rolls his trucks in it, he puts little balls into his trucks, his play dinosaurs carry playdough, and he even cuts pretend food with a plastic knife.
He loves it because it’s fantastic!
What You’ll Need to Make Scented Playdough
- Flour – just regular all-purpose flour
- Salt – regular table salt, not sea salt or any other type of salt
- Cream of tartar
- Oil – you can use canola, vegetable, olive, or sunflower oil (and probably even coconut, although I haven’t tried it)
- Food coloring
- Lavender essential oil
- Vetiver essential oil – optional
For the easy step-by-step photo directions for making this simple recipe, head over to my original homemade playdough recipe post. Or just scroll down to the bottom to print out the recipe.
How To Make Lavender Calming Homemade Playdough
Seriously, this recipe is SO easy. One batch makes the equivalent of about 3-4 store-bought play dough containers. Here’s the process.
Mix all ingredients together, except the food coloring, in a 2-quart saucepan.
Cook over low/medium heat and stir frequently. Once it begins to thicken, add the food coloring.
Continue stirring until the mixture is much thicker and begins to gather around the spoon.
Remove the dough from the pot, place it onto some wax paper or a plate, and let it cool.
Then, after the playdough is cool enough to handle, work in 2-3 drops of lavender essential oil for a gentle, soothing scent.
The more kids mold and squish their playdough, the more they’ll enjoy the calming lavender aroma.
Homemade Scented Playdough FAQs
Here are some common questions I see readers ask about this recipe. If you don’t see your question below, please leave it in the comments!
What can I use to scent playdough?
Essential oils are my go-to choice for making scented playdough. Some people may use scented fragrance oils. But since I prefer to keep it as simple and natural as possible, I stick to essential oils.
What scents can you add to playdough?
For children with ADHD, autism, or who generally have a harder time focusing or calming down, I recommend another essential oil in addition to the lavender, called Vetiver essential oil.
I discovered Vetiver a few months ago and am amazed by its grounding and calming qualities for high-energy people, especially children. Read more about the benefits of Vetiver here. I made a calming essential oil roller for Nathan using lavender & Vetiver, and it really does help him relax if he’s getting worked up. I’ve even used it for myself and love it.
One note: Vetiver is rather strong-smelling, and a little goes a long way. So, you only need 1-2 drops at most.
You don’t need to stick to this one scent combination in playdough, though! You could use peppermint, lemon, orange, or other essential oils that you love.
There are so many options for oil combinations based on what you want to accomplish. To help remove the guesswork, I even created these Essential Oil Blends Recipe Cards.
What essential oils should I use?
Anytime you want to use essential oils, I recommend using high-quality, 100% pure oils. Search for a brand that conducts third-party quality control testing.
Want to learn more? Here’s how to choose essential oils that work for you and your family.
How do you store playdough?
You’ll want to store your homemade playdough in an air-tight container of some kind. It could be a Tupperware-style container, or you could use a zip topped bag. It should last for several months this way!
Essential Oil-Scented Playdough: Final Thoughts
This recipe isn’t just for small children! My older kids love calming homemade playdough too. Even Nathan, who is 12 and sometimes struggles with calming himself down (he has high-functioning autism), feels better when he squishes around a ball of this playdough.
It’s no wonder why this calming homemade playdough recipe is both a fun and relaxing activity for kids AND moms!
Questions? Check out my Easy Homemade Playdough FAQ.
Free Printable Activities With Homemade Scented Playdough
Calming Homemade Playdough
Using essential oils, this Calming Homemade Playdough recipe is both a fun and relaxing activity for kids. Bonus: it takes less than 10 minutes to make!
- Prep Time: 2 mins
- Cook Time: 8 mins
- Total Time: 10 mins
- Mix together all the ingredients, except the food coloring, in a 2 quart saucepan.
- Cook over low/medium heat, stirring. Once it begins to thicken, add the food coloring.
- Continue stirring until the mixture is much thicker and begins to gather around the spoon.
- Remove the dough onto wax paper or a plate to cool.
Store in a sealed container or zip up bag.