How to Make Jello Playdough

Looking for a fun sensory activity? Try making jello playdough! It smells amazing and it is so smooth. This may be my favorite playdough we have ever made!

Jello Playdough

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 tablespoon cream of tartar
  • 1 package of sugar-free jello

Mix all the ingredients together and cook over low on the stove. Stir frequently. I used a whisk to get rid of the clumps and then cooked for 5-7 minutes, stirring with a spatula. Once the dough starts to gather together into a ball and doesn’t stick to your fingers (see the picture below), then you can take it off the stove.


After it cools for a minute, knead it on a cutting board. That’s all you do! We made 3 colors and stored them in these small Ziploc containers. I liked these little containers because I divided the colors evenly for both boys.

Jello Playdough

Then we played with the playdough! Before squishing it up, I had the boys smell the playdough to see if they could guess what it smelled like. Troy was pretty good at guessing! Then I let them squish, roll, cut and explore the playdough with their little fingers.


What I love about playdough is that it  builds strength in their little hands. My preschooler loves practicing scissor skills with playdough. He uses  preschool scissors, which are easy to use with playdough and are very safe.

scissors with playdough

I have been teaching them how to roll playdough into a ball and how to make a snake. It’s a work in progress! :)


Lastly, we got out our cookie cutters. Troy learned how to use a rolling pin and REALLY enjoyed cutting out his creations.

jello playdoughHave you tried making jello playdough? I highly recommend it!


  1. What a fun idea! Quick question for you . . . do I need to use sugar free jello or can I use the regular kind? Thank you!

    • Hi Sarah! I am not sure if the regular kind works. I only use the sugar free kind. Let me know if you try it out!
      Angela Thayer recently posted…Week in ReviewMy Profile

      • I just made it with Regular Jello and it turned out great! :)

        • Awesome to know! I was going to ask the same question. I can’t wait to make this!

          • Isabelle says:

            Good to know ! I’m living in a very small town ( I don’t even think this is a town) and there was only like 3 sort of sugar-free jello so I’m super happy if the regular work too, I’ll be able to do more color. Kids are super happy and so am I because regular play dough is kindda giving me eczema on the hands because of the colouring. This won’t do and it smells sooooooo good ! Thank you ! :)

  2. I love this — I’ll have to see if I can create a version for my gluten-free boy :)
    Amy recently posted…a cardboard box is funMy Profile

  3. Debbie @ says:

    This play dough has great color! I will pin it and be back! Thanks for sharing at TMTP!

  4. This looks so inviting! I pinned your post to my Playdough and Craft Recipes Board at
    Deb @ Living Montessori Now recently posted…Free Police Printables and Montessori-Inspired Police ActivitiesMy Profile

  5. Looks like we had the same idea this week i did a DIY Kool-Aid play Dough recipe post :) love this idea too!
    Danielle, The Frugal Navy Wife recently posted…DIY Kool Aid Play DoughMy Profile

  6. Does the jell-o give this play dough a different texture than regular homemade play dough? I usually use kool-aid and am wondering if this would be different?

  7. Is that plain flour or self raising flour?

  8. Beautiful colors!
    Did you use the recipe to make all 3 colors?

  9. I love this! What a fun recipe and I bet it smells fantastic!!

    Thanks for sharing your creativity & linking up to TGIF!

    I featured your post today on TGIF here ( I hope you’ll pop over and link up again later today.

    Have a great weekend,

  10. do the kids’ hands get colored? I couldn’t tell from the photos.

  11. I’ve made this playdough and it came out really well mixing the recipe with boiling warer with a spoon, kneading, cooling slightly and then playing with instantly. Saved all the hassle with a saucepan!

  12. Kate's Mama says:

    I’ve made this for my 2-year-old. It comes out so smooth and the scent was fantastic. (I made orange!) We became busy with family vacation and other things while it was stored in our fridge. After the older kids (9-14) started school, I got it out again. I was amazed that it was still very usable. It remained smooth, didn’t harden and still had scent, though not as strong. (I stored it in an air-tight bag.)

    Now to make some other colors. I’m trying blue, green, purple, and red. She’s excited!

  13. I just made this for the twins I nanny and they love it. What is the life expectancy for it?

    • So happy to hear this! I tested this out and mine is STILL good from the time I made it for this post! So I guess 3+ months. I kept some in the fridge and it did not hold up well…it was clumpy and was not very moldable. So I suggest keeping it in an air-tight container and it should last! Enjoy! :)

  14. Hello, I just have a question about the recipe for play dough, what is tartar cream??

  15. I just tried making the jello play dough today. I can’t believe how easy it was…and it smells great! I used the regular jello though, not the sugar free type…I wonder if it would attract ants… we’ll see! Thank you so much for sharing this!
    Shirl L recently posted…Puppet MakingMy Profile

    • Ooh, I just had my boys played with them and they loved it! I love it too, that the fact it doesn’t leave “flour” residue on the hands unlike some of the play dough recipe… only a hint of oil… can’t emphasise how much I love the sweet scent!
      Shirl L recently posted…Puppet MakingMy Profile

  16. The play dough recipe is AWESOME! I didn’t have cream of tartar so I subbed with baking powder and it worked beautifully!

  17. How long does this play dough last?

  18. What size Jello did you use? I am assuming the small box.

  19. Christina says:

    Hi there!

    Love this idea! I’m in the middle of trying it out right now and I can’t seem to bring it to a place where it doesn’t stick to my fingers! I’ve been cooking for some time now.. any advice?

    • Sorry, this is probably too late to help! I let mine cook until it did not stick to my fingers. If that doesn’t work, then try kneading in some flour. Hope that helps!

  20. This stuff is amazing! I just made a few batches for my little guy to try and I’m probably a little more excited about it than I should be! I love that I don’t have to worry about him eating some of it!

  21. I kneaded some extra flour after cooking it to keep it from sticking. What a great activity, especially during this COLD winter weather!

  22. Only had whole wheat flour and it was too dry so added water then too sticky.

  23. Thank you so much for sharing this. We made this today and we are never going to buy play dough again. It is so soft and my son loved it. We have been trying a lot of your projects, I bought your eBook and I absolutely love it. My son goes to Montessori and it is really good to use some of the activities in your book while at home. Thank you.


  24. Just made this yesterday because the kids were going stir crazy still not being able to go outside because of the cold weather. It is fabulous! So easy! Smells great and is so nice and soft and smooth. Thanks for sharing this awesome recipe.

  25. elizabeth says:

    Make sure it’s the 3oz package. I bought a box of jello that’s only 0.6oz and it becomes super soft :(


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