Kool-Aid Playdough Recipe (Vibrant, Easy, Taste-Safe)

You can make vibrantly colored and deliciously scented homemade play dough using Kool-Aid! This easy Kool-Aid playdough recipe is fantastic for sensory and creative play.

Kool-Aid Playdough

​Next time your kids want playdough, this Kool-Aid playdough recipe is a great choice! It’s easy to make, uses only simple ingredients, and has a yummy smell (much better than that playdough smell!). Unlike a traditioal playdough recipe, this one doesn’t use any food coloring. Instead, we use Kool-Aid packets to get a more vibrant color and a fun smell.

This homemade playdough recipe is perfect consistency for play. And if you’re planning to use it with young children, it’s completely non-toxic and taste safe. Whether you’re a parent, a preschool teacher, or a babysitter, you can let those little hands squish away, worry free!

Why you want this recipe: 

  • non-toxic and totally toddler-safe!
  • super cheap
  • engaged multiple senses
  • bright, vibrant colors
  • peace of mind: you know exactly what’s in here!

Taste-Safe vs Edible

There is a difference! Taste-safe simply means that if your child puts it in their mouth, it will not harm them. These items are not meant to be eaten, but if little kids decide to explore it with their mouth, they’ll be just fine.

On the other hand, edible means that the item is made from food and can be eaten. 

This recipe is taste-safe. The level of salt in this Kool-Aid playdough recipe means that not only will this taste nasty, it is not a good idea to eat a ton of it. A few mouthfuls will not harm your child, but don’t make this recipe with the intent to eat it. 

What do I need for Kool Aid play dough?

​This recipe is made with a few basic ingredients: 

Ingredients for playdough
  • All Purpose Flour: This forms the structure of the playdough. If you need gluten-free playdough, you can replace this with gluten-free flour. 
  • Salt: This helps keep the proteins in the flour together, which produces that pliable texture we all know and love. Do not substitute this ingredient. 
  • Vegetable Oil: This reduces the stickiness of homemade play-doh. Any neutral cooking oil will work here, including coconut oil, olive oil, canola oil, sunflower, and peanut oil. 
  • Water: While this is considered a no-cook recipe, you will need to boil you water before starting. You can do this in the microwave or on the stovetop. 
  • Kool-Aid Packets: You will need 4 Kool Aid packets for each recipe. You can choose to keep them all the same and make one color/scent, or split your dough to get four colors from the same recipe! 

How do I make easy Kool-Aid playdough?

Step 1 | Boil Water

Start by boiling your water. You can follow this tutorial microwave your water in a large bowl, or you can do this on the stovetop in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once your water is boiling, remove it from the heat. 

Step 2 | Mix

You can use the same container you boiled the water in, as long as its large enough, or pour the water into a large mixing bowl. Add all your dry ingredients except your Kool-Aid powder to the water and stir it until it makes a shaggy, sticky dough. It should look like this: 

Sticky playdough

Step 3 | Knead

Wait until your dough is cool enough to handle. When it’s ready, turn the flour mixture out onto a surface that won’t stain. I use my silicone baking mats, but you can also use aluminum foil or a cutting board. 

Knead the dough until it is smooth and pliable. If it’s still sticky after about 5 minutes of kneading, add a little more flour until you get the right consistency. 

Step 4 | Color and Play!

If you’re using one type of Kool Aid, you can make a depression in your playdough ball, pour in the powder, and continue kneading until the color is even throughout. 

To make 4 colors cut your dough into 4 equal parts. Make a depression in one of them, add your packet of Kool-Aid and knead until the color is distributed through the entire section. Repeat for each of the others until you have 4 colored playdough balls!

coloring playdough

I did lemonade for yellow, blue raspberry for blue, watermelon for pink, and grape for purple. I didn’t do red, but both cherry Kool-Aid and tropical punch would work great for that.

Note: The grape comes out really dark — even darker than the pictures make it look. This would be a perfect color for Halloween playdough!

As soon as you’re done with this step, your playdoh is ready for playtime. Check out our ideas below for some creative ways to use your dough!

Kool-Aid Playdough

Ideas for using your playdough

While it’s fun to squish and sculpt, there are other ways to get creative with playdough. Here are some great ideas:

  • Open a Bakery: Make cupcakes! You can set out cupcake liners, birthday candles, and sprinkles and let your kids create the cupcakes of their dreams. 
  • Explore Color Theory: Use playdough to experiment with color mixing. Bring on that hands-on learning while discovering how colors change and evolve as they’re mixed!
  • Playdough Dress Up: Use the printables from Fun with Mama, or simply dress up your own plastic toys. Kids can create fun costumes and hairstyles using their fine motor skills. 
  • Playdough Mats: There are tons, and I do mean tons, of free printable playdough mats out there, and they cover tons of learning options. Playdough and Plato has 100 free mats, which is a great starting place!

How do I store Kool-Aid playdough?

You can store your playdough in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks in most locations. Ziploc bags work great!

Note on humidity: I have found that you can only store this for a few days on the countertop in very humid places (lookin’ at you, Louisiana!). To lengthen its lifespan in humid areas, you can store it in the fridge. As a side note, you may also need more flour in the kneading stage keep your dough from being sticky.

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Kool-Aid Playdough

Soft, squishy playdough with vibrant colors and delicious scent!
Prep Time15 minutes
Total Time15 minutes
Cost: $3.00

Ingredients

  • 2 cups water
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 ½ cups flour
  • ½ cup salt
  • 4 packets Kool-Aid

Instructions

  • Boil water.
    2 cups water
  • Add vegetable oil to water and stir.
    3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • Add flour and salt and stir until you get a shaggy and sticky dough.
    2 1/2 cups flour, 1/2 cup salt
  • Allow the dough to cool until it's cool enough to handle. Turn dough out and knead until dough reaches a pliable and non-sticky consistency.
  • Separate dough into 4 equal pieces. Make a depression in each piece and pour in 1 Kool Aid Packet.
  • Knead Kool Aid powder into dough until color is even throughout.
  • Store finished playdough in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
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