Playdough on it’s own creates a nice sensory experience for preschoolers, but this jello playdough takes the senses to another level! Learn how to make playdough using jello.
This playdough recipe smells delicious and holds vibrant colors. You don’t have to use cream of tartar, either. Because of the gelatin, it’s texture is different from traditional playdough recipes, making it extra fun for preschool sensory activities.
If you want to trigger the senses, this playdough recipe using jello is the one to use!
With just a small box of flavored gelatin brand added to traditional playdough will make vibrantly colored playdough that also smells amazing. Some preschoolers respond really well to their sense of smell, so jello playdough can be really beneficial to those students.
And if you like this jello playdough recipe, then you have to try other recipes in my Playdough Cookbook! This cookbook features a wide range of playdough recipes and sensory doughs, so your preschoolers will always have a new sensory experience at their fingertips.
Why Make Homemade Playdough Without Cream of Tartar
Play dough is a versatile tool that offers benefits to individuals of all ages and stages of development. Occupational therapists even use playdough with adult clients. Even as adults, we can enjoy and relax from the tactile experience of squishing, squeezing, and molding play dough.
Scented playdough like this recipe can be very calming to children. Some teachers add a small ball of dough to their calm down kits.
Benefits of Playing with Playdough
We simply cannot overlook the value of using playdough in the classroom. Not just for the sensory experiences, but also for skill development. Here are some reasons why I advocate for playdough activities in preschool.
- fine motor skill development
- sensory development
- social skill development
- emotional regulation
- tactile sensory challenges
If you want to know more about why occupational therapists always have play dough in their “therapy bag”, read this in-depth post about all the incredible benefits of play dough.
Ingredients to Make Playdough with Jello
This is an easy playdough recipe that calls for basic ingredients.
- lemon juice or cream of tartar
- vegetable oil
- 3oz package jello mix
Substitute for Cream of Tartar in Playdough
Cream of tartar is used in playdough to stabilize the dough. It helps give playdough a soft and malleable texture, as well as help it last longer. If you don’t have cream of tartar to add to this playdough recipe, you can substitute it with the same amount of lemon juice.
Is Playdough Edible?
While homemade playdough is typically made from common food ingredients, that doesn’t mean that playdough it edible. The salt content in classic playdough recipes is too high, and could cause stomach irritation if eaten. These recipes are considered taste safe, but not edible.
If you are looking for a truly edible playdough recipe, try my Edible Marshmallow Playdough Recipe or my Edible Gingerbread Playdough. These recipes are completely safe to eat, but as a general rule of thumb, you should closely supervise the amount eaten since they contain sugars!
How to Make Jello Playdough
This is an easy cooked playdough recipe that’s done on the stovetop.
Add the flour, salt, lemon juice, oil and one 3oz jello packet to a medium sauce pan. Whisk together.
Mix in the water and then cook over medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the dough thickens and forms a ball.
Allow the dough to cool completely on a piece of parchment paper on the counter before continuing.
Once the dough cools completely, start kneading. This extra step will make sure all the ingredients are thoroughly mixed and that your playdough doesn’t have any lumps in it.
I used strawberry and lime jello flavors and didn’t have to add any food coloring. If you want darker or more vibrant colors, while you’re kneading is the time to add the food coloring.
I whipped up a batch of the homemade playdough in no-time, and the deep red and green colors turned out perfectly for Christmas playdough.
Jello playdough isn’t included in my Playdough Cookbook, but this book is chalk full of unique playdough recipes. No repeats!
How Long Does Homemade Playdough Last?
Most cooked playdough recipes will last up to three months if stored properly. The key is to use airtight plastic containers. But you want to really stretch the amount of time homemade playdough will last, try this:
- wrap dough in plastic wrap
- store wrapped dough in airtight container
Take proper precaution when offering playdough to young children by inspecting the playdough for dried, crusty pieces or even mold before each use. Have your children wash their hands before and after playing with playdough, and do the same with any tables, trays, or playdough tools used. This helps prevent spreading bacteria.
How to Make Playdough so It Doesn’t Expire?
Truth be told, any homemade play dough recipe has a shelf life because it is made at home without any food ingredients and without any preservatives.
When taking proper care of homemade playdough, like following the tips above for making playdough last longer, it should last about three months. If you keep the playdough in the refrigerator, it can last up to six months, depending on the amount of use.
For more commonly asked questions regarding how to make homemade playdough last longer, read this extensive post about the most frequently searched questions about playdough.
Playdough Exercises for Hand Strengthening
The use of playdough offers numerous advantages. Using these playdough tools will enhance the sensory experience for preschoolers and toddlers, amplifying their learning potential.
In addition, these playdough tools serve as valuable tools to enhance fine motor skills and contribute to crucial hand strengthening activities.
Playdough Activities for Kindergarten
There are so many ways to use playdough for learning activities. And it’s not just for preschoolers. Kindergarteners benefit from playdough too! That’s one reason why I have developed over 45 playdough recipes!
Kindergarten Playdough Activities
- Earth Day Playdough Invitation to Play
- 20 Creative Ways to Change Up Your Playdough
- Playdough Sight Word Mats
- Playdough Name Recognition Activity
- 2D Shape Playdough Mats
- Cupcake Playdough Mats for Birthdays
- 1 cup flour
- 1/2 cup salt
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 3-ounce packet jello
- food coloring (optional)
- medium saucepan
- measuring cups and spoons
- rubber spatula
- parchment paper
- Add the flour, salt, lemon juice, oil and one 3oz jello packet to a medium sauce pan. Whisk together.
- Mix in the water and then cook over medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the dough thickens and forms a ball.
- Allow the dough to cool completely on a piece of parchment paper then knead thoroughly.
- DO NOT ATTEMPT THE FOLLOWING until the playdough is completely cooled.
- If the playdough is too sticky, knead in more flour, one tablespoon at a time, until desired texture is achieved.
- If the playdough is too crumbly, knead in more water, one teaspoon at a time.
I’m Sarah, an educator turned stay-at-home-mama of five! I’m the owner and creator of Stay At Home Educator, a website about intentional teaching and purposeful learning in the early childhood years. I’ve taught a range of levels, from preschool to college and a little bit of everything in between. Right now my focus is teaching my children and running a preschool from my home. Credentials include: Bachelors in Art, Masters in Curriculum and Instruction.