Playing with play dough

Learn about mixtures, solutions and chemical reactions while making home-made play dough.

a faintly blue coloured dough ball on a bright green chopping board
The finished play dough, Image credit: The Royal Institution


Make your own play dough from simple ingredients.

ExpeRiment to see how the different ingredients combine with each other.

Learn about the science of mixtures, solutions and chemical reactions.

About this activity

Pasha, Rushana and their son Aaryan explore how mixing different quantities of water with different types of flour produces some surprising results. They learn how to make this classic children’s toy, while learning the difference between a mixture and a solution.

They make playdough from flour, salt, water and vegetable oil, with a little food colouring added to make it more fun. Salt and flour combined together produce a ‘mixture’ – they are physically combined but no reaction has taken place. When the water and food colouring mix completely they form a solution. When all the ingredients are heaped in together and kneaded, a new substance is formed because chemical reactions have taken place.