How To Make Scented Play Dough: Summer Scents

How to make scented play dough - summer scents

I came across this great tutorial on how to make play dough without having to cook it on the stove: Easy Play Dough recipe and I added a few tweaks to create fun summer-scented play dough that can be made in a matter of minutes. I adore summer scents like coconut or lime! Sensory play is great for young children and harried mamas can use a little aromatherapy during their busy days. It’s a match made in sniffer heaven. 

We made a batch of scented play dough with two adorable little friends. My happy helpers loved stirring and mixing the dough. And there were plenty of loud *sniffs* followed by blissful “mmmmmm!” sounds. If you’re working with little helpers, it’s important to be careful with the very hot water used in this recipe. I added the water to their bowls and then let them stir. Once the dough begins to cool a bit little helpers can dig in with their hands and help mix the dough completely. 

happy helpers making scented play dough

These peeps were pretty thrilled to help make some play dough. And excuse those crazy-stuffed shelves in the background. Why organize shelves when you can make play dough, am I right? 

Summer Scented Play Dough


  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup salt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons cream of tarter
  • 1 1/2 cup boiling water
  • Scents: banana, coconut, orange, lime extracts
  • Food coloring: yellow, red, and green
  • plastic bags for storing
  • four bowls with spoons

ingredients to make scented play dough

I divided this recipe by four to easily add different scents and colors. Add the following ingredients to four bowls:

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon cream of tarter

how to make scented play dough

Heat water to a very low boil (just starting to see bubbles). I popped mine into the microwave for about three minutes.

hot water for play dough

You’ll need to move quickly through these next steps, so it’s best to have your scents and colors next to your bowls, ready to use. 

how to make scented play dough

Add 1/8 cup of very hot water to each bowl. As quickly as possible add extracts and drops of food coloring. I used about 1 tablespoon of each extract for each bowl. I wasn’t able to find lime extract in my tiny Texas town, so I used three packets of True Lime crystals. Food coloring varied depending on the look I was going for – but here is a run-down of what worked for me: 

Banana: about 8-10 drops of yellow food coloring

Lime: 10-12 drops of green food coloring

Orange: about 8 drops of yellow and 4 or 5 drops of red

Coconut: no food coloring needed

how to make scented play dough

Stir the dough a bit to get it started, then hand it off to your happy helpers if you have some standing by. If not, you’ll be able to throw this together in a flash, just add the water to one bowl at a time, add the extracts and color, and stir. With happy helpers it can take a little longer – but it’s all about the journey and not the destination with little people, right?

stirring home made scented play dough

Encourage your cuties to stir, stir, stir as fast as they can without spilling the flour out of the bowl. You may need to add a little more hot water here and there if their dough is a little too crumbly.

making scented play dough

Once the dough begins to come together and has cooled enough to touch you can dig in with your hands to better mix the dough. I started smooshing the dough in their bowls, demonstrating the technique and then let my happy helpers take over.

making scented play dough

The more they play with their dough, the better it will come together.

Happy Helpers with scented play dough

Tip: if play dough is still too crumbly, ball up and microwave for a few seconds (eight seconds was perfect for our dough) until very warm – but not too hot to touch – wet your hands and rework the dough until smooth.

how to make scented play dough

As soon as your happy helpers are done playing with their dough, store it in a zip-lock sandwich bag to retain moisture and all the fabulous summer scents. 

2 thoughts on “How To Make Scented Play Dough: Summer Scents

  1. apples2applique

    Love this idea! I bet it smells amazing–so much better than regular smelly play dough. Pinning and sharing!

    1. amandacoers

      Thank you! I don’t like the smell of regular play dough either – but after playing with this batch my hands smelled absolutely fabulous all day. 🙂

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