Cooking for a family, while making family time

Cornstarch Dough

Cornstarch Dough

I’m sure you’ve seen these dough recipes floating around the internet, called soft play dough, cloud dough or moon dough. They are all basically the same which is a super simple recipe of cornstarch and hair conditioner. That’s it! Now let me be clear, this dough is just for playing with, not eating!

The dough comes together within minutes and can be modified however you like. Add food coloring to make different colors. Add glitter if you want sparkles. Add extracts or essential oils to give it a scent. More conditioner will make it looser and more of a slime consistency. More cornstarch will make it more of a crumbly dough. When the consistency is just right it’ll be pillowy soft and moldable. My kids call it pillow dough for just that reason.


1 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup hair conditioner (white in color)

Supplies needed:

Food dye
Essential oils


In a large bowl combine your cornstarch and hair conditioner. Stir until completely combined. Add color, glitter, oils or all 3 and stir again until combined. Then mold, fold and create whatever you like. When done seal in a air tight container or zip top bag and keep until it dries out.

I won’t lie to you guys, this was messy! However, it cleaned up easily and the kids loved it. I gave all three of my kids their own bowls to mix and make their own. The conditioner we used had a mild scent on its own but we did add our own additional fragrances. If you decide to use food dye or essential oils you’ll only need one drop of each!

Roll, pull, stack and shape your dough to your heart’s desire. This is hours of fun, my little guy ended up with teal hands from all the playing he did. The more you handle the dough the warmer and looser it’ll become. If it gets too gooey add another sprinkle of cornstarch.

We used this as part of our new home school routine as a science experiment and then paired it with a bread dough recipe. No need for a stand mixer to knead your dough with so many little helping hands around. The same principles rang true with the bread dough as the cornstarch one, and the kids were quick to pick up on it. Too sticky? Add more flour! We talked about solid, liquids and gases and it opened up the conversation to lots of new terminology too. Dense, pliable and tacky to name a few.

As always, have fun with it. Make it a science lesson, or don’t. Pair it with baking bread or ordering pizza (that’s still dough) or no food at all. Keep it simple, the most important part is having the kids be entertained while we’re all stuck at home.

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