Fall is definitely a season for the senses! Crunchy leaves, cool breezes, vibrant colors, and delicious harvest treats! Why not add to the fun with an easy play dough recipe that is a sensory feast?! This play dough recipe is a must-have for preschool teachers to celebrate fall and provide sensory play for students.

The Easy No-Cook Apple Cinnamon Play Dough Recipe truly encompasses all that autumn has to offer! It absolutely smells delicious and technically it’s also edible for those curious kiddos that can’t resist a nibble.

Easy Apple Scented Play Dough Recipe

I think the best play dough recipes are no-cook! It requires a few simple ingredients (flour, salt, cream of tartar, cinnamon, oil, and food coloring). Bring it all together with little hands and noses safely standing by!

Benefits of Homemade Play Dough

I think many would agree that a simple play dough recipe beats store bought playdough any day of the week! For me, the smell alone of store playdough is enough. Here are a few more reasons you might consider a homemade playdough recipe in lieu of brand name dough.

Save Money

It’s waaaaaay cheaper! You can make large batches of custom dough for a fraction of the cost of store play doh.


It’s custom! My favorite aspect of using a homemade playdough recipe is you can easily tweak ingredients. Alter the smell, color, and texture to fit with any theme or interest of your child.


It’s 100 percent natural! Manufacturers of store-bought playdough assure consumers that it’s non-toxic. But the label includes a list of ingredients fairly hard to pronounce (retrogradation inhibitor, surfactant, need I say more?) Mixing dough with items from the pantry ensures a totally safe product.

Hands-on Learning

It’s double the fun! When you hand children tubs of dough, they’re missing out on half of the learning adventure. Mixing the dough provides valuable hands-on learning before the fun of playing with it.

As long as you store homemade playdough in an airtight container, it will last up to 3 months. If it begins to dry out, you can “revive” it with a bit of water or oil.

Materials needed for KEYWORD:

  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ cup salt
  • 2 tablespoons cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon oil (vegetable oil, olive, or coconut)
  • 2 teaspoons apple-scented fragrance oil (NOT an essential oil)
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • Red food coloring (gel food coloring or Kool-Aid gives a more vibrant color)
The ingredients for the Easy No-Cook Apple Cinnamon Play Dough Recipe.

How to Make the Apple Play Dough Recipe

This recipe truly is super simple. Young hands can help with almost every step. The boiling water should be added by an adult or older child while others stand back to avoid scalding.

Consider how you will designate ingredients and steps to each child to help them take ownership.

Steps to Make this Great Recipe

1. In a bowl, combine the flour, salt, cream of tartar, and cinnamon

The dry ingredients for the Easy No-Cook Apple Cinnamon Play Dough Recipe.

2. Combine the oils and food coloring with boiling water. Stir the oily water into the dry ingredients. Mix well.

The no-cook apple cinnamon play dough being mixed.

3. Remove the dough and knead until it is no longer sticky.

The finished Easy No-Cook Apple Cinnamon Play Dough Recipe.

*NOTE* Kids can help knead with a blob of dough on top of wax paper to work with their hands. Also, substitute lemon juice for cream of tartar as desired.

The finished Easy No-Cook Apple Cinnamon Play Dough Recipe with apple erasers in it.

More Apple Themed Ideas to Pair with the Homemade Play Dough Recipe

Now that the apple pie spices are in the air, you might be inspired to run with this fall/apple theme! Here are a few more ideas to try:

Math Activities

Use the best no-cook play dough recipe ever for math, too! Give kids small apple beads/buttons/pipe cleaners to press and count into the dough.

Play a game

Use real apples as game markers! Place apples at the bottom of a large grid. Students roll a die and move that many spaces. The first one to top wins!

Science Experiments

Experiment with apples! Pose questions, like, “Will it float?” or “What will happen if we cut it in half and leave it out until tomorrow?” Work together to draw hypotheses and results.

Apple Books

Share themed books, like, “Ten Apples Up on Top,” by Dr. Seuss.

Play Dough Shapes

Press shape cutters into the dough and make patterns with the shapes.

Apple Tree Craft

Craft paper apple trees. Then, give kids apple shapes with the letters of their names to add to their tree.

More from our Shop

Find even more engaging activities in the Life Over C’s shop!

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