Fall Fun with Pumpkin Play Dough

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Call us scent o’ mental, but this simple, seasonally scented craft may be the perfect fit when you want to spend a morning or afternoon inside...


There is so much to love about fall. For those of us living in a seasonal climate zone, the arrival of the fleeting utopia between summer and winter heralds the return of many eagerly anticipated seasonal favorites: hoodie weather, crunchy leaves on the ground, Monday Night Football, and of course, pumpkin flavored everything. If you’re looking for an indoor fall activity to do with kids, cooking up and playing with a batch of homemade, pumpkin pie play dough is a great way to jump into the season.

There are dozens of recipes available online for homemade play dough. There are no-cook versions, gluten-free versions, and even versions flavored with Kool Aid. But after some experimentation, we found we like this recipe the most because the texture of the finished product is basically identical to the brand name icon, it’s completely non-toxic, and it will leave your house and your hands smelling amazing!


To make your dough you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • 1 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • 1 cup of water
  • 2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons of cream of tartar (This is primarily to keep your play dough fresh.)
  • Orange gel food coloring (Mixing traditional red and yellow food coloring works just as well, but be generous with the amount of color you use to get a bright harvest orange color!)

Once you’ve gathered your ingredients, have the kids combine the water and food coloring in a bowl until your desired shade is achieved. Next, combine the flour, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, cream of tartar, and vegetable oil in a small saucepan.

Slowly add the food coloring and water mixture to the saucepan a little bit at a time while stirring continuously. In about 3-5 minutes the dough will start to pull away from the sides of the bowl and form a ball in the center of the pan. Let your dough cool on the counter or pop it in the fridge for another 10 or 15 minutes, then you’re ready to play!

As long as you keep the play dough tightly covered in a cool, dry place it should last a pretty long time; definitely all season! If the dough starts to lose its fragrance after continued use, you can add more pumpkin pie spice at any time for an extra boost of autumn-y essence.

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