Play Dough Soap DIY: A Fun Kids Activity That Encourages Hand Washing
Encourage hand washing and make bath time fun with this play dough soap recipe, made with liquid Castile soap. This DIY play dough bath soap is easy to make, and older kids can even make it themselves. Don’t have liquid Castile soap on hand? Try it with body wash or baby shampoo. You can even scent these with kid safe essential oils for aromatherapeutic bath time fun! A creative, kid-approved project to try when you’re stuck indoors, this project is perfect for those who homeschool or have bored children at home.
Growing up, my son used to spend hours playing with Play-Doh at the table. He would squish, squeeze, and mold the dough into different shapes and then smush it into a ball and start over again. This play dough soap recipe feels just like Play-Doh, but it’s made with the same liquid castile soap you use to wash your hands and body.
Older kids can help make this play dough bath soap recipe, too, and it’s a fun sensory activity. Just be careful that they don’t touch the melted coconut oil, as it is hot. You’ll also want to take care that the oil has cooled before they start kneading the soap play dough.
What is Play Dough Soap?
Play dough soap feels just like real Play-Doh, but it’s a soap. It lathers and washes your hands and body just like soap, but it’s also fun for kids to play with.
You can mold it into shapes and let it air dry for a custom bar of soap. Or you can store it in an airtight container to use it as a dough. Kids like playing with squishy dough, so they will probably like the softer soap better.
You can also use this play dough bath soap to make shapes to place on top of your melt and pour soap or cold process soap. They don’t get as hard as soap, so they may get dinged up if you are shipping them or transporting them to shows to sell.
How Do You Store Play Dough Soap?
If you keep your play dough soap stored in an airtight container, it will last for a few months. You can pinch off some as needed to use as a soap or to mold into fun shapes.
Keep in mind, however, that play dough soap will dry out if it’s not covered. You can shape it and let it dry if you want. When you want to use it, you’ll just need to get it wet and pinch off a piece to use.
How to Make Play Dough Soap
Making DIY play dough bath soap is really easy and only requires a few ingredients — many of which you probably already have in your kitchen pantry. The must have ingredients for this soap play dough recipe are cornstarch, liquid soap and coconut oil. Mica powder, which is used as a colorant, as well as essentials oils to scent your soap play doh are completely optional.
Liquid Castile Soap
The liquid Castile soap in this recipe is what really washes your or your child’s skin. I recommend using Dr. Bronner’s Baby Unscented Pure Liquid Castile Soap.
You can use your favorite baby wash or body wash. If you use a scented one, omit the essential oils. Using a body wash will probably give you more lather since they have additives to create more suds.
A true liquid castile soap made with olive oil won’t have a lot of lather. Depending on the brand that you use, there may not be a lot of lather. That’s okay. You don’t need lather to get clean.
I added some coconut oil to make this play dough bath soap recipe more moisturizing. Since coconut oil is a solid at room temperature, it also firms this soap so it’s more like a dough. Coconut oil melts at 76 degrees, so the soap will soften as you play with it.
You can add another carrier oil or omit it completely. If you do add a liquid carrier oil, you may need to add more cornstarch. I recommend sweet almond oil, fractionated coconut oil, or grapeseed oil. They are all dry oils that will soak into the skin quickly.
I used mica powder to color my play dough soap recipe because it won’t stain your hands or skin. Food coloring can also be used, but it will stain your hands as you make the soap dough and when you use it. It can also stain your sink or bathtub when you use the soap.
Mica powder also has a wider range of colors. I wanted the scents to mostly match the colors, and that can be difficult with food coloring.
If you’re making this soap play dough recipe for kids, it’s important to use only kid safe essential oils. Essential oils are generally safe for kids over two or kids over ten.
Some fun essential oils for kids are:
Lime essential oil (10+) for alertness
Lemon essential oil (2+) for clarity
Sweet Orange essential oil (2+) is uplifting
Lavender essential oil (2+) is relaxing
Frankincense essential oil (2+) to clear the mind
I specifically used Simply Earth essential oils for my soap dough recipe. They offer quality essentials at great prices. And I’m a huge fan of their monthly essential oil recipe box! (Use coupon code: SOAPDELIFREE when you subscribe to the box for a coupon for $40 off your next purchase. You do NOT have to subscribe to buy individual oils.)
Ready to get started? You’ll find the recipe for making DIY soap dough for your kids below!
Play Dough Soap Recipe
To make DIY play dough soap, place the cornstarch in a medium sized bowl. Then add the liquid Castile soap the same bowl with the cornstarch.
Now melt coconut oil in the microwave for 20 seconds. Pour the melted coconut oil over the cornstarch and soap mixture. Stir the ingredients together until the mixture is thoroughly combined. It will be runny.
If you want to make several colors of soap dough, separate the dough into two or more bowls.
Then add mica and essential oils, as desired. You want to use 9-10 total drops of essential oils for the entire batch of soap dough. I made three colors, so I used 3 drops per color. If you make four colors, use two drops per color.
Next, put some cornstarch down on a clean surface. Place the soap dough on the cornstarch and start kneading until it turns into a shapeable dough. You can add more cornstarch as needed. I added about 2 tablespoons for each of the three colors.
How to Use Play Dough Soap:
To use your soap dough, pinch off a small amount and use like soap. It will fully dissolve and disappear in the water.
Storing Play Dough Bath Soap:
You can store this soap dough recipe in an airtight container to keep it soft. It will stay soft for several days, depending on how much it is exposed to the air.
You can also make shapes with it and let it air dry. It will soften once it gets wet again.
I don’t recommend letting your kids play with this in the tub. If it gets wet for long enough, it will dissolve.
Although this soap recipe is natural, don’t let children who put things in their mouths use this soap unsupervised.
Since this dough will dissolve in water, I recommend setting it on a soap dish if you leave it out beside the sink.
If you like my DIY soap play dough, then be sure to pin this fun kids activity to Pinterest for later. Or check out these other ideas for kids craft projects for when you’ve hit your limit. You can also discover more ideas for kids crafts on my Kids Crafts & Project Ideas Pinterest board.