Play-Doh Alternatives – 5 Play Doughs to Choose From

Shaped play doh with glitters

Few things entertain children quite as much as molding and squishing a fresh ball of Play-Doh. Not only does it provide them with hours of entertainment, it’s also good for the development of the muscles in their fingers. But did you know there are Play-Doh Alternatives?

Play-Doh has been around for decades, and it’s my daughter’s favorite creative play. But as I learned, some parents prefer to let their children enjoy other new and fun doughs to play with. I’ve recently explored what’s out there; let me show you the result of my exploration

Kinetic Sand

Kinetic Sand - Sandcastle Set with 1lb of Kinetic Sand and Tools and Molds (Color May Vary)

Kinetic Sand can be molded and shaped so it’s ideal for building indoor sandcastles. The sand sticks to itself and doesn’t create a mess in your home. This product is a combination of soft beach sand and polymers. It’s stretchable so provides a lot of fun.

Who’s it for

The Kinetic Sand set is designed for children that are 3 years old and older.

Why You Should Consider It

If you want a non-toxic product that your child can play with that provides the same elasticity and molding capabilities of Play-Doh then you might love Kinect Sand. This product comes in a variety of colors and it’s easy to shape and mold.


  • Doesn’t create a mess
  • Easy to mold
  • Non-toxic


  • Not suitable for younger children
  • Gets dirty easily

Play Foam

Educational Insights Playfoam 8-Pack, Fidget Toy & Sensory Toys for Kids & Adults, Gift for Ages 3+

Play foam provides sensory fun because of the many textures it has. You’ll appreciate that Play Foam never dries out even if it’s left out of the container. This product comes in an 8 color pack.

Who’s it for

The Play Foam is suitable for children who are 3 years old and above.

Why You Should Consider It

This colorful pliable product is the ideal gift to give toddlers and preschoolers. It’s a non-toxic product that can be shaped, stretched and twisted to develop fine motor skills.


  • Comes in 8 color pack
  • Easy to shape
  • Provides sensory fun


  • Leaves a sticky residue
  • Not easy to clean

Polymer Clay by DAOFARY

Polymer Clay 70 Colors, DAOFARY Modeling Clay Kit DIY Oven Bake Clay with Sculpting Tools, Accessories and Portable Storage Box, for Kids/Adults/Beginners

Polymer Clay is denser than Play-Doh so it can be used for more detailed molding. This product comes in 70 vibrant colors so your child can create colorful pieces of art. You might love that it doesn’t leave a residue behind and it can be used with many sculpting tools.

Who’s if For

The clay is designed for children who are 3 years old and above. Adults can also use it for sculpting.

Why You Should Consider It

DAOFARY’s Polymer Clay is easy to mold and stretch. Children can use the clay to build their favorite characters. The clay won’t crack when left outside the container. If you want to preserve your child’s creations simply bake it in the oven for 15 minutes at 275°F.


  • Comes in 70 colors
  • Extremely pliable
  • Used for detailed molding


  • Not suitable for children below 3
  • Colors can stain hands

Slimy Sand

SLIMYSAND by Horizon Group USA, 3 Lbs of Stretchable, Expandable, Moldable Cloud Slime, Non Stick, Slimy Play Sand in A Resealable Bag, Pink- A Sensory Activity

Slimy Sand is a stretchable slime but molds similar to sea sand when it’s wet. The product comes in many fun and funky colors such as blue, pink, purple and orange. There is 3lbs of it per bag so your child can create plenty of sculptures including large sand castles.

Who’s it for

The Slimy Sand product is suitable for children who are 3 years old and above.

Why You Should Consider It

This product is soft and pliable which makes it similar to Play-Doh. Slimy Sand is easy to shape and it can be used with molding tools. The product is designed to develop and strengthen your toddler’s motor skills.


  • Comes in a variety of colors
  • Extremely stretchy
  • Comes in a 3lbs bag


  • Leaves a residue behind
  • Sand is a bit dry

Colorations Classic Dough

Colorations Multicolor Value Pack Modeling Dough for Kids, 14 Colors, 5 oz Each Tub, Arts and Crafts, Party Favors, Bulk Dough, Holiday Basket Stuffer (Pack of 1)

Here’s a product that’s similar to Softee Dough and Play-Doh. The Colorations Classic Dough is a soft stretchable dough that’s also moldable. It comes in 14 vibrant colors that your child will love.

Who’s it for

This dough is suitable for children who are 2 years old and above.

Why You Should Consider It

The Colorations Classic is a safe product because it doesn’t contain allergens. All the doughs come in reusable containers that you can store the dough in to prevent it from drying out.


  • Comes in 14 different colors
  • Easy to mold
  • Easy to clean up


  • Colors may stain the skin
  • May dry out if left out of its container

Are There Alternatives to Play-Doh that Don’t Dry Out?

Finding the perfect alternative to play-doh involves finding some that won’t dry out. Some of these options include the following:

  • SKWOOSHI: One of the most popular alternatives to Play-Doh has to be SKWOOSHI. It’s stretchable, great for molding, and doesn’t dry out!
  • Kinetic Sand: This particular type of playdough has a sandy texture, and comes with a tray to avoid a mess. Kinetic Sand also comes with molds to make playing that much more fun!
  • Modeling Clay: Unlike most other types of play dough, modeling clay isn’t messy. This playdough encourages kids to create different objects and then recreate them.
  • Motion Sand: Slightly different from your average playdough, motion sand has the same texture as regular sand.
  • Crayola Dough: Another popular alternative to Play-Doh, Crayola Dough doesn’t dry out, and comes in an assortment of funky colors to provide your kids with hours of endless molding and creating!

Do Alternatives to Play-Doh Offer a Variety of Color?

Part of the fun of play dough is mixing and matching the colors. As a parent wishing to keep your children entertained, you’ll want an alternative with a variety of colors.

Let’s have a look at the alternatives that have color options.

  • Classic dough: 14 colors
  • SKWOOSHI: 10 fun colors
  • Play Foam: 5 different colors, depending on the kit you pick
  • Polymer clay: 70 colors

What is a Non-Toxic Alternative to Play-Doh – DIY?

The package might be labeled as “non-toxic” but you might still feel a little nervous about the possibility of your little one eating some of their play-dough. One of the best ways to ensure that their play dough is 100% non-toxic is to make your own homemade DIY variation.

Let’s have a look at one of the easiest home-made play dough recipes:


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup salt
  • 2 cups of lukewarm water
  • 4 teaspoons of cream of tartar
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable or coconut oil
  • Different food colorings
  • Small clear bags


  1. Stir flour, salt, cream of tartar in a large pot
  2. Add oil and water
  3. Place in a pot and cook over medium heat
  4. Stir occasionally till dough forms a ball
  5. Take dough off the heat and place it inside a gallon-sized bag
  6. Allow dough to cool and knead until smooth
  7. Divide dough into smaller bags, add a different food coloring to each bag
  8. Knead dough inside the bag. This will avoid your hands getting stained with food coloring

To see how easy it is to make your own non-toxic play dough, I’ve included a short clip!

Final Thoughts

Whether you choose to make your own non-toxic play dough or try out one of the alternatives I’ve mentioned in this article, there’s lots of fun to be had! Creating your own play dough means you can make as much as your little ones need. Trying something like the SKWOOSHI stretchable dough will keep them busy for hours!

Other alternatives include Softee Dough or plasticine which are products that are soft, pliable, easy to mold, and safe to play with. So if you can’t find Play-Doh or you want to try a different product, perhaps your child will love to try one of the alternatives mentioned in my article.

Last update on 2024-05-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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