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Summertime is a great chance for kids to work with their hands and have fun with arts and crafts. Food can be found in many arts and craft activities. This includes items like paints (egg, milk, wheat and soy), crayons (soy) and slime (corn). Be sure to check with any camp programs your child is enrolled about potential allergens being used. Use and share our helpful chart, “Potential Food Allergens in Preschool, School, Camp Crafts and Activities,” to know what food allergens to look for and what to substitute for them.

Another example is Play-Doh®. It's a great way to entertain kids at home and at summer programs. But Play-Doh® and other commercial and homemade modeling doughs contain wheat, one of the top 8 foods that cause allergic reactions.  

You can make wheat-free play dough at home so you can make sure it doesn’t contain any of your child’s food allergens. Here are some alternative recipes for Play-Doh®. Choose the recipe below that’s best for your child based on their allergies.

Rice Play Dough


  • 1 1/4 cups rice flour
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • Food coloring/sparkles (optional)


Mix flour, salt, and cream of tartar in a large pot. Add water and oil.

Cook over medium heat until the mixture pulls away from the sides of the pan (about 5 minutes), stirring constantly.

Add vanilla extract (for smell, not taste). Mix thoroughly. Put play dough on a clean surface. When cool enough to handle, knead lightly and store in an airtight container.

Add food coloring to the water to make colored play dough. Add sparkles during the hand mixing time for sparkly play dough.

Cornstarch Play Dough


  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 1 lb baking soda
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/8 tsp oil
  • Food coloring (optional)


In a large pot, combine ingredients. Cook over medium heat until “mealy.” Allow to cool on a plate, covered by a damp cloth. Knead well and store in an airtight container.

Allergy-Friendly Crafts You and Your Kids Can Make at Home

Also made from corn or other starch, Ooblick is a great sensory play substance and science experiment all in one. It becomes solid when you squeeze it. Then it turns to liquid when you release it.

Sweet Play Dough (Edible)


  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup margarine, melted
  • Splash vanilla
  • Sprinkle salt
  • 5 drops food coloring


Mix all ingredients, except coloring, until mixture is blended and all one color. Then mix in coloring.

You can shape this and eat it, assuming your child is not allergic to any of the ingredients. Do not make this in advance. Make this when you are going to play with it. It will get hard and become inedible.

Get the support you need to manage your child's food allergies. Join our community to follow our blog for the latest food allergy education, news and research. Our community also gives you the chance to connect with others who manage food allergies in an encouraging and supportive environment.


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