GF Play Dough Reviews

This has been a fun “research” project for the Kelly household! Over the past month or so, I have been collecting different brands of GF play dough. In this product review, I will be including 4 different brands of GF play dough: Aroma Dough, Blue Dominoes, Colorations and Soy-Yer Dough.  My husband has been playing with the dough with the boys as well (“dad…do we have to do play-doh AGAIN tonight?) and is very excited about these alternatives, so he has helped write some of this review.

Aroma Dough

imagesaroma dough

Aroma Dough is the ORIGINAL gluten-free play dough. It was invented in 1992 by two moms, Diane Scott & Maryanne Gallagher.

From the website:

We turned Aromatherapy into AromatheraPlay!® Using the power of aroma derived from flowers, plants, and fruits from nature, not only is Aroma Dough® fun for kids, but our specially Gluten-Free formulated aromas can lift spirits, calm over-tired kids, aid in concentration and allow hours of fun play simultaneously!

I have had the pleasure of chatting with Diane via email about the Aroma Dough product. One very important thing about Aroma Dough is that they do not use chemical fragrances like some of the other GF play doughs on the market.
Aroma Dough is made up of 100% organic, wheat-free rice flour, sodium, water, moisturizing oils, natural aromas (no perfumes). This formula is perfect for children who have special needs such as Autism, Celiac’s Disease, ADD/ADHD, or other allergy related issues. It DOES NOT contain nuts, nut oils, perfumes, soy, dairy products or wheat.
According to Diane:
“Having raised a boy with ADHD, the natural aromas we utilize have therapeutic effects. We will be introducing 4 new original aromas by year end.”
When I received my package of Aroma Dough in the mail, I could not wait until the boys got home from school to open it. I was so excited just by the way it looked on the website and could not wait to see it! As soon as I opened the container, I was in aroma paradise!  It smelled better than I ever could have imagined.  How do I explain it?…do you know that burst of intense flavor when you first bite into a piece of bubble gum?  Well, Aroma Dough smells that good, but unlike bubble gum, the scent (flavor) of Aroma Dough does not go away (at least it hasn’t for the few weeks I’ve had it).
I can definitely see how this gluten free play dough would be therapeutic, it calmed me completely as I rolled it around in my hands. Maybe it’s my ADHD. 😉  Even better, the aromas match their colors (ie. the green dough smells like lime).
Another nice thing is that Aroma Dough does not have the drying effect on your hands like some of the other GF doughs. The moisturizing oils softened my hands as I played with it.  They could make a spa treatment out of this stuff! 🙂
Each color comes in it’s own container and stores well.
I must issue a warning with Aroma Dough though…the smell is so realistic of lemons, limes, cherry cola and tutti fruiti that it is very tempting to eat it, in fact some will!
Exhibit A:
Luke play dough

This is the importance for GF play dough for kids with celiac disease! Well, in the case of Aroma Dough...it is also important that it is GF for adults with celiac disease! I really felt tempted to join Luke and lick it! It smells that GREAT! Apparently the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, LOL!

Aroma Dough1

Cost Breakdown (not including shipping):

You get 4 tubs for $16.95

Each Tub is about 6 1/4 ounces (weighed it myself).

So, 4 tubs x 6.25 oz. = 25 oz. of dough for $16.95 is $0.67/oz.

My opinion: I would definitely buy this dough! The boys also really liked it but Sam did say that it wasn’t as easy as some of the other GF play Doughs to mold and “build” things with due to its softer consistency. I definitely would recommend this product, especially for children who would benefit from the tactile and sensory stimulation.

Soy- Yer Dough

soy-yer kids

From the website:

Soy-Yer Dough is a wheat free modeling compound. The leading modeling compound that we all grew up with is wheat based, which causes children with an aversion to wheat to feel completely left out. Modeling compounds stimulate a child’s mind and inspire creativity, but kids with celiac disease, autism, ADD and ADHD are forced to find other means of creative inspiration. Now, with Soy-Yer Dough, all children can experience the benefits of handling a modeling compound that is gluten free, non-toxic, and fun scented.
Modeling compounds are important not only for small children to make dinosaurs, but in the classroom to learn everyday issues regarding topics of supply and demand and gross domestic product.  This makes a safe product that allows for all children to create their own imaginary worlds and become more familiar with topics such as finance and sales.

Soy-Yer Dough does not contain the following allergens or toxins:

  • Does not contain Borax
  • Does not contain Latex
  • Does not contain Dairy
  • Does not contain Egg
  • Does not contain Gluten
  • Does not contain Peanut & Tree Nut
  • Does not contain Kerosene

We do offer a Gluten Free, Soy-FREE alternative as well! Just click Soy-FREE durring checkout!

I am just going to review the regular GF dough and not the Soy-Free GF dough. I noticed right off the bat that the color of Soy-Yer dough is not as vibrant as the Aroma Dough.

The scent is very mild, and if you are not thinking about it, you may miss it all together; which could be a good thing for people who are sensitive to smell.

In my opinion, Soy-Yer Dough seems to have the exact same feel as the homemade GF Dough; there is also a little residue that gets transferred to your hands and leaves a dried out gritty feeling.

Soy-Yer Dough DOES hold up well when used to “build” things.  A trade-off, though, is that the dough will seem to crystallize a bit after it has been stored awhile, even in the container.  It will “re-soften” with a few aggressive turns in the hand, but FYI.

Each color comes in its own container.  There are 11 colors, a BIG plus.

The creator of this dough, Sawyer Sparks was recently on the show Shark Tank and not only has Play Doh made an offer for Soy-Yer Dough, but the company owner received some venture capital from the Shark Tank, so this is something to keep an eye on.  If Sparks can build a dedicated production line with his new cash (instead of mom’s kitchen), or if Play-Doh acquires the company, the cost of this product could really come down.

Cost Breakdown (not including shipping):

Each container is $2.00 (or $2.50 for the Soy-Free, Gluten-Free version). There is a variety pack price you can buy which consists of 11 colors for $20.00, which is what most of you will buy.

Each container is about 5 1/2 ounces (weighed it myself).

So the variety pack price is 60.5 ounces for $20.00, or $0.33/oz.

You can also order even bulkier bulk orders, with the expected drop in cost per ounce.

Soy-Yer Dough2

Blue Dominoes Safe Art

bluedominoes_playdough_stack_of_10_300_X_200

From the website:

Our patent-pending playdough contains Organic and All Natural Ingredients, is free of Lead, Heavy Metals, Bromine, and Bisphenol-A; and does NOT contain Artificial Colors, Dyes, Gluten or Wheat.  bluedominoes Activity Dough is Physician Approved, Celiac Sprue Approved, and Feingold Accepted.   Our playdough will not dry out like other brands.  Hours of safe play time for your child or a special child that you know!

Bluedominoes creates safe lead-free art supplies, beginning with our SafeArt Activity Dough. This gluten free, artificial color free playdough is safe for all children including eco-friendly families, children with celiac disease, children who are sensitive to artificial colors, as well as children with autism and ADHD who follow the GFCF diet or the Feingold Program. In addition, our playdough contains Organic and All-Natural Ingredients, is free of Lead, Heavy Metals, Bromine, and BPA. bluedominoes proudly make its eco-friendly playdough in the USA.  Add SafeArt Dough to your list of lead free toys!

This is a great “one-stop shop” product, as it is both wheat-free and soy-free.  The company has also taken care to laboratory test the product for lead and other heavy metals, which of course is very important for a product that will almost certainly find its way into your child’s mouth at some point!  This does not mean that the other doughs are not safe, but the laboratory testing does demonstrate a certain level of commitment!  They also won Dr. Toy’s Best Pick for New Children’s Products 2009 award.

The dough is close to odorless.  It is VERY workable and Sam says it is the best one for building and molding (as in the Play-Doh barbershop, etc.).  Regardless of my opinion, I am not going to argue with a 6 year old!  But yes, it is very sturdy.  It comes in five colors, and I would have to say that the only real drawback is that green, blue, and red are not among them.

The dough stores VERY well in the snap-lid container.

Cost Breakdown (not including shipping):

A 5-pack costs $15.99 + shipping

Each container is 5 ounces, so 25 oz. for $15.99 = $0.64/oz. You can also get 5 of the monster 3 pound tubs for $110.  That’s 240 ounces for about $0.46/oz.

Colorations

Colorations is a bigger company and manufactures an array of school products.  I will say that it is nice to see a larger company making the effort to make a GF product.  It is only available through Discount School Supply (at least as far as I have seen), and is a pretty straightfoward product.  You get the 8 basic colors, all of which are very vibrant.  The molding and shaping texture is pretty good and it isn’t too sticky or gooey.

The dough overall is just fine, but a BIG word of caution is that each color is shrinked wrapped and all are shipped in a single big tub.  This is not so big a deal for storage (isn’t that what Zilpoc baggies are for?) but it can get cumbersome when playing because you can’t just grab a piece of a color out of its container while the rest is safely separated from the other colors.  It can get messy real fast, and don’t be suprised if you end up with a ninth color that I call “goo.”

Current price is 5 1/2 pound tub (8 colors in all) for $23 (excludes shipping).  88 ounces for $0.26/ounce.  Very reasonable, but somewhat inconvenient.

General Conclusions

The Aroma Dough is very cool and I would recommend it for 1-3 year olds who need as much sensory input as possible.  The combination of tactile shaping, strong aroma, and appropriate aroma/color match is great for this age.  The company is addressing the limited colors soon, and although it does not shape and “build” as well as others, for the young ones, that is not as important.

Blue Dominoes would be a tie for first with Aroma Dough.  The product is obviously uber-safe, durable, and the best “builder.”  I think this would be a better product for the 4 and up kids who are probably much more into building and shaping actual things than just pounding and rolling (and eating) the dough.  The lack of colors is clearly a drawback, but the fact that the company won’t put out a product with un-safe coloring shows dedication.

The Soy-yer dough is fine if price is a concern.  I also think the monster bulk pricing would make it a great option for a teacher or homeschool group.  Eleven colors is great, but the smell really isn’t there and it will need to be re-worked each time.

Colorations is the cheapest by ounce and will be fine if you only have one child.  But with multiple kiddos reaching across each other and inevitably mixing, it would be nice to have separate containers (“this is yours and this is his”).

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3 Responses

  1. Thanks! What great timing–I was just told by my celiac daughter’s preschool teacher that if I give them a link, they will buy GF dough for the classroom. And I don’t even need to test them myself!

    • Amanda,

      Don’t you just love those moments when everything just seems to come together!? 🙂 I hope this information is helpful. All in all, they are all great because they are safe! They each have their own special qualities And it is great to know that there are several options; which is something we celiacs are not all that used to! The coolest part though, is that your daughter’s preschool is willing to buy the safe dough for the entire class, kudos to them! Be sure to send this link to your GF friends!

      Heidi 🙂

  2. […] few days ago, I posted my review of gluten free play doughs. Aroma Dough was one of the companies whose product I reviewed and Diane […]

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