Gluten-Free Tactile Products for Kids

When you are a mom, sometimes the craziest things get you excited. It could be a heart floating on the top of your latte, a new healthy popsicle recipe, or a cool alternative to Play-Doh. This is where I’m at.

Right now my kids are into tactile playing, which is a fancy sensory word for touch and texture. Since this is so developmentally appropriate for their ages right now, I’ve been on the hunt for some good options.

While Play-doh is a readily, affordable choice, it is not my favorite option. It’s stinky smell lingers on everyone’s hands and its very hard to clean up. Play-Doh also contains wheat which is a no-go for my gluten-intolerant kids.

Here are a few of our favorite Playdoh-like, gluten-free tactile products:

This is list contains Amazon Affiliate Links.

Mad Matter



Mad Matter is currently our favorite right now. This Swedish invention is a glorious cross between kinetic sand and moldable doh. It is silky smooth but with no sticky residue. You can mold it, stretch it, and the best part is that it doesn’t dry out.
Just when you think the coolness factor could not improve…Mad Matter is gluten, casein, and wheat free.

While it is a bit spendy, (a ten-ounce bag is $12.99) one bag was plenty to split between my two tactile-playing kids. (For a healthier, not-stinky, cleaner alternative it was well worth the extra expense!)





We played with this at our cousin’s house and it was pretty cool. Floam is a non-stick, sculpting material that has an interesting wet Styrofoam feel but with no stickiness. This product apparently doesn’t dry out and is fairly clean.

I could not find any information about whether it was gluten-free or not. From what I’ve read it’s just styrofoam beads, polymer, and non-toxic dyes. Neither one of my children had a reaction from touching it.




Kinetic Sand

Kinetic sand has been around for a little while, but who wouldn’t want the joy of playing with sand without needing a bath after? You can mold and shape it yetis still has the crumbly texture of fine sand.

Creating a miniature ‘sand box’ (a.k.a. A medium-sized Tupperware container with a lid) is one our list of sensory-play to-do’s. (Kinetic sand is also wheat, gluten, casein, and nut free.)




What types of textures do your kids enjoy?


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  1. Now that it’s​ summer, we go full out outdoors; dirt all the way. Right after breakfast, let them play outside and enjoy the dirt. I knew no sandboxes growing up so I try to stay in the same lane for our munchkins ?

  2. These are great! I actually want to try making homemade kinetic sand – there are so many “recipes” out there. I saw a FB video recently for making homemade floam. It seems the hardest part was finding the small foam beads (Amazon, of course).

  3. Love the suggestions! I’ve seen a recipe for some GF playdough that I keep wanting to try. I HATE play dough, haha. It’s such a mess and, while my kids aren’t gluten intolerant, I am and play dough gets gluten everywhere. Ugh! I’ll have to add some of these to Christmas gift lists 😉

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