Homemade Playdough

It’s one of those Murphy’s Law things (and totally true) that when we have the most to do, that’s when our children want us the most. I find that if I spend a little while with them, setting them up in an activity, they’ll forget all about needing me and play happily for ages on their own and let me get to all those important  things I so desperately needto do. The trick is in spending the time with them first, before trying to get to my other things. Patience, Mother, patience!Homemade playdough is one of my fall back activities. We spend half an hour making the playdough and by the time it’s ready, they are so invested in it that they play with it for at least an hour or two… good return, I’d say!

So, if you have stuffing to cook, yam to bake and and an apple pie to make, make some playdough with your kiddies first and you’ll be able to get all of you Thanksgiving trimmings ready without their needy cries holding you back.

Tips: I put an old table cloth on the floor for us to work on. Playing with the flour is part of the cool part for our kids and it won’t be nearly as fun for them (or us) if we are insanely worried that it will spill all over the kitchen. When we are done, I just bunch it up and shake it out outside – no mess at all :-)

This is our favorite (never fail) playdough recipe. I often double it up and keep half in the fridge.

* 3 cups of flour
* 1/2 cups of salt
* 2 tbs cream of Tartar
* 2 tbs vegetable oil
* 2 cups of boiling water

Add the flour, salt and cream of Tartar to a bowl and let your children play ‘snow’… ooooo, they love this game. The flour feels so wonderfully soft falling through their hands.

Cream of Tartar can be found with all the other spices at your local grocery store.

Next, add the oil and boiling water. The kids watch as I do this part. I always keep a little of the boiling water aside and add it if I feel like a the dough needs it… when the children have played ‘snow’ a little of the flour ends up outside the bowl and the dough might not need as much as 2 full cups of boiling water. Stir dough with a wooden spoon until it is cool enough to knead. As the dough cools with kneading, let your children kneed too… working with the warm dough is wonderfully soothing and pleasurable for them.

When the dough is well kneaded, it’s ready for playing with. If you would like to add some color to your playdough, now is the time to add a little food coloring.

We divided our dough into 4 and added 4 different colors.

We used a neon color set we found in our local grocery store… blue, yellow, pink and green.

Homemade playdough is such fun to play with, quite different from the store-bought kind. It smells wholesome and just feel so much more natural, really… you’ll be amazed.

We often fill a bowl with assorted beans and dried pasta to play with too.

Teddy’s little duck.

Kitty’s hedgehog that Teddy fell in love with.

Happy playing.
Blessings and magic,


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15 Responses

  1. We use that exact same recipe, although I never th0ught of putting out beans and stuff before. I will definitely try it next time.

    We also sometimes add glitter (at the flour only stage) and a few drops of essential oil with the food colouring. I like to kid myself that lavender oil has a calming effect….

  2. i know what you mean about a little time first and then your time after. makes all the difference!
    I will now be adding dried beans to our play dough sessions. they are great for adding eyes on the creations. Thanks for the ideas! Loving what they made!

  3. we love homemade dough and you’re right, it inspires us for hours! we also add some essential oils – usually lavender…it calms *me*, anyway!! those colors turned out beautifully!

  4. This brings back memories of making playdough for my son. Thank you! I’ve posted this on our school’s facebook page for our parents with young children.

    – Kelly, Cape Ann Waldorf School alum parent and admissions director

  5. Can these be baked like the salt dough ornaments? If so, what temp and for how long?
    I know this post is an older one, but am hoping you can respond. I’m making ornaments so that my grandchildren can paint them when they are all here next weekend.
    Thanks in advance for the help and the wonderful recipe! Happy Holidays and God Bless! ?

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