Making Play Dough–Turns Out It’s Easy

Yesterday I made play dough. It feels like I should get some sort of mom award. Turns out it’s really easy, though, and I already had everything I needed: flour, salt, water, oil, cream of tartar, and some food coloring. Mix everything together in a pot, stir it until it turns into play dough. (For more specific directions you can see here).

The recipe seems pretty forgiving, too–I forgot the salt at first so just added it at end with a little water, reheated a bit, and it turned out great. Actually it seemed like it was coming out fine even without the salt, but I thought I better add it just to be sure I wasn’t wasting my time (and flour).

Side note: as it cooked the smell of the play dough suddenly gave me an acute flashback to being in kindergarten. I found myself huffing over the pot, transported back to that time. playdough2 Anyway, M and E loved playing with it. I took a couple plastic shapes out of their shape sorter and they particularly enjoyed using those as stamps. They were thoroughly entertained for at least 45 minutes stamping all the play dough. E also enjoyed ripping it into little tiny bits. They both liked making makeshift bracelets and hats. It was also, as it happened, the perfect activity for our new toddler table.

Also, if you bake play dough in the oven it hardens and you can paint it, which means theoretically I can finally make some ornaments with their handprints on them…

The only downside was they kept wanting to mash all the colors together and I kept trying to peel them back apart. Guess I’ll just have to let go of the whole red, green, yellow blue idea and allow that it’s all just going to turn into a purple blob. At the end I put it back in a tupperware and a plastic bag. Hopefully it will last us for many more hours of entertainment. playdough1

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24 thoughts on “Making Play Dough–Turns Out It’s Easy

  1. Play dough is fantastic. I haven’t made it for my guys in ages. They could spend hours playing with it. We stored ours in the fridge to get a few extra days out of it.
    The girls are getting so big! They’rw adorable. We had a toddler table too, but my guys have long outgrown it 😔

    • It really is amazing how fast they grow. Can’t believe m and e are going to be 2 soon! Thanks for the fridge tip–I’m going to try that–I hope it lasts a while!

  2. Play doh is amazing. We’ve been using the rolling pin in our IKEA baking set, along with a set of letter and number shaped cookie cutters, with great success.

    Re: the color mixing. I only take out one color at a time, MAYBE two similar colors. Bear doesn’t know any better, and I get to avoid the psychic trauma of the grey blob.

    • That is a great idea–I’m going to look for cookie cutters like that. And I might have to do that with the one color, too–I don’t know if I can handle the grey ball. And also, hi! 🙂 Hope you’re well.

  3. We love to play with play dough- even at the older ages they are… there is something about the feel of warm play dough! And- it will be all one color blob in a very short time. Sorry.. Don’t worry- now you know, you can make more.

  4. I’m so glad you made play dough. I love love love it! And well, so does Paxlet too. 😀 I use the recipe my mom used for us kids (sounds the same as yours) and you are right, it is so easy!
    As for keeping colors separated, maybe not so much at that age. hahah
    And it should last for quite some time. I think our latest batch is going on a month and it is still fine, not that it has been played with too many times. But as it is so easy and cheap, it’s not a problem to toss it and make more.

    Enjoy play dough play!

    • p.s. I’ve never kept mine in the fridge and it does last quite some time. Also, I have an alternate recipe (on my blog) that uses vinegar instead of cream of tartar. Turns out exactly the same, with only a tiny bit of vinegar smell (not that noticeable) and great for countries (yes, Finland) where it is impossible to find cream of tartar.

      • The only reason I have cream of tartar in the house is because I have a snicker doodle recipe that uses it–I’m not exactly sure what it adds to the play dough. Actually I’m wondering if the salt is necessary, either? Anyway, I agree it’s good fun!

  5. I think my two would like this but I’m afraid it would travel and make a horrible mess on one of our fairly new carpets (a downside to moving recently, buying new area rugs). How do you think this would do in the yard if I, say, took them outside to play with it? Would my yard be forever littered with gray blob pieces they drop?

    • Ha, that’s funny, when I told my mom I made play dough she said she’d never do that because it’s too messy. We didn’t use it anywhere near a rug, I didn’t let it leave their table. Afterward there were definitely little bits all over the floor, but they came up easily. Seems like it would be fine outside. Let me know if you try 🙂

  6. I just told my 7 year old that you can make this, and she looked amazed. I have never done it, though, so we definitely should soon. It does look really easy. 🙂 Thanks for your post!

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