Fresh playdough is always a winner at our house. The kids love to help make it, and depending on their ages there is something for everyone to do – from choosing the colour, to helping to measure the salt and flour, to stirring and kneeding the dough. Everyone (me included) loves the feel of fresh warm soft playdough.
Fresh playdough is not only non-toxic and biodegradeable but is super easy to make. All you need is flour, salt, oil, cream of tartar, water and food colouring. (see below for recipe and links to other playdough resources.)
Once the kids have the playdough there are endless activities to engage in, you can roll it use cookie cutters on it, you can make shapes and creatures and people, you can use accessories such as tooth picks, chopped up straws and paddle pop sticks to make all sorts of weird and wonderful personalities. (see this post at kiddley for some great button and toothpick people, and other playdough accessories.) Don’t rush into getting accessories though, not only do most of them end up at the bottom of the garden or in the rubbish and are expensive etc, but make sure to give the children time to explore the basic tactile sensation of the playdough.
2 cups flour
1 cup salt
4 tablespoons of cream of tartar* (see more info at bottom of post)
1 table spoon vegetable oil
2 cups water
food colouring if required
• Mix flour, salt and cream of tartar.
• Add oil and water, stirring.
• Cook slowly until mixture thickens, stirring continuously, then kneed into a ball and use.
• Store in an airtight container. This playdough will keep for about 3 months.
This recipe is made from edible ingredients and not toxic in small amounts for children, However It is not intended as a food item. Please be sure to put it away after your children have finished playing.
See my tutorial here about making playdough.
*try cooking it in the microwave for 3-4 mins stirring every 30 seconds.
*try adding cool aid to give it a nice smell and vivid colour (be aware that kids might be more likely to eat it).
*another way of adding more vivid colour than basic food colouring is using frosting paste.
*try adding texture such as coffee grounds for a different tactile experience.
stretcher for innovative ideas on how to make your dollar go further.
creative kids at home has some alternative playdough recipes that I have not tried.
allrecipes has a peanut butter playdough recipe that I have often meant to try – let me know if anyone has done this.
home school zone has many alternative playdough recipes – not to mention the zillion other kids resources they have.
there is a no cook playdough recipe – see can teach.
great article at Ruby Glen about her playdough kit – containing all the playdough neccessities.
cooks.com has a heap of different playdough recipes if you want to try something new.
*cream of tartar –
The common name for potassium bitartare, a by-product of wine-making. Its is a major ingredient in baking powder and is used to stabilize beaten egg whites, and is added to candies and frostings to make them creamier. It is also the assistant most often used with alum, iron, or tin mordants on silk and wool. Cream of Tartar helps to soften fibers when harsh mordants are used. It can also help brighten yellows and reds. Read more here. It can be purchased from the cake supply isle of your supermarket.