You can certainly buy the technicolor stuff from the store, but creating your own play dough is simple and fun. Plus, the kids really get two activities—making and playing with the dough. Follow these basic instructions to make enough play dough for two different colors or double the recipe to have play dough on hand for multiple children to use.
- 1 cup flour
- ½ cup salt
- 2 tsp. cream of tartar
- 1 Tbsp. oil
- 1 cup water
- Food coloring
- Sauce pan, spoon and measuring cups
- Plastic storage containers
- Mix all ingredients together in a sauce pan on the counter.
Include your child in the process by letting him gather together
the necessary ingredients, then measure and stir.
- Once all of the ingredients have been added, move the pot to
the stove for cooking. Over a low heat, mix together until the
dough forms a ball. You want most of the moisture to evaporate from
the dough. The "cooking" process should take about 10 minutes.
- Remove from pan and let cool. When the dough is cool enough to
touch, knead for a minute or two. Add in the food coloring while
you are kneading (and wash hands immediately to get the food
- Store your homemade play dough in an airtight container until
you are ready to play with it. Always return the play dough to the
container to keep it soft and free from debris. For sanitary
purposes, homemade play dough should be replaced every few months
(or sooner if it gets lots of use).
- If you want a different take on play dough, experiment with
additional ingredients like glitter or peppermint extract.
Caitlin Murray Giles is a full-time mother of three and part-time freelance writer living in Wicker Park.
See more of Caitlin's stories here.