Play Dough

by Josh on February 12, 2006 · 3 comments

in Ideas

One of the most important secrets to home improvement is keeping the 2-year-old of the house occupied with activities that are not destructive. It is also nice to have those activities be inexpensive so that we can still afford home improvement projects. One of our favorite toddler diversions is homemade play dough. Besides being less expensive, the homemade stuff is a lot more pliable for little fingers. Our son likes to help us measure the ingredients, and when it is done, we add a rolling pin and cookie cutters (dollar bin aquisitions) and we have hours of fun!

Play Dough
1 c. flour
1/2 c. salt
1 T oil
2 t cream of tartar
1 c. water
Food coloring

Add a few drops of food coloring to the water until you are happy with the color, keeping in mind that the resulting dough will be a few shades lighter than the water. (Thanks, Heather!) Mix the colored water with all the remaining ingredients in a saucepan and cook on the stove over medium heat until it is play dough consistency. This will happen quite suddenly and just when you think it never will, so stir constantly. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

We have also found that this makes a great creative gift–just wrap up the recipe card, dry ingredients in a baggie, cookie cutters, and rolling pin.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Scott February 12, 2006 at 7:45 pm

Thanks for reminding me about play dough. Our little guy is two as well. I remember spending many happy hours with play dough when I was little. And, hey, its’ edible to boot!


heather February 13, 2006 at 3:32 pm

You are right about playdough being a life saver when trying to get ANYTHING done with a 2-year-old. Our daughter, who will be 3 in April, can destroy a room in less than 5 minutes but playdough can keep her occupied for 3 hours.

By the way…as a mom who makes playdough by the double and tripple batch for nursery school…if you add the food color to the water instead of waiting until the dough is done (assuming you want one batch all the same color) you’ll get nice even color and won’t have to worry about your hands getting stained.


Josh February 13, 2006 at 6:44 pm

Nice tip about adding the food coloring to the water, Heather. Thanks! I’m going to edit the post to reflect your suggestion.

And Scott, you are right that this playdough is technically edible, but it is so salty our son nearly hurled the one and only time he tried eating it. If you’re really looking for edible playdough, I’d put food coloring in the mashed potatoes–yum!


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