Homemade Play Dough

It is Mid-Winter Break here in Seattle…

Does everyone have this funny break, or is it just us?  

Our family decided not to travel for this break, so instead, we’re digging deep with craft projects and getting a little messy!  Sometimes I see that it takes a week of no school stretching out in front of me before I am willing to commit to messing up the kitchen with crafts.  But I have to remember that the kids love it and (if I can let go of things being orderly) I do too.

Does everyone know how easy it is to make homemade play dough?  I am not saying we do this all the time (see above).  And we definitely have gone through our share of store-bought Play-Doh.  But truly, it is just a matter of making sure you have the ingredients in your pantry, a few minutes of mixing over the stove, and, Voila – you have super soft dough!

We were recently given a book from my sister-in-law called Lotions, Potions, and Slime by Nancy Blakey.  As much as I wish this wasn’t true, sometimes I’m more up for that stuff than others.  But, it reminded me of all sorts of ideas on how to encourage imaginative gooey play.  (Thanks, B!)  We were originally introduced to homemade play dough at Co-op Preschool and clearly there are lots of variations on quantities for this type of recipe, but this is the one we used yesterday.  It worked beautifully.  Be sure to have cleaning supplies at hand though, as getting messy is part of the… um, fun.

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Classic Homemade Play-dough


3 cups flour
1 1/2 cups salt
6 teaspoons cream of tartar (acts as a preservative)
3 cups water
3-4 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons baker’s food coloring (available at Michael’s, Amazon, or other arts and crafts stores from Wilton)

kool aid (for yummy smell)


Mix dry ingredients (flour, salt, cream of tartar) in a large pot.  Add the water and oil and stir over medium heat.  Add food coloring to arrive at desired shade.  Continue to cook and stir until dough thickens and gathers into a big ball.

Remove dough from heat and place onto a generously floured surface.  When dough cools, knead until dough is smooth.  Store in a plastic bag or covered bowl (no need to refrigerate).


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