Make your own play dough

With summer breaks looming, bored kids everywhere are looking for fun things to do. Who doesn’t love play dough? It feels great squishing between the fingers, and it’s a wonderful toy that lets kids (of all ages) use their imaginations.

Here’s a recipe to make play dough at home. This is especially great if you’ve ever avoided play dough for the strange smell that comes along with the store bought varieties. Just make it at home for play dough that’s guaranteed free of toxins!

And best of all, making the play dough becomes part of the fun itself!

Play dough ingredients – you’ll need:

2 cups flour
2 cups warm water
1 cup salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon cream of tartar

You can keep the same proportions and increase the amounts if you want to end up with more play dough.

Some experienced play dough makers also say you can leave out the cream of tartar, but the elasticity will suffer.  ( I say just add cream of tartar to your grocery list for your next shopping trip – and maybe salt, too, to make sure you’ll have enough on hand.)

Now mix the play dough ingredients together over low heat

Keep stirring the ingredients and watch as the consistency changes. It will thicken and eventually pull away from the sides to form a clump. When it reaches this consistency, it’s time to remove it from the heat. If it’s still sticky, keep on cooking.

Let the play dough cool and then knead it thoroughly to make it soft and smooth.

Tips for making the most of your play dough

You may want to use an old pot, just in case you have trouble getting it off. Soak it in dishsoap and hot water right after you’re done.

Keep the play dough away from your pets. They might think it’s a tasty treat, but the high salt content probably isn’t so good for their health.

Keep play dough messes at bay– see Ruby Glen’s play dough rules that govern her kids’ play dough time.

Some play dough makers recommend storing it in the fridge to make it last better.

You can add food coloring to make different colors. Separate and form a ball with the amount you want to color. Make a little indentation and add a drop of food coloring, then knead it in. Just make sure you protect your skin and the kneading surface from staining.

Add essential oils for play dough that smells great!

Wondering what to make with your play dough now?

You can probably let your kids go with their imaginations. But if you’re stumped, here are some fun play dough ideas.


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