Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Homemade Play Dough!

My girls love to play with play dough.  Here's my little secret, though: I've never, not once, bought play dough from the store for my kids.  I know, I sound like a terrible parent, right?  Well, what if I told you that you could make a big batch of play dough at home?  What if I told you that your kids could be involved in the process (learning listening skills and math/measuring skills at the same time)?  What if I told you that you probably already have all the ingredients in your cabinet right now? What if I also told you that it would be cheaper to make it yourself?  Would you still run out and buy store-bought play dough (I'm hoping your answer is "no") :)

We made some homemade play dough together yesterday.  This is my very favorite recipe, but there are many, many others out there (in fact, there's a whole website dedicated to play dough recipes: playdoughrecipe.com).  This is just the one that I've used for the last couple of years.  I have only had a "bad" batch once or twice, so I vote that it's a good recipe :)

To start, you will need a small-medium sized sauce pan.  In it, place all of the following ingredients:
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup salt
  • 1 TBS vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
  • Food coloring
  • Optional: Cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and vanilla extract for a yummy smell!

 Now that you have all of your ingredients in your pan, turn the heat on to medium.  Stir constantly.  The mixture will start to harden quickly, and you do not want the bottom to burn.  If your child is old enough, you can allow them to do the initial stirring (you will want to take over as it begins to get harder/tougher-don't forget to supervise as the pot is very hot).

You will start to notice that the mixture is getting firmer.  It will begin to stick all together in a ball.  It will look something like this:

Don't over cook it!  Pull it out and begin to knead it.  Knead it for a couple minutes as it cools off.  Once it has cooled off, it is ready to be used for play!  Get out the rolling and the cookie cutters and have some fun with your new play dough!

Store your play dough in an airtight container or plastic bag.  I've had some batches of play dough last as long as 3 months!  Enjoy!

Looking for more fun and frugal sensory activities?  Check out my recipe for Cloud Dough, Goop, Chocolate Cake Mix Painting, and a Beans Tub!

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