Don’t laugh at me, but I just figured out how very easy it is to make your own play dough. No, I haven’t been living under a rock for these past 5 years since I had the kids, I’m just not much of a do-it-yourselfer…the only crafty things I’ve done with the kids are to make birdseed pine cones and make candy bracelets. I also didn’t think a play dough recipe would be so quick to make…I thought it would be time consuming and expensive. It’s not. So if you are a new mom or a mom (who like me) didn’t think it would be worth making at home, let me tell you how to make play dough.
Not only is it easy to make, it’s a lot cheaper than buying the real thing. This is important because when we clean it up, I don’t have to worry about trying to find and save every tiny little bit of Play Doh so I don’t have to keep buying it.
And for some reason, the kids like my play dough better than the store bought stuff. Maybe because they helped make it or picked the colors they wanted? I don’t know. The homemade stuff also stays softer and more pliable longer than the real stuff…I read somewhere that cooked play dough has a better texture, so maybe that’s why. All around, it’s definitely worth making at home.
How To Make Play Dough
2 cups flour
2 cups warm water
1 cup salt
2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
1 tablespoon cream of tartar (optional, but it will improve elasticity)
Food coloring or unsweetened drink mix
- In a large sauce pan over low heat, mix all of the ingredients together. Stir continuously until the dough begins to thicken and starts to pull away from the sides, forming a large dough ball in the center. Make sure that it forms a large ball – if it is still sticky, keep cooking it longer! When it’s done, it will feel moist but not sticky.
- Remove the dough ball from the pan and place it on a piece of wax paper to cool.
- This is where the kids will be able to help. Once it’s cool enough to handle, put the dough on a clean, flat surface (I used my silicone baking mat) and knead it until it becomes smooth.
- Divide the dough into balls for coloring. Using your finger, make a hole in the center of the ball and put some food coloring in (use the chart on the back of the food coloring box to help you figure out how to make different colors). Fold the dough over the hole and work the food coloring through the dough. The food coloring stains, so you may want to use gloves to keep your hands clean. Once it’s all mixed into the dough, it won’t stain anything and you can give it to the kids.
Warning: While it won’t taste very good, this play dough is non-toxic so if the kids eat it, they’ll be fine. But they shouldn’t eat it. Pets on the other hand cannot eat this. Since it smells like people food, they are gonna want to eat it. But too much salt is bad for dogs and other animals and can cause a dangerous salt imbalance.
What other things do you make at home? I want to try to make slime and DIY bath crayons, so if you have a how-to for it, I’d love to get it!