Monday, January 24, 2011

Homemade Playdough


I picked up J from his school on Friday and was invited by J and his friends to play with their expensive playdough that ended up mixed together. His teacher said they were just going toss it when they were done. I thought it was very wasteful, but I had so much fun that I wanted to play with more playdough over the weekend.

I Googled "Homemade Playdough" and found that there were TONS of recipes to try, almost overwhelming. As a scientist, I encourage experimentation. As a Mommy, I am on burnout mode, so I asked J's Grandma A., who raised 5 rambunctious boys, what her favorite recipe was. Here is the basic recipe.


Medium sauce pot
1 cup flour
1/4 cup salt
2 Tbsp cream of tartar
1 cup of water
1 tsp food coloring (*Gma's original recipe was 2 tsp. I added 1 and decided it was more than enough)
1 Tbsp oil


Cook ingredients over medium heat and stir for 3-5 minutes. It took about 3 minutes before I really couldn't stir the playdough anymore. Cool. Knead until smooth.


Add food coloring last, as you are kneading the dough. The recipe makes enough to make at least 3 different colors, so divide up the dough and color separately.

Play away!

Guess what J did first?

Cutting with cookie cutters:

Playing with his shapes:

Making a ball:

Being silly with a playdough beard:


1. What shapes can you make? How flat can you make it with your hands? What's the longest and wackiest shape you can make? Use rolling pins, cookie cutters, plastic shaping tools. Surprisingly, snakes and balls are extremely popular with the young ones. If you suggest it and show them, they'll think you are a genius.

2. What happens when you mix the colors together?

3. Can you make a statue/artwork? How high can you stack the playdough?

4. Can you mold the playdough? Place the dough over textured surfaces and press.

When done, store playdough in an airtight container.

This recipe contains a lot of salt. Please do not ingest it (see J's pic above on his "taste" - he didn't try it again) or let your pets ingest it.


  1. there's an edible recipe out there, but it's a big no-no for kids with peanut allergies. I will have to try your recipe out next weekend!!

  2. Thanks! Let me know how it goes! I'd love to see Little Man's fun times with play dough too.