Growing up, my mom used to make playdough/salt dough for us all the time. I always thought it would be so much work, but it's easier than you'd think and even the kids can help mix everything! My daughter loves playdough, but I don't want to put down the cash for something I could make myself for almost no money at all. So, with a few adjustments, I made my mom's playdough and we've been having so much fun!
1 cup water2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 cup flour
1/4 cup salt
2 tbsp cream of tartar
gel food coloring
*I used Wilton brand in Rose, Orange, Lemon Yellow, Leaf Green, Sky Blue, and Violet
- Pour the water and vegetable oil in a saucepan. Add in the flour, salt, cream of tarter and a teaspoon or two of gel food coloring. Lightly stir together to combine.
*The dough will end up being about the same color that it is now, so add more food coloring now if you want the color to be richer/brighter.
- Cook the mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly. It should be done in about 4-5 minutes. Because you might panic and think you've ruined it, here is a breakdown of what it looks like throughout the cooking process:
• Minute 1: The mixture will combine, and look smooth and beautiful!
• Minute 2: You'll start to get chunks. Make sure to keep scraping the bottom and edges of the pan to prevent any pieces from burning.
• Minute 3: This is where you might begin to worry that you've messed it up. Looks like a clumpy mess. Don't panic! Just keep stirring!!
• Minute 4: The dough will start to form into a ball. You'll know when it's ready when it's not sticky and pulls away from the pan. You can test by pressing the dough with your fingers. It will be hot!
- Remove the dough from the pan and place on a plate to cool.
- Once cool, knead the dough. This can be done by you or little helpers!
- To store, wrap the dough in plastic wrap and place in a sealed container.
*I purchased a couple of 5-pack Rubbermaid TakeAlongs® containers (17 oz) at WalMart and the dough fits perfectly!
- Each batch makes about 2 cups of dough. You need to make a new batch for each color. It took me less than an hour to make all 6 batches.
- Surprisingly, the food coloring doesn't come off on your hands at all.
- The dough is safe to eat, but it is disgusting!
- Buy more cream of tartar than you think you'll need. I got 2 1/2 batches from one 1.5 oz container.
- Regular liquid food coloring will also work, but I think the gel makes the color a little more vibrant. Liquid food coloring may also come off on your hands.
It was fun to teach my preschooler shapes, colors, and practice fine-motor skills like cutting, rolling, and pinching the dough. We cut out one shape multiple times, then she counted them out. We also played with alphabet cookie cutters to spell words out and practice the alphabet. She loved it because she was playing and creating, but it made me happy to know she was learning at the same time!