Playdough is probably one of the best known sensory activities for young children. Remember all the playdough fun you had as a child? I sure do!
Toddlers squish, squeeze and pinch the dough. Preschoolers begin to sculpt objects. As kids get older, they express themselves by creating works of art or props for dramatic play.
All the while they are smelling the playdough, feeling it’s smoothness warm in their hands and enjoying it’s various shades of color.
I used to buy my play dough in bulk but once I realized how easy (and cheap) it is to make my own I was a quick convert. I love that it is made from completely edible ingredients, just in case a playdough cookie looks a little too inviting.
Homemade Playdough Recipe
Contains wheat – remember to check for allergies.
- All purpose flour
- Vegetable oil
- Cream of tartar
- Quart sized sauce pan
- Stirring spoon
- A measuring cup, tablespoon and teaspoon
- Airtight container for storage
- Collect all of your ingredients and materials beforehand if your kids are going to help.
- Measure the water, flour, salt, oil and cream of tartar into a quart sized saucepan. I help the toddlers with the measuring part and let them dump things into the pot. Preschoolers are often ready to measure accurately enough with some coaching.
- Add the food coloring. This is a really exciting moment. First we negotiate which color we will make this time. Sometimes we mix colors. Sometimes we use just one. Everyone gets to squeeze in a few drops and we watch them dissipate in the water. It’s big fun.
- Stir the ingredients until combined.
- Cook the dough over low to medium heat, stirring occasionally. Once the dough starts to lump I usually show the kids how it’s progressing. It will become difficult to stir so just scrape the sides and the bottom. Turn the heat down if it starts to brown.
- Cool. Once the dough is in one big lump and not wet any longer let it cool, then dump it out onto a cutting board or plate. Knead it for a minute or two, being careful of heat that might be trapped inside the dough. I do this before I hand it over to the kids.
- Play! Add a child safe knife, a recycled container… whatever toys or tools you have on hand. When you’re done, store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one month.