Make Your Own Play Dough

A little bit of homemade summer fun that’s perfect for rainy days or time spent outside on the front porch.

Parents will very much need to be hands on in making this particular play dough recipe with younger children especially, but it’s worth the cooking since the texture is way more fun for kids, and a little bit easier on the clean up in the long run.

Basic ingredients:
2 cups flour
2 cups warm water
1 cup salt
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 Tablespoon cream of tartar (improves elasticity)
Food coloring (liquid, powder, or unsweetened drink mix)

To Make:
In a large pot, mix all of the ingredients together, and stir over low heat. The dough will begin to thicken until it resembles mashed potatoes. When the dough pulls away from the sides and clumps in the center, remove the pot from heat and allow the dough to cool enough to handle. If your play dough is still sticky, you simply need to cook it longer — keep stirring and cooking until the dough is dry and feels the same consistency as store bought play dough.
Once it is cooked, turn the dough out onto a clean counter or silicone mat, and knead vigorously until it becomes silky-smooth. Divide the dough into balls for coloring.

Here’s where younger children can come in to lend a helping hand:
Make a divot in the center of the ball, and drop some food coloring in. Fold the dough over, working the food color through the body of the play dough, trying to keep the raw dye away from your hands and the counter. You could use gloves or plastic wrap at this stage to keep  hands clean — only the concentrated dye will color your skin, so as soon as it’s worked in, bare hands are fine. Work the dye through, adding more as necessary to achieve your chosen color. You can also add glitter to it for a little sparkle.
In addition to playing with it, this particular recipe allows for baking play dough so you can make ornaments, sculptures, and tons of other fun stuff that can be baked in an oven until it hardens, painted, or left plain. This will allow your child to keep your creation forever.
Store in an air-tight container when not in use.

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