The most common recipe I use for playdough is the classic stove-top recipe below:
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup salt
- 2 TBSP cream of tartar
- 1 TBSP vegetable oil
- 1 cup water
Optional additional ingredients:
To add color:
food coloring, liquid watercolor or tempura paint
To add scent:
extracts, essential oils, spices
To add texture:
glitter, beads, sequins
Mix first 3 ingredients in a medium pot. Add remaining ingredients and stir. Cook and continue to stir over medium heat about 3-5 minutes. The mixture will start to thicken and become lumpy. Continue to cook and stir until it forms a blob in the middle of the pot. Remove from heat. The dough will be quite hot so handle cautiously at first--this is not the part little ones should help with! Once it is cool enough to handle, knead on a nonstick surface (I use a vinyl cutting mat or placemat) and it is ready to play with and explore. Dough can be stored and saved in a ziplock back or airtight container for at least a few weeks.
I am a minimalist when we first start with playdough. I like to introduce it unscented with no color and no tools at first. Touching and kneading alone can provide a great deal of enjoyment and fascination for little ones. A "blank" dough is also a great way to explore mixing colors. You can add one primary color and then another using food colors or paint (note that food color can stain hands for quite a while when it is not yet mixed in, so you may want to use rubber gloves or mix in a ziplock bag). Adding tools like plastic knives or cookie cutters can add to the level of exploration as well. Again, I take a minimalist approach, providing only one or a few tools at a time on many occasions rather than a whole bin of options. I am also always intrigued by the ideas my son comes up with on his own of what to use as a "tool!"
We use playdough at least once a week as a Table Time activity. It can easily be related to a theme by adding appropriate tools, toys and accessories:
|Purple Peppermint Playdough with Construction Vehicles for our Transportation Theme|
Hope you have fun digging in, getting your hands doughy and as always, happy playing!