Play dough is not only great fun, it also has numerous benefits for young children, from building creativity to the development of motor skills. The problem is purchasing the dough can become quite expensive if you want a range of colors. The good news: play dough is incredibly cheap and easy to make at home.
- Vegetable oil (sunflower is best, as it has no smell)
- Cream of tartar
- Food coloring
- In a large saucepan, combine two cups of flour, one cup of salt, two tablespoon of vegetable oil, two teaspoons of cream of tartar, and two cups of water.
- Stir the mixture continuously over a moderate heat. Gradually add food coloring until you’ve created the tone you want.
- After a few minutes, the mixture will begin to thicken at the base. Turn off the heat while the dough is still moist, but keep the pan on the stove to allow the mixture to cook a little longer.
- Once the dough has cooled enough to handle, knead it into a ball. It will pick up all the residue from the edges of the pan.
- You can start using the play dough immediately — it’s fun to play with while still warm.
Engage the Senses
With homemade play dough, you can go beyond colors. Make the dough more visually interesting by adding glitter. You can give each different color dough a different scent by adding food flavoring and essences, such as vanilla, almond, peppermint, and orange.
Ideas for Play
Create a kit to accompany your play dough by gathering some inexpensive items from around the house and from your local craft store. Ideas include:
- Wood or plastic letters or numbers
- Shells and pebbles
- Rice and pasta
- Assorted buttons and beads
- Craft sticks or popsicle sticks
- Cookie cutters
- Goggly eyes, feathers, and pompoms
- Sticks, leaves, and seeds
You can suggest project ideas to give your kids inspiration or allow them to experiment with ideas on their own.
The best thing about homemade play dough is there’s no need to worry about ruining the dough — you can quickly whip up another batch. This gives your kids more freedom to play and reduces stress for you. For the optimal experience with your play dough, be sure to add plenty of extras to your