Introducing Playdough

Playdough is one of those classic play materials that all kids love. It’s also a classic make-it-yourself material that is quick, easy, and cheap to make at home. Yet somehow, I have just recently gotten around to making a batch for Lewis to play with!

I have my mom’s recipe that she used for us as kids, but I ended up using a recipe I found online instead. Since I only have Lewis to play with it I don’t exactly need the giant batch that mom would make for us growing up. Her recipe also requires cooking and stirring on the stove top, while this recipe from Learn ~ Play ~ Imagine only requires adding boiling water while mixing.

The instructions say to use a mixer for this, but I just did it in a bowl with a wooden spoon and it turned out fine. It was a bit sticky at first but a couple additional tablespoons of flour fixed that and made it into a lovely soft playdough.

"What is this weird lump you have given me, and why am I in my highchair if you say I can't eat this?"

“What is this weird lump you have given me, and why am I in my highchair if you say I can’t eat this?”

The Recipe:

  • 1 cup flour (plus extra if too sticky)
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1 T cream of tartar
  • 1 T vegetable oil
  • food coloring of choice
  • 3/4 c boiling water

Boil water. I used our electric kettle.

Mix flour, salt, cream of tartar. Add in oil and mix. (I mixed this with my hands a bit to try to get the oil blended in better. I don’t know if this was necessary.)

Add a few drops of food coloring, then slowly mix in boiling water a little at a time. If it is sticky, add extra flour 1 T at a time and mix.

Give to your child and make sure you keep some for yourself to play with too!

Lewis is in a "I-must-squeeze-everything" (especially fruit! phase, and the playdough was great for letting some of those urges out.

Lewis is in a “I-must-squeeze-everything” (especially fruit!) phase, and the playdough was great for letting some of those urges out.

Part of why I’ve waited this long to introduce playdough play was the factor that Lewis still puts things in his mouth a lot, and I wasn’t sure if he’d just view it as an interesting new snack. He snuck one or two little tastes, but over all did really great with not eating it and listening to reminders from me and Chris!

We got Daddy to join in and play with us too!

We got Daddy to join in and play with us too!

The three of us had a lot of fun squishing and molding the playdough, making snakes and balls, printing in it and tearing it up. We’ve played with it twice since and Lewis and I also made dinosaurs, turtles, and fish, poked toothpicks into it, and cut it up with small plastic spatulas from the kitchen. I can tell this is going to be a frequent activity from here on out!

Lewis even requested the playdough tonight while I was washing dishes, so I dragged his highchair into the kitchen so he could play next to me. I was able to talk to him and supervise while he played, and when he started putting it in his mouth a bit too much I took him out of the chair. Maybe trying to eat it when he knows he shouldn’t was his way of letting me know he was done, since he didn’t put up a fight.

Looking forward to more creative playdough play! It will be especially fun when he starts making his own creations.

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