Play Dough: How to Make It and Why We Love It

Homemade Play dough is the ultimate open ended toy. Ok, so really activity, but it’s played with, so lets go with toy.

You can squish it

Shape it however you want

Cut it with shape and letter cookie cutters, leave the cutouts and make a play dough puzzle

Make a nest of play dough snakes (Nest is apparently the word for a group of snakes. Go figure. I always thought of nest as a comforting word.)

Make foot prints, hand prints, sock prints, TRUCK prints (yup, just drive those trucks through the play dough for some awesome tire tracks. Use big and little tires for size comparisons)

Scent it! Think mint, almond, banana. If they make an extract of a flavor (ie almond extract, vanilla extract) you can make it that scent!

Color it as you wish. Want rainbow play dough? Separate it into chunks and color each a different color. Mix and watch them turn a pukey shade of brownish green. Woot. Make it seasonal with “snow” dough, and Valentine’s Day pink dough.

Use it as a way to express anger. Feeling frustrated? Punching some play dough is quite satisfying, and far more acceptable than punching or biting friends.

So many possibilities! But….why homemade? First off, it’s made with all edible ingredients, not just non toxic but actually edible, a good feature for the really young ones who are still in the oral stage, or the older ones who just want to see what it might taste like.

Secondly, you can do so much more with it, like customizing scent and color.

Third, it’s way cheaper, and easy to make, probably far easier than you think. I whipped up a batch this morning while the coffee was brewing.

Here’s the best recipe I’ve found so far:

2 Cups Flour

½ Cup Salt

1 Cup Water

1 Tablespoon Oil

2 Teaspoons Cream of Tartar

Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan. Cook over low heat, stirring until a ball forms (you’ll start to see thickened, shiny dough on the outsides, this is when it’s really done)

Add color and scent as you wish and knead it in!

I’d love to give credit to this recipe but I’ve been using it for years and don’t remember where I got it from.

So…where does one play with said play dough? Don’t be restricted by tables and high chairs. I’ve found Wilton cardboard sheet cake trays to be perfect go anywhere play dough spaces. Example A:


That card in her hand is an old hotel key card, which makes for a great play dough cutting tool

Create and squish on!

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